UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] on Thursday insisted on "a full disclosure of the accurate facts" surrounding the killing of al Qaeda [JURIST news archive] leader Osama Bin Laden [WP obituary; JURIST news archive]. The White House has altered the official account [press briefing] of the killing since US President Barack Obama [official profile] first announced [statement] that a small team of US military personnel attacked a compound in which Bin Laden had been hiding, killing Bin Laden [JURIST report] and taking possession of his body. The White House's changing factual account of the raid has raised questions about whether the US special operations forces intended to capture Bin Laden alive. Recognizing that the US had intended to arrest Bin Laden, Pillay acknowledged [AFP report] that doing so would have been unlikely under most circumstances. Pillay also indicated that, while the UN condemns terrorism, counter-terrorism activity must be carried out in compliance with international law.
As founder and leader of al Qaeda, Bin Laden represents the highest profile terror target captured or killed by the US. US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] said Wednesday that the killing of Bin Laden by US forces on Sunday was lawful and justified [JURIST report]. Testifying before the US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website], Holder said that the shooting of Bin Laden was "consistent with our values," and that the soldiers who killed him "conducted themselves totally appropriately." In April, Holder announced that the priorities of the Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] will include protecting Americans from terrorism [JURIST report] at home and abroad, fighting violent crime, combating financial fraud and protecting the most vulnerable members of society.