The legal obligations of participants in drone attacks involve the recording of the casualties and the missing, as well as the burial and property of the dead.
Participants involved in drone attacks share legal obligations:
- to search for all missing civilians as a result of hostilities, occupation or detention;
- to collect all of the casualties of armed conflict from the area of hostilities as soon as circumstances permit;
- if at all possible the remains of those killed is to be returned to their relatives;
- the remains of the dead are not to be despoiled;
- any property found with the bodies of the dead is to be returned to the relatives of the deceased;
- the dead are to be buried with dignity and in accordance with their religious or cultural beliefs;
- the dead are to be buried individually and not in mass graves;
- the graves are to be maintained and protected;
- exhumation of dead bodies is only to be permitted in circumstances of public necessity which will include identifying cause of death;
- the location of the place of burial is to be recorded by the party to the conflict in control of that territory;
- there should be established in the case of civilian casualties an official graves registration service.
DISCUSSION PAPER 2: DRONE ATTACKS, INTERNATIONAL LAW, AND THE RECORDING OF CIVILIAN CASUALTIES OF ARMED CONFLICT, p. 2