Report: ICCT and ECFR Seminar on Drone Strikes in Counter-Terror Wars

Published 23 January 2017

The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague (ICCT) and the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) convened an evening seminar entitled ‘Drone Strikes and Counter-Terror Wars: Legal Perspectives and Recommendations for European States’ on 14 December 2016 at the Asser Institute.

Both ICCT and the ECFR are conducting research addressing the legal issues surrounding drone strikes and in particular compliance with European human rights obligations. As the involvement of European States in counter-terrorism wars is growing in complexity, these challenges will only become more pressing.

During the event, Anthony Dworkin (Senior Policy Fellow at the ECFR) presented the new ECFR report ‘Europe’s New Counter-terror Wars’. He examined among others how the transition of European states in terms of military operations post 9/11 led to European countries’ own involvement in counter-terror wars. The terrorist groups are hybrid in their current strategy, both aiming to gain ground to control territory plus a continuing focus on conducting terrorist attacks abroad.

Jessica Dorsey (Program Officer at PAX and ICCT Associate Fellow) and Bérénice Boutin (Asser Researcher and ICCT Research Fellow) discussed subsequently the ICCT Report ‘Towards a European Position on the Use of Armed Drones? A Human Rights Approach’. The report is based on a previous ICCT Research Paper ‘Towards a European Position on Armed Drones and Targeted Killing: Surveying EU Counter-Terrorism Perspectives‘, and an expert meeting that focused on international human rights law within Europe. They concluded their presentation urging the need to clarify legal positions on targeted killings at the national and EU levels. The silence surrounding these concerns risks the acceptance of the current interpretation of the legal framework and consequently, targeted killing using drones could start to become normalised as a counter-terrorism strategy.

Asser Senior Researcher and ICCT Research Fellow Christophe Paulussen was moderator of the event.

>>Read the report of the event on the ICCT website