On 27 May 2015, the Administrative Court (Verwaltungsgericht) of Cologne dismissed the claim brought against the German government by three Yemeni citizens. The claimants survived a drone strike in Yemen in which US airbase Ramstein played a central role. Two of their relatives died in the attack, while many other family members have been left traumatized. The claimants as well as the ECCHR and partner organization Reprieve regret the decision. The appeal to the Higher Administrative Court is currently pending and legal arguments have been exchanged between the parties.
On 29th August 2012, a rocket fired by US drones struck the village of Khashamir in eastern Yemen. The extended bin Ali Jaber family had gathered in the village to celebrate a wedding. Two members of the family were killed in the strike. Other family members were left with ongoing trauma. The US military base in Ramstein was used to help carry out the attack. Despite this the German government continues to deny any responsibility for civilian deaths caused by US drone warfare. The three Yemeni nationals called on Germany to accept legal and political responsibility for US drone warfare in Yemen and to stop the use of the US military base and in particular the satellite relay station in Ramstein.
The almost global capacity to conduct airstrikes anytime, anywhere: that is one of the most distinctive features of armed drones – and therefore a new dimension of warfare. Since many years the US employs drone strikes in the thousands. Again and again, innocent people are killed in the attacks – in many different countries. US drone warfare often violates international law, such as strict rules on the use of force and self-defense (ius ad bellum), principles and customs of war (ius in bello), basic human rights (namely the right to life and physical integrity), by attacking individuals without sufficiently determining their status. This results in blatant violations of human rights and international law.