Edited by Ben Saul
Chapter 16: Terrorism and targeted killings under international law
Targeted killing has been defined as ‘the intentional, premeditated and deliberate use of lethal force, by States or their agents acting under colour of law, or by an organized armed group in armed conflict, against a specific individual who is not in the physical custody of the perpetrator’. Targeted killing has become part of the conventional military and security strategy of a number of states in their operations against terrorist suspects, however, it remains a controversial practice, with opinions divided as to whether such killings should be considered as part of an ongoing ‘war’ against terrorist organizations, and judged according to the law on the use of force (jus ad bellum) and the law of armed conflict (jus in bello or international humanitarian law (IHL)), or whether the struggle against terrorist groups should be considered within a law enforcement framework, instead engaging international human rights law (IHRL).
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