UK Drone FoI appeal set to reach Upper Tribunal

upper tribunalLater this month Drone Wars appeal against the MoD’s refusal to answer two FoI requests about the use of UK drones in Afghanistan reaches the Upper Tribunal, the highest level of the FoI process in the UK. The first hearing, which will take place on July 21, is to hear oral arguments on whether the appeal should be allowed to proceed.

The appeal concerns two requests for information submitted in January and May 2012 in which we ask (in summary) Read more

Drone campaigners vow to pursue transparency despite losing Information Tribunal

FoI_logo1Press Statement

Anti-drone campaigners vowed to continue fighting for greater transparency on the use of armed drones despite losing an appeal against the Ministry of Defence’s refusal to share more information about the UK’s use of armed drones in Afghanistan.

Last week at the UN General Assembly two UN Special Rapporteurs urged the three countries that are currently using armed drones – the US, Israel and the UK – to be much more transparent about their use.  In sharp contrast the Information Tribunal has agreed the MoD can withhold basic details about UK drone strikes in Afghanistan. Read more

UN pushes hard for more transparency on drones

Christof Heyns

Four important reports relating to the use of armed drones have been published over the past ten day.  Two official reports by UN Special Rapporteurs examine the legal issues surrounding the use of armed drones.  These were closely followed by a detailed report from Amnesty International on the impact of drones in Pakistan and a related report by Human Rights Watch on the impact of drones in Yemen.  All four are important and worth reading in detail. Read more

Information Tribunal – Day Two brief update

L-R, Caroline Parkes, (Drones APPG) Chris Cole and Mary Dobbing (Drone Wars UK) and Sam Jacobs (Doughty Street Chambers)
L-R, Caroline Parkes, (Drones APPG) Chris Cole and Mary Dobbing (Drone Wars UK) and Sam Jacobs (Doughty Street Chambers)

The second day of our Information Tribunal focused on the legal submissions by ourselves represented by  Sam Jacobs, the Ministry of Defence represented by Charles Bourne, and the Information Commissioner represented by Robin Hopkins.  This is just a brief update – we will obviously say more when the Tribunal’s decision is released  – hopefully within two weeks.

The Information Commission had previously upheld the MoD’s refusal to disclose the information that we requested under the Section 26 exception of the Freedom of Information Act (‘prejudice to the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces’) and Section 27 (‘prejudice to relations with another State’).  In this Tribunal we are seeking to overturn Read more

Drone Wars UK to challenge UK drone secrecy in court

gavelA two-day Information Tribunal will take place in central London on 23 and 24 September examining  the refusal of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide Drone Wars UK Co-ordinator, Chris Cole, with information about the UK’s use of Reaper drones in Afghanistan.

A UK Reaper drone operator with “approximately 1,000 hours of Reaper experience supporting UK and Coalition activities in Afghanistan” will give evidence on behalf of the Ministry of Defence.  Chris Cole is also being called to give evidence and Tom Watson MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones has also submitted a Witness Statement to the Tribunal. Read more