News / Asia

UN investigators Call for More Facts on bin Laden Death

Osama bin Laden compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan
Osama bin Laden compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan

Independent investigators at the United Nations called Friday for the United States to provide more details on the death of Osama bin Laden.

The two U.N. investigators who published a joint statement on Friday said that in exceptional cases force can be used in "operations against terrorists."

But Christof Heyns, the special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, and Martin Scheinin, the rapporteur on protecting human rights while countering terrorism, said terrorists should normally be dealt with by arrest and trial.

Whether or not U.S. forces met international human rights standards when they killed Osama bin Laden, they said, is dependent on the specific facts. And those facts, they said, need to be brought out into the open.

The U.N. investigators are not the first to raise questions over the legality of bin Laden’s death.

Information request

Navi Pillay, the U.N.’s top human rights official, has also called for more information. The International Red Cross has said there aren’t enough facts available to assess its legality and Cuba’s Fidel Castro decried what he said was an execution "in front of [bin Laden’s] wife and children."

U.S.-based Human Rights Watch is another organization that has joined the debate.

"I think it would be very important for the U.S. to give more information, both to show its justification for the legality and also frankly to prevent a lot of other countries from hunting down their opponents either at home or abroad and using this as justification," HRW's Rood Brody said.

He says more light needs to be shed on three main issues. The first is whether Osama bin Laden is considered a combatant in a war. Evidence needs to be provided, he says, that bin Laden’s role was ongoing.

"If you're engaged in military hostilities--you're giving orders to troops in Pakistan, you have some kind of operational role--then you become in effect a soldier or a general, as the case may be, and then you become a clear military objective," he said.

Operation 'Geronimo'

Brody says more also needs to be known about the planning of the operation: what orders were given and whether capturing, rather than killing, bin Laden was an option.

Thirdly, he says, more information should be given about what actually happened in the Pakistani compound where bin Laden was killed. The U.S. has already said bin Laden was unarmed so, Brody asks, what prevented the U.S. forces from capturing him?"

He says there are a lot of questions still unanswered but that does not necessarily mean that the right steps were not taken.

"Obviously in an ideal world, one would have stood outside the Pakistani compound with a bullhorn and said 'Come Out' and Osama bin Laden would have come out with his hands up and would have been captured and put on trial. We don't live in an ideal world," Brody said.

This week U.S. President Barack Obama ruled out releasing photos taken of bin Laden after he was shot.

Obama said that because of the graphic nature of the images, their publication could create a risk to national security.

The investigators Heyns and Scheinin report to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs