Callamard says that the US, in justifying the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, cites the self-defense clause of Article 51 of the UN Charter. But, as she points out, “even the legality of a strike under Art. 51 of the UN Charter does not preclude its wrongfulness under humanitarian or human rights law.”
International jurisprudence, as Callamard observes, suggests that self-defense could only be invoked against a threat that is already there. Void of such an imminent threat, the US action operates in violation of Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which prohibits “arbitrary deprivations of life.”
At the end of the day, however, the Special Rapporteur’s report is, for all practicalities and solid reasoning, an exercise in frustration and irrelevance.
For laws to have any effect, they must be enforceable, and to be enforceable there must be jurisdiction. To decide that the US, through its extrajudicial and extraterritorial assassination of Soleimani, was in violation of Article 6 of the ICCPR is one thing; turning that decision into anything other than an act of moralistic chest-thumping is another.The UN Has Found that the US Killing of Qassem Soleimani Broke International Law. It’s Right, but Nothing Will Happen as a Result