LONDON (AA) – A group of British lawmakers has called on the U.K. government to urgently clarify the legality of its drone strikes in Iraq and Syria.
In a report released on Tuesday, the cross-party Joint Committee on Human Rights said it was concerned about the use of the unmanned aircraft in conflict situations following the killing of a British Daesh fighter last summer.
The U.K. citizen, Reyaad Khan, was killed in a drone strike in August, but that attack was conducted in secret and took place one month before the British parliament formally endorsed air strikes in Syria.
Committee chair Harriet Harman said in a statement announcing the report: “We find ourselves today in a new situation for which our long-established legal frameworks were not designed.
“When the government orders our military to take a life outside of armed conflict, there should be proper accountability. Those making and carrying out the order to take a life need to know that there will be independent scrutiny to ensure that the highest standards have been adhered to.
“As the world faces the grey area between terrorism and war, there needs to be a new international consensus on when it is acceptable for a state to take a life outside of armed conflict. The U.K. government should lead in the establishment of that consensus and thereby ensure that states are able to take the action which is necessary to protect their citizens without breaching the rule of law.”
The committee also criticized U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and Michael Fallon, the defense secretary, for making “confused and confusing” remarks after news of the strike against Khan became public.
The U.K. government has not yet responded to the report.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, has previously expressed concerns about the U.K.'s use of drones.
He told Anadolu Agency last September: “I am very concerned that the government launched a strike against individuals in Syria and I am concerned that there is no legal base for that."