Targeted Killing in International Law

Paperback | October 15, 2009

byNils Melzer

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This book conducts an in-depth analysis into the lawfulness of State-sponsored targeted killings under international human rights and humanitarian law. It also addresses the relevance of the law of inter-state force to targeted killings, and the interrelation of the various normativeframeworks which may simultaneously apply to operations involving the intentional 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 the use of lethal force in lawenforcement and in 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 is illustrated by reference to concreteexamples of targeted killing from recent State practice. In essence 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 to nuanced results. 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 wider context of the rule of law.

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This book conducts an in-depth analysis into the lawfulness of State-sponsored targeted killings under international human rights and humanitarian law. It also addresses the relevance of the law of inter-state force to targeted killings, and the interrelation of the various normativeframeworks which may simultaneously apply to operatio...

Dr. Nils Melzer is a Legal Adviser for the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:528 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.07 inPublished:October 15, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199577900

ISBN - 13:9780199577903

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Table of Contents

Part A. State Practice and Legal Doctrine1. The Notion of 'Targeted Killing'2. Current Trend towards Legitimization3. Targeted Killing in Contemporary Legal Doctrine4. The AnalysisPart B. Law Enforcement5. The Paradigm of Law Enforcement6. Law Enforcement and the Conventional Human Right to Life7. Law Enforcement and the Protection of Life under International Humanitarian Law8. Law Enforcement and the Non-Conventional Human Right to Life9. Permissibility of Targeted Killing as a Method of Law EnforcementPart C. Hostilities10. The Paradigm of Hostilities11. The Principle of Distinction under International Humanitarian Law12. Means and Methods in the Conduct of Hostilities13. Human Rights Law and the Paradigm of Hostilities14. Permissibility of Targeted Killing as a Method of Conducting HostilitiesPart D. Conclusions15. Comparative Conclusions16. Epilogue: Targeted Killing and the Rule of LawAppendix: Selected Case Descriptions

Editorial Reviews

"This book is a well written, clearly structured, thoughtful and measured account of issues such as the current state of practice, judicial consideration and relevant international law. [...] Melzer's detailed examination is a large step forward in the development of a better understanding ofthe issues and particular pressure points that daily engage advisors, courts, international lawyers and politicians when trying to determine when the state is in the position to take lives." --Helen Durham, Australian Year Book of International Law, volume 27