During the past five years the world witnessed introduction of a new weapon of war that simply appeared, was used and few nations or the UN conducted any form of discussion regarding its utilization in killing people. Under the administration of President Barack Obama drone attacks went from being used in the Afghanistan war to being used on targets in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Obama argues using drones is effective and saves lives.
Christof Henys, UN special rappoteur on extrajudicial killings has a somewhat different opinion than that of the American president. He poses: “are we to accept major changes to the international legal system which has been in existence since world war two?” Henys fears use of drones flouts international law and raises new issues pertaining to human rights.
Today, a drone can be used in the Afghanistan war. Today, an enemy in another country can be killed by a drone on ground the battlefield now is anywhere in the world. Tomorrow, a nation can kill someone who opposes its government who happens to be residing in another country. Tomorrow a nation can use a drone to kill someone in its own country on grounds that person poses a threat to national security.
The problem with drones is they are used without controls by any form of legal system other than what the president decides. Sorry, Professor Obama, that is not exactly what you taught in international law classes.