UN slams Donald Trump for killing Iranian General Soleimani because there was ‘insufficient evidence he was behind an ongoing or imminent attack’
- A U.N. human rights investigator issued the report on Monday noting that the January 3 attack which killed Iranian General Soleimani violated the U.N. charter
- She said that the US had failed to provide sufficient evidence to justify the strike
- She is calling for accountability for targeted killings by armed drones, like those used in the US strike
- President Trump had authorized the strike against Soleimani months beforehand
- Soleimani was said to have been behind numerous attacks against Americans
- On December 27, 2019, one attack killed a US contractor and left four servicemen dead at an Iraqi military base
The January U.S. drone strike in Iraq that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and nine other people represented a violation of international law, a U.N. human rights investigator said on Monday.
The United States has failed to provide sufficient evidence of an ongoing or imminent attack against its interests to justify the strike on Soleimani’s convoy as it left Baghdad airport, said Agnes Callamard, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
The attack violated the U.N. Charter, Callamard wrote in a report calling for accountability for targeted killings by armed drones and for greater regulation of the weapons.
A U.N. human rights investigator said the US failed to provide sufficient evidence of an ongoing or imminent attack against its interests to justify the deadly strike on the convoy Iranian general Qassem Soleimani (pictured in 2016) was traveling in on January 3
An image of a burning vehicle near Baghdad International Airport on the day of the drone strike that killed Soleimani and others in his convoy
‘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.
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.
Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, was a pivotal figure in orchestrating Iran’s campaign to drive U.S. forces out of Iraq, and built up Iran’s network of proxy armies across the Middle East.
The Quds Force is known for supplying weapons and training to groups and insurgents in Iraq, including Kataib Hezbollah.
The 62-year-old was considered the mastermind behind Iran’s fight for regional dominance and one of the most ruthless commanders in the area, who worked in the shadows for years, until emerging in the spotlight following the Arab Spring and the war with the Islamic State.
Soleimani (in an undated photo) was the leader of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force and a pivotal figure in orchestrating Iran’s campaign to drive U.S. forces out of Iraq
U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard (left) said the Trump (right) authorized drone strike attack violated the U.N. charter
President Trump had authorized the strike against Soleimani months beforehand
Washington had accused Soleimani of being behind attacks by Iranian-aligned militias on U.S. forces in the region.
On December 31, 2019, when the US embassy in Baghdad was attacked by pro-Iran protesters, a top secret memo started to circulate among US defense officials signed by Robert C. O’Brien, Trump’s national security adviser, listing out potential targets.
That memo’s most provocative response option was to target specific Iranian officials for death by military strike. Named on that list was General Soleimani and Abdul Reza Shahlai, an Iranian commander in Yemen who helped finance armed groups in the region.
While Soleimani had been on the US radar for some time, surveillance on the shadowy general intensified in May 2019.
At that time tensions with Iran had escalated following attacks on four oil tankers.
Trump ultimately provided the authorization to take out Soleimani months before the attack was carried out, sources told various news organizations.
His reasoning for the order involved Soleimani’s long-term role plotting attacks and backing Iranian proxies.
Soleimani was also said to have been responsible for the December 27, 2019, attack at a Iraqi military base near Kirkuk, durning which more than 30 rockets were fired at the base and a U.S. civilian contractor was killed, while four American and two Iraq servicemen were wounded.
There was also reported to be information on a looming attack against the US Embassy in Baghdad.
‘Major General Soleimani was in charge of Iran military strategy, and actions, in Syria and Iraq. But absent an actual imminent threat to life, the course of action taken by the U.S. was unlawful,’ Callamard wrote in the report.
The January 3 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.
Iran retaliated with a rocket attack on an Iraqi air base where U.S. forces were stationed. Hours later, Iranian forces on high alert mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger airliner taking off from Tehran.
Iran has issued an arrest warrant for U.S. President Donald Trump and 35 others over Soleimani’s killing and has asked Interpol for help, Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said on June 29, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.
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