The International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute has adopted a resolution on strikes by armed drones.
The resolution, adopted by the IBAHRI's Council, states that the use of drones must adhere to the current law governing the use of force, and whether or not a drone strike occurs in the context of an armed conflict is crucial to assessing its lawfulness.
"As the tactics employed on warfare evolve, so must our legal interpretation of the laws which govern them," IBAHRI Co-Chair Hans Corell says.
"The growing availability of drones to both state and non-state actors with their remote-piloting functionality, is resulting in a number of extraterritorial and covert attacks, the perpetrators of which are not being held to account. It is essential that the international legal community pay urgent attention to this issue, lest it be perceived as essentially sanctioning murder."
The IBAHRI says it is concerned at the lack of clarity and transparency as to the applicable legal framework governing drone strikes, and an undermining of effective legal oversight and accountability.
The IBA has a membership of over 80,000 individual lawyers and over 190 law and bar associations in over 160 countries. The New Zealand Law Society is a member.