Targeted Killing in International Law

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2008-08-10
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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A comprehensive analysis into the lawfulness of state-sponsored targeted killings under international human rights and humanitarian law, this book examines treaties, custom and general principles of law to determine the normative paradigms which govern the intentional use of lethal forceagainst selected individuals in law enforcement and the conduct of hostilities. . It addresses the relevance of the law of interstate force to targeted killings, and the interrelation of the various normative frameworks which may simultaneously apply to operationsinvolving the use of lethal force. Through a comprehensive analysis of treaties, custom and general principles of law in light of jurisprudence, doctrine and travaux preparatoires the author demonstrates that contemporary international law provides two distinct normative paradigms which govern targeted killings in situations of lawenforcement and the conduct of hostilities. Based on the resulting normative paradigms, the author shows in what circumstances targeted killings may be considered as internationally lawful. The practical relevance of the various conditions and modalities are illustrated by reference to concreteexamples of targeted killing from recent state practice. The book argues that any targeted killing not directed against a legitimate military target remains subject to the law enforcement paradigm, which imposes extensive restraints on the practice. Even under the paradigm of hostilities, no person can be lawfully liquidated without furtherconsiderations. As a form of individualized or surgical warfare, the method of targeted killing requires a "microscopic" interpretation of the law regulating the conduct of hostilities which leads nuanced results reflecting the fundamental principles underlying international humanitarian law. The author concludes by highlighting and comparing the main areas of concern arising with regard to state-sponsored targeted killing under each normative paradigm and by placing the results of the analysis in the greater context of the rule of law. *The author has conceived and written this book inan entirely personal capacity and independently from his function as a Legal Adviser in the Legal Division of the ICRC. The opinions expressed therein are his own and do not necessarily correspond to those held by the ICRC or its Legal Division.

Author Biography

Nils Melzer is a Legal Adviser for the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Table of Contents

General Considerations
The Notion of Targeted Killing
Current Trend towards Legitimization
Targeted Killing in Contemporary Legal Doctrine
Outline of the Analysis
Law Enforcement
The Paradigm of Law Enforcement
Law Enforcement and the Conventional Human Right to Life
Law Enforcement and the Protection of Life under International Humanitarian Law
Law Enforcement and the Non-Conventional Human Right to Life
Permissibility of Targeted Killing as a Method of Law Enforcement
The Paradigm of Hostilities
The Threshold of 'Armed Conflict'
The Principle of Distinction under International Humanitarian Law
Means and Methods in the Conduct of Hostilities
Human Rights Law and the Paradigm of Hostilities
Permissibility of Targeted Killing as a Method of the Conduct of Hostilities
Comparative Conclusions
Epilogue: Targeted Killing and the Rule of Law
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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