Qassem Soleimani strike violated international human rights law, UN official argues

The U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial killing on Friday said the President Trump-approved drone strike against Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s top general, violated international human rights law.

In a lengthy Twitter thread, Agnès Callamard said that “outside the context of active hostilities, the use of drones or other means for targeted killing is almost never likely to be legal,” adding that the U.S. would need to prove the person targeted constituted an imminent threat to others.

She also took issue with the justification for using drones in another country on the basis of self-defense.

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“Under customary international law States can take military action if the threatened attack is imminent, no other means would deflect it, and the action is proportionate,” she wrote.

POMPEO ON QASSEM SOLEIMANI STRIKE: IRAN NOW UNDERSTANDS TRUMP WILL TAKE 'DECISIVE' ACTION

This photo released by the Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office shows a burning vehicle at the Baghdad International Airport following an airstrike in Baghdad, Iraq, early Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. The Pentagon said Thursday that the U.S. military has killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force, at the direction of President Donald Trump.

This photo released by the Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office shows a burning vehicle at the Baghdad International Airport following an airstrike in Baghdad, Iraq, early Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. The Pentagon said Thursday that the U.S. military has killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force, at the direction of President Donald Trump. (Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office via AP)

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“The test for so-called anticipatory self-defense is very narrow: it must be a necessity that is ‘instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment of deliberation.’ This test is unlikely to be met in these particular cases,” she added.

Callamard noted that “an individual’s past involvement in ‘terrorist’ attacks is not sufficient to make his targeting for killing lawful.”

The French human rights expert also criticized the Pentagon’s statement about the airstrike.

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