Permissibility of Targeted Killing as a Method of Law Enforcement
This chapter examines the extent to which the method of targeted killing can be regarded as permissible under each of the conditions and modalities of the international normative paradigm of law enforcement. It shows that any State-sponsored targeted killing not directed against a legitimate military target in an armed conflict must be governed by the normative paradigm of law enforcement. Therefore, in order to be lawful a particular targeted killing must, cumulatively: (i) have a sufficient legal basis in domestic law; (ii) not be of punitive but of exclusively preventive nature; (iii) aim exclusively at protecting human life from unlawful attack; (iv) be absolutely necessary in qualitative, quantitative and temporal terms for the achievement of this purpose; and (v) be the undesired ultima ratio, and not the actual aim, of an operation which is planned, prepared and conducted so as to minimize, to the greatest extent possible, the recourse to lethal force.
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