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Targeted KillingsLaw and Morality in an Asymmetrical World$
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Claire Finkelstein, Jens David Ohlin, and Andrew Altman

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199646470

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646470.001.0001

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GOING MEDIEVAL: TARGETED KILLING, SELF-DEFENSE AND THE JUS AD BELLUM REGIME

GOING MEDIEVAL: TARGETED KILLING, SELF-DEFENSE AND THE JUS AD BELLUM REGIME

Chapter:
(p.223) 8 GOING MEDIEVAL: TARGETED KILLING, SELF-DEFENSE AND THE JUS AD BELLUM REGIME
Source:
Targeted Killings
Author(s):

Craig Martin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646470.003.0009

This chapter analyzes the U.S. claims that the targeted killing policy is justified under the jus ad bellum doctrine of self-defence. It argues that this very broad and general claim, as a basis for strikes against targets in countries that are not sufficiently responsible for the actions of the terrorists, and in which the United States is not clearly a belligerent in an armed conflict, is not consistent with current international law principles. Arguments that the targeted killing policy is unlawful are not of course new or novel — others have already made this point quite persuasively. But the jus ad bellum issues raised by the policy have not received as much attention in the literature as the international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law aspects. Moreover, in addition to assessing the policy from a jus ad bellum perspective, the chapter considers the impact that the policy may have on the legal regime itself. The manner in which the targeted killing program is being prosecuted, together with its justifications and rationales, may lead to changes to the jus ad bellum regime, and to the nature of the relationship between it and the IHL regime, and the analysis here explores how such changes could have harmful unintended consequences for the entire system of constraints on the use of force and armed conflict.

Keywords:   targeted killing policy, self-defence, armed conflict, international law, international humanitarian law, international human rights law

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