November 26, 2015Arms Sales International Security and Rule of Law
On 7 September 2015, the Prime Minister announced in Parliament that, on 21 August 2015, the Royal Air Force conducted a strike in Raqqa, Syria, which resulted in the death of two UK nationals and a Belgian national. The use of drones to effect a targeted killing of British nationals in a country where the United Kingdom is not a party to an armed conflict or at war is unprecedented. Following the confirmation by the Prime Minister that the RAF had conducted a drone strike against British citizens in Syria, the UK Government has refused to publish the legal advice which was presented to the Government by the Attorney General.
On 8 September 2015, RWUK wrote to the Attorney General and the Prime Minister requesting access to the Advice. The responses received were drafted in identical terms. In letters dated 15 and 16 September 2015, the Government informed RWUK that it was treating the Requests as made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In letters dated 6 October 2015, the Government refused the Requests, relying upon a number of exemptions under the Act.
As a result, on 26 November 2015, Rights Watch (UK) submitted a complaint to the Office of the Information Commissioner. In the complaint, Rights Watch (UK) claims:
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