Drones and targeted killing: Defining a European position

The discussion will examine recent changes in US drone policy announced by President Barack Obama, consider what the right standard for regulating drones should be, and explore the possibility of the US and European states working together on rules for the new era of drone warfare

Guests

Sir Daniel Bethlehem QC, former Legal Advisor, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Anthony Dworkin, Senior Policy Fellow, ECFR

Chaired by

Susi Dennison, Policy Fellow, ECFR

The United States’ use of drones (or unmanned aerial vehicles) to conduct strikes against terrorist suspects in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere has provoked controversy around the world. Soon many other countries will have armed drones, raising fears that the use of targeted killing could become more widespread. So far, European countries have not spoken publicly about the US drone campaign – but is it time for a clearer EU stance on the subject? And could European states do more to promote new global standards on when the use of armed drones is permissible?

This discussion will explore these and related questions with Sir Daniel Bethlehem QC, who served as principal Legal Advisor of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 2006 to 2011, and ECFR senior policy fellow Anthony Dworkin, author of the new policy brief Drones and targeted killing: Defining a European position’. The discussion will examine recent changes in US drone policy announced by President Barack Obama, consider what the right standard for regulating drones should be, and explore the possibility of the US and European states working together on rules for the new era of drone warfare.

Sir Daniel Bethlehem KCMG QC is a barrister in practice from Chambers in London at 20 Essex Street, the founding Director of Legal Policy International Limited (LPI), and a Consulting Senior Fellow at The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). From May 2006 to May 2011, he was the principal Legal Adviser of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Prior to this, he was in practice at the London Bar and Director of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge.

Anthony Dworkin is a Senior Policy Fellow at ECFR working on human rights, democracy and international justice. He is the author of several papers for ECFR including ‘Drones and targeted killing: Defining a European position’. He was previously the executive director of the Crimes of War project and is a contributing editor of Prospect magazine.

Susi Dennison is a Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. Previously she worked for Amnesty International on human rights in EU Foreign Policy and at the UK Treasury, advising on a range of policy issues, including migration in the run-up to the 2004 wave of accession to the EU. She is the author of several publications for ECFR on human rights questions and within the MENA programme, including ‘The EU, Algeria and the Northern Mali question’ (2012).