Monday, May 10

Federal Administrative Court: America is allowed to control drone attacks via Ramstein

Dhe United States can continue to control drone strikes from the Ramstein military base. The federal government does not need to take any further measures to ensure that the attacks are in accordance with international law. That was decided by the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig on Wednesday evening. The judges rejected the lawsuit brought by three men from Yemen as unfounded. According to the court, the federal government’s political and diplomatic efforts to date are sufficient to ensure the legality of the attacks.

Marlene Grunert

The military base in Ramstein plays an essential role in the American drone program. The attacks are controlled from Florida, but the curvature of the earth causes a transmission delay, so the signals are rerouted via Ramstein. The military base for these signals is now considered to be the largest node outside of the United States. It is indispensable for their “global war on terror”.

Florida – Ramstein – Jemen

Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, America has been claiming to be in a global war on terrorism that challenges international humanitarian law in the classic sense. Martial law was originally developed for conflicts between states; The international community did not have an eye on asymmetrical warfare by terrorist organizations. After the attacks of September 11th, however, the view prevailed in America and also in the German government that military action could also be taken against terrorists; Drone attacks play an important role in this, and not just since Donald Trump. They are considered permissible under international law if they are directed against “enemy combatants” in an armed conflict. Often, however, (also) civilians are killed.

The three plaintiffs from Yemen lost several relatives in a drone attack on their village in 2012; the family had celebrated a wedding the night before. This attack was also controlled via Ramstein. With the support of the “European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights”, the members of the Bin Ali Jaber family first went to the administrative court. They demand that the Federal Republic of Germany stop drone attacks that are being controlled.

They base their complaint on the fact that the federal government is obliged to protect the life, including that of foreigners abroad, insofar as it can influence it. The administrative court recognized the federal government’s duty to protect in principle, but rejected the action. According to the judges, courts could not interfere in foreign policy matters.

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