Lawful Targeted Killing or Assassination: A Roadmap for Operators in the Global War on Terror
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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Following the September 11th attacks, President Bush declared a war on terrorism and gave the go ahead to the CIA to carry out direct attacks against bin Laden and his followers around the world. This declaration by President Bush brought to the forefront the issue of assassination and whether or not the pursuit of it violated U.S. domestic or international law. Todays law of armed conflict has its roots in teachings from early law scholars and various treaties, conventions, and attempts to codify armed conflict. They include the Hague conventions of 1899 and 1907, Geneva conventions, the U.S. Lieber Codes, and the United Nations Charter. Each has tried to put a limitation on how one could kill the enemy during times of conflict. The United States has had its own problems with the issue of assassination. As such, an Executive Order E.O. banning assassination was enacted. President Reagans E.O. is the latest in the series and is still in force today. The use of deadly force is authorized in armed conflict, but only when approved by the U.N. Security Council or when a state is exercising its inherent right of self-defense. Since killing the enemy is legal and all military members, including the military leadership, are valid targets, their deaths cannot be construed as assassination. There are several issues to contend with when deciding on an appropriate course of action. They include whether to conduct unilateral or multilateral operations, the use of conventional or unconventional troops, and whether it would be better to kill or capture the target. Each has its own implications and constraints. 32 refs.
- Sociology and Law
- Unconventional Warfare