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

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by a joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop billions of dollars from illegally being moved out of continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development 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.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid