International Law

NGO Letter to the President on Targeted Killing

By Matthew Waxman
Tuesday, April 16, 2013, 10:00 AM

Last week a group of major human rights NGOs sent this letter to the President on U.S. targeted killing practices.  It calls on the Obama administration to “publicly disclose key targeted killing standards and criteria; ensure that U.S. lethal force operations abroad comply with international law; enable meaningful Congressional oversight and judicial review; and ensure effective investigations, tracking and response to civilian harm.”

Some of the specific steps it calls for are non-starters, but as Scott Shane reports in this New York Times story on the letter, the President has committed to greater transparency in this area.  Several of us have also discussed on this blog reports that the White House may be planning to shift the CIA's lethal targeting program to the Defense Department.  As I discussed here, such a move would make possible some of the steps outlined in this letter.