The obligation under International Humanitarian Law to record civilian casualties is supported by the treaty and customary provisions in International Human Rights Law. This is particularly pertinent for the victims of drone attacks outside of the geographical area of the armed conflict.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes commitment by all nations to uphold the dignity of all persons and provide recourse to justice for those aggrieved. The first relevant provision is Article 3 which confirms that every person is entitled to the right of life, liberty and security of the person. Articles 10 and 11 confirm the right to a fair trial to determine criminal charges against a person and a presumption of innocence. Furthermore, Article 12 confirms that no one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home or correspondence, or to attacks upon honour and reputation. These articles have been argued to be part of customary international law. The UDHR provided the basis for several human rights Conventions that are directly relevant to the parties involved in drone attacks. These are the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights 1966 (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1966 (ICESCR), the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (1948), the American Convention of Human Rights 1969 (ACHR) and the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 1984 (CAT).
As a result of these treaties it is evident that each and every victim of drone attacks has the right to have their death recorded, investigated and, if appropriate, prosecuted.
DISCUSSION PAPER 2: DRONE ATTACKS, INTERNATIONAL LAW, AND THE RECORDING OF CIVILIAN CASUALTIES OF ARMED CONFLICT, pp. 19-20