Assessing U.S. Targeted Killings Under An International Human Rights Law Framework
AbstractThe US practice of targeted killings provokes difficult questions concerning the appropriate legal framework and the standards that govern such strikes. This article will argue that, in certain cases, it is necessary to examine the legality of targeted killings under international human rights law (IHRL). An explicit IHRL justification for targeted killings is important and, at present, often ignored by the US. IHRL requires any use of lethal force to be proportionate to the legitimate aim of safeguarding life and a necessary measure with no other reasonable means available to address the threat. It is possible, following a survey of human rights decision-makers, that targeted killings in exceptional circumstances are justifiable under IHRL. It is also incumbent on the US to pass domestic legislation that provides a legal basis for strikes disconnected to September 11, and also the provision of administrative and judicial review in order to provide a post-hoc check on targeted killing decisions.
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