The legal ramifications of General Soleimani’s assassination
The martyrdom of several resistance leaders, among them the late General Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Quds Force and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, the great Iraqi leader of Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), not only plunged the entire Iranian and Iraqi nations into depths of anguish and grief but also had legal implications across the world.
It is a well-established fact that when a high-level military official is in a state visit to a non-belligerent third country, he embodies the symbol of a nation which he represents, and therefore he must enjoy full diplomatic immunity. Thus, the cruel assassination of Haj Qassem Soleimani and his entourage near Baghdad’s Airport on January 3, 2020, by the terrorist American government, constitutes a stark violation of the principles of non-use of force in international relations, Iraqi sovereignty, and its territorial integrity.
Britain’s Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), in a letter to António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, filed a lawsuit against the American administration for assassinating General Soleimani and his entourage. The British NGO described the ignominious American action in killing the Iranian military official in Iraq as a serious development that entails negative impacts. Furthermore, IHRC asked the international community to raise their voice against the American flagrant violation of the international norms and conventions.
IHRC complained to Mr. Guterres that the American government committed that horrific assassination; under the false pretext of self-defense, but in fact, the White House exhorted other parties to eliminate their political enemies through different acts of terrorism. In other words, the American government is seeking to establish the rule of the jungle by undermining international law.
Agnès Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, concluded in his report to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council that the murder of Gen. Soleimani in Iraq was illegal and constituted an unprecedented escalation in the history of armed conflicts.
She added that there are no comprehensive investigations regarding the unlawful use of military drones against civilians and diplomats. She also added that the shameful use of drones by the American government against its opponents in the post-ISIS era seriously destabilizes international peace and security.
“The strike against General Soleimani makes me underline the fact that the UN had been demanding for several years for regulation into what has become an uncontrollable race into developing, exporting, and using drones. At this point, with an increasing number of states and non-state actors using drones, and by drones becoming stealthier, speedier, smaller, and more lethal, we need the international community to develop robust international standards governing the development, export, and use of drones. We also need UN decision-making bodies and member states to engage with the use of drones and more generally any claims by states that they are acting in self-defense,” Mrs. Callamard was quoted as saying.
Reacting to Mrs. Callamard’s findings, the spokeswomen for the US State Department promptly criticized the UN official, and John Bolton, the then US National Security Adviser was cited as saying that the United States had left the UN Human Rights Council and is not accountable to the United Nations anymore. The Pentagon also lashed out at Callamard’s report. Following the assassination of Martyr Soleimani, a number of the UN Human Rights Council rejected the arbitrary and unlawful killings by using military drones. China, Syria, and Venezuela explicitly condemned the US assassination of Gen. Soleimani.
Another problem with the official definitions of terror is that it follows from them that the US government is a leading terrorist state.
Noam Chomsky, Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance