Ethiopia promise no drone use against civilians may allow lawsuits in USA

Drone strikes against civilians in Southern Tigray from drones sold to Ethiopia by UAE and Turkey are continuing

New revelations that Turkey and UAE forced Ethiopia to sign agreements promising no drone use against civilians provides insight into potential legal action against Ethiopia in the USA.

As a way to cover themselves from later sanctions, litigation from victims, and complaints of blasphemy against Islam sources are now reporting that Turkey and the United Arab Emirates had Ethiopia sign agreements regarding the use of drones purchased.  Apparently this was the message given to United States Horn of Africa Special Representative, Jeffrey Feltman, during his visits to those countries. No doubt these two Muslim countries foresaw potential criticism and legal action arising from these controversial sales and thus covered themselves with this pre-agreement.

These agreements to only proper military use of drones could be key pieces of evidence that Ethiopia not only obtained these weapons but agreed to use them only against military targets and not against civilians. As a member of the United Nations Ethiopia is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other conventions against civilian targeting in war and against genocide which forbids these immoral actions.

There is a law in the United States, the Alien Tort Statue, first passed in 1789 and then extended into the Torture Victim Protection Act in 1991 and signed by President George H.W. Bush, which has been used successfully in cases involving torture, state-sponsored sexual violence, extrajudicial killing, crimes against humanity, war crimes and arbitrary detention. This extension of 1991 gives similar rights to U.S. citizens and non-citizens alike to bring claims for torture and extrajudicial killing committed in foreign countries.

The government of Ethiopia as well as government owned entities like Ethiopian airlines maintain assets in the United States in the banking system, properties, and other financial vehicles. These may be now be at risk of litigation to compensate the tens of thousands of victims in the Ethiopian murder and violation of Tigray, Oromo, and other victims.

Since its founding Islam has called for very strict adherence to rules of war by the Prophet Mohammed and later written by his General Abu Bakr which are often referred to as the Ten Rules for the Muslim Army. Clearly Turkey and UAE where aware of this potential conflict to their avowed religion in selling drones to Ethiopia. Whether these written agreements to Ethiopia would protect them from litigation is open to question?

O people! I charge you with ten rules; learn them well!

Stop, O people, that I may give you ten rules for your guidance in the battlefield. Do not commit treachery or deviate from the right path. You must not mutilate dead bodies. Neither kill a child, nor a woman, nor an aged man. Bring no harm to the trees, nor burn them with fire, especially those that are fruitful. Slay not any of the enemy’s flock, save for your food. You are likely to pass by people who have devoted their lives to monastic services; leave them alone.

Author: Professor Tony Magana

Professor Tony Magana is Head of the Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences at Mekelle University in Mekelle, Ethiopia. He directs a neurosurgery residency and training program as well as neuroscience research.

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