The United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions on Monday called for an impartial probe into the legality of the U.S. assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, warning that strongly worded denunciations from the international community are far from a sufficient response.
“Messages and bilateral exchanges are not enough,” Agnes Callamard tweeted in response to U.N. Secretary General António Guterres’ call for deescalation of military tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
Callamard urged Guterres to activate Article 99 of the U.N. charter and “establish an impartial inquiry into [the] lawfulness of Soleimani’s killing and events leading up to it.” Article 99 gives the secretary general authority to bring to the U.N. Security Council “any matter which… may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.”
Callamard tweeted last week that the U.S. drone strike that killed Soleimani in Baghdad was likely a violation of international law, an assessment echoed by other legal experts.
President Donald Trump and members of his administration justified the strike on the grounds that Soleimani was plotting “imminent” attacks on American forces in Iraq, but the White House has yet to present any evidence supporting its self-defense narrative. Callamard told Reuters Saturday that the U.S. assassination of Soleimani “appears far more retaliatory for past acts than anticipatory for imminent self-defense.”
“Lawful justifications for such killings are very narrowly defined and it is hard to imagine how any of these can apply to these killings,” Callamard added.
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