Military operations carried out with armed drones call into question not only the international responsibility of the drone-sending State but also the potential international responsibility for complicity of assisting States. Drone strikes are conducted through a complex set of tasks that would not be possible without the military cooperation of partner States. Three main scenarios of partnered drone operations are described, namely lending foreign military bases, providing logistical and technological support and intelligence sharing for targeting purposes. The article explores the issue of State complicity under the lens of Article 16 of the Articles on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts. The core features of State complicity-the 'significant contribution element', the 'mental element' and the 'opposability element'-are discussed and applied to the three scenarios. The practice of partnered drone operations is extensively analysed, focusing on the assistance provided by Italy, Germany and the Netherlands to the US drone programme. The study concludes that in the cases under consideration, the international responsibility for complicity of assisting States is likely to be entailed, should the action of the assisted State result in an internationally wrongful act.
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