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Targeted Killings – A Challenge For International Law?

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Chapter Summary

The method of targeted killings has its origin in Israel, where this policy is, until today, widely pursued. A new wave of targeted killings began as an outgrowth of the Second Palestinian Intifada. The United States of America has also continually availed itself of the method of 'targeted killings'. The 'targeted killing' policy is often regarded as having the goal of protecting civilians and soldiers of a victim State and, on the other hand, to prevent harm or, at least, minimize collateral damage to the civilian population of the State from whose territory the terrorists operate. A State which is the victim of terrorism may not defend itself against this scourge by resorting to measures that international law prohibits. The international regime of law enforcement tolerates targeted killings only when obeying the strict prerequisites enshrined in human rights law, in armed conflicts other parameters might be applicable.

Keywords: armed conflict; international legal standards; targeted killings



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