Court: Germany must press US over Yemen drone strikes

Court Alerts

A court in Germany ruled Tuesday that the government has partial responsibility to ensure U.S. drone strikes controlled with the help of an American base on German territory are in line with international law, but judges stopped short of ordering the ban that human rights activists had called for.

The case was brought by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights on behalf of three Yemeni plaintiffs, who allege their relatives were killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2012. A lower court had dismissed their case in 2015, concluding at the time that the government had fulfilled its legal duties and was within its rights to balance them with “foreign and defense policy interests.”

The Muenster administrative court said in a statement that available evidence suggests the Ramstein U.S. air base in southern Germany plays “a central role” for the relay of flight control data used for armed drone strikes in Yemen.

Judges ordered the German government to take “appropriate measures” to determine whether the use of armed drones controlled via Ramstein is in line with international law and, if necessary, to press Washington to comply with it.

“The judgment from the court in Muenster is an important step toward placing limits on the drone program as carried out via Ramstein,” said Andreas Schueller, a lawyer with the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights. “Germany must now face up to its responsibility for these strikes.”

The German Foreign Ministry said it would study the ruling.

“The German government is in regular and confidential contact with the United States about the role the U.S. air base Ramstein plays in the U.S.’s international deployment of unmanned aircrafts,” the ministry said in a statement.

A spokesman for U.S. Air Force Europe said the Ramstein base is used to “conduct operational level planning, monitoring and assessment of assigned airpower missions throughout Europe and Africa.”

“The U.S. Air Force does not launch or operate remotely piloted aircraft from Germany as part of our counter terrorism activities,” Lt. Col. Dustin M. Hart said in an emailed comment.

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USCIS Continuing Form I-751 Data Entry

USCIS has completed receipting and data entry for all filings of Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, received between May 1 and Sept. 9, 2018. Petitioners should receive receipt notices by Oct. 22, 2018.

On June 13, 2018, USCIS announced that the California Service Center (CSC) was experiencing a delay in initial data entry for Form I-751. After changing the filing location for Form I-751 from the USCIS Service Centers to the USCIS Lockbox facilities in September, USCIS completed receipting and data entry of these petitions on Oct. 1.

If you submitted a Form I-751 to the CSC between May 1 and Sept. 9, 2018, and you have not received a receipt notice, do not file a duplicate Form I-751 unless you have received a rejection notice or have been instructed to do so by the CSC.

If your two-year green card has expired and you have not received a receipt notice, you may schedule an appointment online for you and any eligible dependents to be seen at your local field office. If possible, bring evidence that you sent your Form I-751 via the U.S. Postal Service or a delivery service, such as FedEx. If you have any questions about the process, visit the USCIS Contact Center page.