A UN special rapporteur, who has raised a firestorm by condemning the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, has once again denounced the United States’ sheer disregard for international law.
“It is just violation of every single principle not only governing international law, but governing international relations,” Agnes Callamard, United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, told al-Mayadeen in remarks aired on Sunday.
General Soleimani, the former commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), was assassinated in a US airstrike at Baghdad airport on January 3, along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), and a number of their companions.
Both commanders were extremely popular because of playing a key role in eliminating the US-sponsored Daesh terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.
On Thursday, Callamard provided the UN Human Rights Council with a report on the atrocity, which underlined the “unlawful” nature of the operation because the US had failed to provide evidence of an ongoing or imminent attack against its interests to justify the strike.
In her interview, Callamard repeated that the US has “failed to demonstrate how the strike could match and meet the requirement under the definition ‘self-defense.’”
“I should add that what they have done is part of an evolution that has been worrying me and many others for a number of years now,” she added.
The UN official explained how the US has falsely tried to rationalize such acts of aggression.
In response to the assassination, the IRGC fired volleys of ballistic missiles at a US air base in Iraq on January 8. Iran has also issued an arrest warrant and asked Interpol for help in detaining US President Donald Trump, who ordered the assassination, and several other US military and political leaders behind the strike.
Had an official “from a so-called ‘democratic’ Western country” been targeted in such a manner, that country would have considered the attack “as an act of aggression and as declaration of war,” Callamard said.
She recalled how the aftermath of the strike featured a flurry of diplomatic efforts at avoiding the exacerbation of the already dire situation brought about by the assassination, “because everyone understood that we were on the brink of something extremely serious”.
Warning to Washington
The UN rapporteur finally issued a warning to the US and other countries, urging them not to repeat such acts of aggression.
“I’m hoping that the international community and the United States will understand that we avoided the abyss after that strike,” she said. “Let’s make that the one and only moment, where such a step would have been taken.”
Callamard’s stance has enraged the United States, with State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus calling her report “tendentious and tedious.”
Ortagus on Wednesday accused her of “a special kind of intellectual dishonesty” for condemning the United States, claiming that Washington’s assassination of Gen. Soleimani was an act of “self-defense”.