Administration Urged to Provide Transparency on Use of Force, Civilian Casualties
Washington, D.C.—Human Rights First today, urged President Trump to use congressionally-mandated reporting requirements as an opportunity to provide much-needed transparency on the United States’ use of force and its impact on civilians. The letter comes ahead of a March 12 deadline for the administration to provide a report to Congress on the rules governing the use of military force, including any changes made to legal interpretations or governing policies since President Trump took office. The administration is also required to provide a report on civilian casualties caused by U.S. military operations by May 1.
- Provide Congress and the American people with as much information as possible on the laws, policies, and practices guiding the use of military force by the United States and the impact of U.S. operations on civilians;
- To the greatest extent possible consistent with national security, provide the congressionally-mandated report on the legal and policy frameworks for counterterrorism operations and the report on civilian casualties in unclassified form and publicly release the unclassified reports;
- Ensure that the report on the legal and policy frameworks for counterterrorism operations reflects a similar breadth and depth of information as the 2016 Report on the Legal and Policy Frameworks Guiding the United States’ Use of Military Force and Related National Security Operations and include thorough explanations of any changes made since the 2016 report was released; and
- Ensure that the report on civilian casualties takes into account relevant and credible all-source reporting when determining whether civilians have been harmed by U.S. military operations and provides through explanations of the measures taken to investigate and mitigate harm to civilians. The report should also provide additional details about the impact of U.S. operations on civilians, such as the precise location of strikes and the numbers of civilians and combatants killed, as well as the number of casualties where the status of the person killed is unknown. Like the legal and policy framework, the civilian casualties report should be produced in unclassified form.
For more information or to speak with Massimino contact Corinne Duffy at DuffyC@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3319.