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Legal, Political and Ethical Dimensions of Drone Warfare under International Law: A Preliminary Survey

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This article delves into the advent of drone warfare and the international (criminal) law, political and ethical dimensions thereof. Fundamental questions to be addressed in this article are: who is accountable if decisions leading to lethal force are left up to computers? And under what legal regime may lethal forces by drones been administered? The U.S. policy, advocating that drone attacks are permissible under international and U.S. law, is outlined; as are the pitfalls of this policy. The implications of CIA operatives carrying out drone attacks are assessed. Finally, political and ethical dimensions of drone attacks will conclude this article.


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Affiliations: 1: Professor of International Criminal Law at Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands, International defence lawyer, Knoops’ Advocaten, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


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