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German Watchdog for U.S. drones

The German government has suffered in court, a defeat that could strain its relations with the United States. The higher administrative court of the Federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia has decided that Germany bears a share of responsibility for the numerous drone attacks by the United States. Although such operations from the United States to be remote-controlled. However, the communication is via the Ramstein base. An institution on German soil, as such, plays a Central role. Germany will have to check in the future, whether such attacks are incompatible with international law. Affected virtually all of the armed drone flights in the United States in the Middle East and in Africa.

The ruling is a victory for human rights groups, who have been claiming for years that Germany needs to look to the United States-more specifically, the fingers in and out of Ramstein, the largest U.S. base outside North America. Due to the curvature of the earth drone pilots in Nevada or New Mexico are not able to communicate directly with the unmanned aircraft on this side of the world. Therefore, the satellite signal is passed on via a Relay Station in Ramstein.

The court transfers Germany has a responsibility, rejected by the country strictly. The German government took the view that they know in order to know about what is happening in Ramstein. But that was also not necessary, because the US had assured that the use of armed drones to be examined and is done on a statutory basis. The court found that the agree that a number of such attacks have only killed civilians, and thus violates international law. This was also the case for the bombardment of a wedding party in Yemen in 2012, which was the basis of the lawsuit. The plaintiff had lost family members,and the evidence were had nothing to do with terrorist groups.

US President, Trump has criticized Germany repeatedly, because it spends according to his opinion, enough for defense.

Although this ruling applies only to Germany and only drone attacks, but it could also have a more General meaning. In Ramstein, more than 50,000 Americans are stationed. It is the Central hub for U.S. operations in Afghanistan, Syria or Somalia. From here troops will be moved, ammunition and weapons delivered, here the Wounded are treated. When it comes to illegal activities, shall be borne by Germany also in these cases, perhaps a co-responsibility. Without Ramstein about the war in Iraq, which was not endorsed by the UN would have been to run a lot harder.

The judgment is not yet final: It will probably be at the German Supreme administrative court. However, it is politically embarrassing for Germany and more than an Irritation for the US. US President, Donald Trump has criticised Germany repeatedly, because it spends according to his opinion, enough for defense. If Germany should now also monitor U.S. drone operations, it will complicate the cooperation.

other States, granting the US armed forces laws of hospitality, should sit up and take notice: A state may not relinquish its responsibility for what happens on its territory, to the United States. Illegal US activities come to light, are also the host States and the pillory.

(editing Tamedia)

Created: 24.03.2019, 21:30 PM

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