(The following statement was prepared for delivery and put on the record of the 20th Session of the HRC, but could not be read aloud do to time constraints.)
The United States thanks Special Rapporteur Christof Heyns for his work as the Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions mandate holder. We appreciate efforts by the Special Rapporteur and his predecessor to follow up on country visits, and recommend that other mandate holders also consider this practice.
In May 2011, the United States submitted a detailed response addressing the issues and recommendations contained in the Special Rapporteur’s country visit report. That submission provided a number of updates on the status of U.S. policy in those subject areas. We will soon make that submission publicly available on the U.S. Mission’s website, as well as on the U.S. Government’s official website for human rights: humanrights.gov.
While broader than the issues in the purview of this Council, questions about the U.S. legal and policy framework for use of force against al-Qaeda and associated forces have been addressed by senior U.S. officials in a number of recent public statements. These include the recent remarks by Assistant to the President John O. Brennan at Harvard Law School on September 16, 2011 and at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars on April 30, 2012; by Attorney General Eric Holder at Northwestern University School of Law on March 5, 2012; and by Department of Defense General Counsel Jeh Johnson at Yale Law School on February 22, 2012. These public statements reflect the unequivocal U.S. commitment to conducting such operations with extraordinary care and in accordance with all applicable law, including the law of war. They also reflect our continuing commitment to greater transparency and a sincere effort to address some of the important questions that have been raised.
Since our Nation’s founding, we have committed ourselves to pursuing the highest standards of justice and due process to protect the inalienable rights of all people as reflected in the U.S. Constitution, other U.S. law, and our international legal obligations. We continue to work hard to ensure that our policies and our actions meet those standards and abide by all applicable domestic and international law.