The United Nations released the results of an investigation into the January 3rd US drone strike on Iran’s top IRGC general Qasem Soleimani calling the killing “unlawful” on Tuesday.
The report by Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, further concluded it violated the UN charter and deemed it an “arbitrary killing” — especially given, according to her findings, there exists no evidence that Soleimani was planning an imminent attack on the United States or its personnel.
In the days and weeks after the targeted assassination which set the region on war footing, and which shocked the world, the Trump administration and especially Mike Pompeo and Pentagon leadership cited precisely that US soldiers in the Middle East were facing “imminent” attack under orders from Gen. Soleimani.
The UN report highlighted that never before has a member nation claimed ‘right to self-defense’ as rationale for killing a state official in a third country.
Some of the UN report highlights, which will be presented before a UN Human Rights session (a UN body that the US pulled out of two years ago) on Thursday, are as follows:
“In light of the evidence that the US has provided to date, the targeting of General Soleimani, and the deaths of those accompanying him, constitute an arbitrary killing for which, under IHRL (international human rights law), the US is responsible.”
Violated UN charter, given there was—
“insufficient evidence provided of an ongoing or imminent attack,” Callamard wrote.
No evidence of imminent attack plotted on the US:
“No evidence has been provided that General Soleimani specifically was planning an imminent attack against US interests, particularly in Iraq, for which immediate action was necessary and would have been justified.”
Strike “unnecessary” and “unlawful”:
“No evidence has been provided that a drone strike in a third country was necessary or that the harm caused to that country was proportionate to the harm allegedly averted.
“Soleimani was in charge of Iran’s military strategy, and actions, in Syria and Iraq. But absent an actual imminent threat to life, the course of action taken by the US was unlawful.”
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Of course, any potential punitive recommendations against Washington will only ever be merely symbolic. Iran will, however, make much of it in its media as well as in any potential unlawful killing international lawsuit against the US and decision-makers in the Trump administration. Tehran has already demanded massive compensation for the killing from the US.
The US has taken issue from the start over Soleimani being considered by many European countries as a ‘state official’. Washington has instead deemed he and the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as terrorists, and thus legitimate targets of US military action.