Agnes Callamard, the special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions who has been commissioned by the U.N.-backed Human Rights Council, called the January American drone strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Iraq, a top Iranian general, “the first known incident in which a state invokes self-defense as justification for an attack against a government official outside a declared armed conflict."
She said based on the evidence the U.S. provided, “the targeting of Gen. Soleimani, and the deaths of those accompanying him, constitute an arbitrary killing for which, under (international human rights law), the U.S. is responsible.”
She added, “It is hard to imagine that a similar strike against a Western military leader would not be considered as an act of war, potentially leading to intense action, political, military and otherwise, against the state launching the strike.”
“This is the primary reason the Soleimani strike is considered a watershed change in the conduct of extra-territorially targeted strikes and killings,” she stated in the report.
Callamard is known for leading an investigation into the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi national, and issuing a scathing report on the actions of Saudi officials.