Saturday, January 24, 2015

Interfaith Conference on Drone Warfare: Session 2 - Legal and Policy Issues

Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ
January 23 - 25, 2015

Session 2 began with a trailer from the film "Unmanned: America’s Drone War"

Domestic and International Law:

What current laws if any, both domestic and international, govern the use of drones? Are these laws being applied and obeyed? Is there a need for stronger enforcement mechanisms for existing standards? Much of 20th Century international law centers on the responsibilities of the nation state. How do these standards apply to private contractors, militant groups and other non-state actors who have not agreed to these standards? Is there a need for new legal standards about the production and use of lethal drones?

The Legal Questions about the U.S. Use Drones:

Authorization: What is the specific authorization for the Administration’s use of drones? If it is the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), adopted by Congress in September 2001 that provides blanket authority for the use of “all necessary and appropriate force” against those responsible for the 9/11 attacks and affiliated forces, should that authorization be repealed or amended to be more limited or specific? Is there any other existing authorization that is applicable? Should the U.S. Congress have a greater role in the authorization and oversight of lethal drones and targeted killings?

Transparency and Accountability: What are the moral implications of the Administration’s lack of clarity about the legal justification for the use of drone warfare? Should the Administration be required to fully document the basis for and conduct of each lethal drone strike and make that available to Congress? To the public?


Rev. Robert Moore, Executive Director, Peace Action Education Fund


Jim Winkler, General Secretary, National Council of Churches


Peter Lumsdaine, Founder, Alliance to Resist Robotic Warfare & Society
Gabor Rona, Visiting Professor of Law, Cardozo Law School
Elizabeth Beavers, Legislative Associate, Friends Committee on National Legislation
Wendy Patten, Senior Policy Analyst, Open Society Policy Center, Washington, DC

Production costs for this series of videos are partially underwritten by Coalition for Peace Action and by Broome County Peace Action.