5 Questions on Drones Senators Should Ask Attorney General Holder on Wednesday

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The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its ninth periodic oversight hearing of the Department of Justice on Wednesday, March 6th at 9 a.m. with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder  (Photo credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images).

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its ninth periodic oversight hearing of the Department of Justice on Wednesday, March 6th at 9 a.m. with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (Photo credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images).

On Wednesday March 6th at 9 a.m., the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its ninth periodic oversight hearing of the Department of Justice with Attorney General Eric Holder. It’s not a hearing on drones and the Obama administration’s counter terrorism policy, but it should be.

As we saw with the Senate Intelligence Committee’s confirmation hearing with John Brennan several weeks ago, the Obama administration’s killing program remains shrouded in secrecy and the little information we do know gives grounds to conclude that the program as a whole allows for the use of lethal force that violates the right to life under international law.

Join Amnesty International in urging Senate Judiciary Committee members to ask Attorney General Holder the following 5 questions about drones, Guantanamo and the administration’s “global war” legal theory, in order to help ensure that no person—US citizen or anyone else—is unlawfully killed or detained:

1) Will you release the secret Department of Justice memos on drone killing to Congress and the public—and, if not, why not?

2) Has the Department of Justice advised the Obama administration that the “rule book” for the use of lethal force already exists—namely, international human rights law and, in the exceptional circumstances it applies, international humanitarian law?

3) What is the Department of Justice doing to ensure independent and impartial investigations in all cases of alleged extrajudicial executions or other unlawful killings, respect for the rights of family members of those killed, and effective redress and remedy if killings are found to have been unlawful?

4) What is the Department of Justice doing to ensure that the US government resolves the Guantanamo detentions in line with its international human rights obligations, including by fulfilling the right to be free from arbitrary detention and the right to a fair trial, and recognizing that, under international law, domestic law and politics do not justify a state’s failure to meet its treaty obligations?

5) How does the Obama administration’s global armed conflict paradigm comply with the international legal definition of armed conflict?

Take Action

Is one of your Senators on the Judiciary Committee? If so:

  • Call and email their D.C. office and urge them to ask Amnesty’s 5 questions for Attorney General Holder.
  • Tell them you’ll be watching the hearing and will listen for these questions.
  • Also urge them to hold public hearings with drone strike survivors and independent experts on international human rights law and humanitarian law. You can use our web action at  http://www.amnestyusa.org/dronehearings
  • If you’re on Twitter, join me @ZekeJohnsonAi in live Tweeting the hearing on Wednesday at 9 a.m. and be sure to Tweet at your Senators, for example: “Dear @___ ask AG Holder @Amnesty’s 5 questions on #drones & #Guantanamo [include a link to this blog]” or “Dear @ ______ we need a public hearing on #drones www.amnestyusa.org/dronehearings

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3 thoughts on “5 Questions on Drones Senators Should Ask Attorney General Holder on Wednesday

  1. Dear Jasmine,

    In this world, there are nations taken hostages by people the least that can be said about them is that they are not worthy of being on this planet, let alone be in charge any where on it. Time will tell what will happen. My donations will not stop, not when it comes to fighting for freedom, equality and justice.

    Mohammed

  2. I believe that the government should be able to use drone strikes, BUT, with that said the government should be more transparent about it and stop keeping it so secretive. The only thing they accomplish by withholding information from the public is causing conspiracy theorists, human rights activists (such as myself), and anti-government activists to gain leverage on the government and causing outrage. The act of killing terrorists with drones is a good act but it needs to be done differently with laws such as follows.

  3. Drone strikes are wrong for one, because of the "collateral damage". Innocent people die in these strikes. Not to mention that the rule of law and all our constitutional guarantees are absolutely destroyed.