United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Agnès Callamard, found the assassination of Iranian Commander Qasem Soleimani to be "unlawful", Arab48 reported today.
Early this year, a US drone targeted Soleimani's convoy as he was leaving Iraq's Baghdad International Airport, killing him along with nine others.
"Absent an actual imminent threat to life, the course of action taken by the US was unlawful," the report explained.
The attack violated the UN Charter, Callamard wrote, calling for accountability for targeted killings by armed drones and for greater regulation of the weapons.
"The world is at a critical time, and possible tipping point, when it comes to the use of drones. … The Security Council is missing in action; the international community, willingly or not, stands largely silent," Callamard, an independent investigator, told Reuters.
"The strikes against General Soleimani and the US bases in Iraq resulted in far more casualties than their direct targets alone. 176 passengers lost their lives when an Iranian missile struck their plane, by "mistake" according to Iran, in the midst of escalating tensions," she wrote in the UN report.
Callamand warned that Iraq was increasingly being treated as if it were "an open arena for the settling of scores", adding: "What these acts did convey however is scant concern for the well-being of the people of the countries affected."
Callamard is due on Thursday to present her findings to the Human Rights Council, giving member states a chance to debate what action to pursue. The United States is not a member of the forum, having quit two years ago.
The 3 January drone strike was the first known incident in which a nation invoked self-defense as a justification for an attack against a state actor in the territory of a third country, Callamard added.