To the Governments of the United States and Yemen
that the United States is taking all feasible precautions to minimize harm
to civilians in targeted killings and is complying with all other
obligations under the laws of war. Outside of armed conflict situations,
use lethal force only when
absolutely necessary to protect human life in accordance with
international human rights law.
- Conduct prompt, thorough, and
impartial investigations into the air strike outside Rad`a on December 12,
2013 and other strikes that may have violated the laws of war. Make public
the findings, including drone videos of the attack, and seek disciplinary measures or
criminal prosecutions as appropriate.
- Implement a system of prompt and
meaningful compensation for civilian loss of life, injury, and property
damage from unlawful attacks. The United States also should institute a
system of condolence or ex-gratia payments, as it has done in Iraq and
Afghanistan, for losses in which there is no assumption of liability.
To the US Government
- Explain the full legal basis on
which the United States carries out targeted killings, including the
attack on December 12, 2013.
- Publicly clarify all policy
guidelines for targeted killings. Explain the apparent discrepancy between
the strike on December 12, 2013 and the May 2013 policy on targeted attacks
announced by President Obama on May 23, 2013.
Human Rights Watch’s full set of recommendations on
targeted killings in Yemen can be found in “Between a Drone and
Al-Qaeda”: The Civilian Cost of US Targeted Killings in Yemen (2013).