Defence written question – answered on 20th March 2014.

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Photo of Tom Watson Tom Watson Labour, West Bromwich East

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to paragraph 39 of the final report of UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism dated 28 February 2014, if he will publish the investigations report on civilian casualties through use of remotely piloted aircraft by the UK in Afghanistan.

Photo of Mark Francois Mark Francois The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

Any incident involving civilian casualties is a matter of deep regret and we take every possible measure to avoid such incidents. The report of UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, dated 28 February 2014, details the only known incident in over 57,000 hours of UK Reaper operations that resulted in the deaths of civilians. This incident took place on 25 March 2011 and resulted in the death of four civilians in addition to two insurgents. An International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) investigation was carried out and concluded that the actions of the Reaper crew had been in accordance with extant procedures and ISAF rules of engagement. As this was an ISAF investigation, any final decision on the report’s disclosure sits within the ISAF chain of command.

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