Does America have a “Licence to Kill”? US Drone War on Yemen Violates International Law

Since 2009, the United States has regularly bombed Yemen.

These aerial attacks have occurred in almost every province of the country. In the past two years, the number of drone strikes has multiplied and the infrastructure required for these attacks have been expanded, not only in Yemen, but also in neighboring Saudi Arabia and Djibouti.

Since the first strikes in November 2002 and until the writing of this report in July 2013, the United States has carried out between 134 and 234 military operations in Yemen.

These include strikes by aircraft and drones as well as missiles launched from warships located in the Gulf of Aden. According to various sources, estimates of the number of people killed range from 1000 to 2000. However, to this day, neither the Yemeni nor the American authorities have put forward official statistics on the number of casualties.

Alkarama carried out a number of field investigations in Yemen throughout 2012 and 2013, in order to gather witness accounts and victim testimonies about these attacks, as well as information from their families and lawyers. Interviews were also held with government officials and members of civil society.

This report presents the results of our research and analysis on the US strategy in its “war on terror” with respect to international law. It also examines the reactions of US as well as Yemeni officials and civil society in light of the serious violations committed. Finally, the report sets out recommendations to the Yemeni and US authorities, as well as to the UN, to address these issues.

Table of contents

Our thanks to the Yemeni National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms (HOOD) for its collaboration in the preparation of this report.


Articles by: Global Research News

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