Nongovernmental organisations dissatisfied with the way in which governments communicate details of their military operations or hold their personnel to account have driven shifts in expectations about transparency and accountability. In order for EU states to maintain the legitimacy of their military actions, states need to cooperate on clarifying issues of responsibility, complicity and accountability. A common EU standard on the use of armed drones is an important goal both for civil society groups and the EU Parliament, but even if there is no agreement on a single EU standard, the debate during the process of trying to find a common position, and a possible convergence of opinions, would hold inherent value. A good starting point for these discussions would be the ways in which states interpret responsibility, complicity, and their processes and practices.
The paper provides several recommendations, such as using media attention and engaging domestic audiences to explain the underpinnings of military operations, identifying accountability gaps related to drone use, identifying common standards to prevent assisting in unlawful targeted killings, and being transparent about investigations procedures.