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German Court Dismisses Drone Complicity Case

> original title:

Court Dismisses Claim of German Complicity In Yemeni Drone Killings

(Source: The Guardian; published May 27, 2015)

Judge says German government not obliged to prohibit US from using Ramstein airbase for relaying drone control signalling but allows campaigners to appeal

COLOGNE --- A court in Cologne has dismissed a claim brought by three Yemenis accusing the German government of complicity in the deaths of civilians for allowing the US to relay drone data via Ramstein airbase.

In a groundbreaking case brought by Yemenis who lost relatives in a 2012 attack on their village, the claimants argued that it would not have been possible to fly drones over Yemen without the existence of Ramstein, a US military base in western Germany.

It was the first time that a court in a country lending military or technical support for the US drone programme allowed such a case to be heard.

But a judge at Cologne administrative court dismissed the case after listening to two hours of arguments from the claimants, their lawyer and lawyers for the German government.

She acknowledged the “plausibility” that the base had been used to carry out drone strikes – despite the US and German governments’ repeated claims to the contrary – but said the German government had no legal grounds on which to forbid the US from using Ramstein to do so.

“The German government is not obliged to prohibit the USA from using Ramstein airbase for the execution of drone attacks in Yemen,” said judge Hildeund Caspari-Wierzoch, adding that neither was it “politically realistic” to terminate the Ramstein contract with the US.

In a somewhat unusual move, she allowed the claimants to appeal, meaning the case could appear before a German court again within months. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Guardian website.