Targeted Killing in International Law

Uitgever: Oxford University Press

Auteur: Nils Melzer
  • Engels
  • 9780199533169
  • mei 2008
  • Hardcover
  • 528 pagina's
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A comprehensive analysis into the lawfulness of state-sponsored targeted killings under international human rights and humanitarian law, this book examines treaties, custom and general principles of law to determine the normative paradigms which govern the intentional use of lethal force against selected individuals in law enforcement and the conduct of hostilities. It alse addresses the relevance of the law of interstate force to targeted killings, and the interrelation of the various normative frameworks which may simultaneously apply to operations involving the 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 targeted killings in situations of law enforcement and 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 are illustrated by reference to concrete examples of targeted killing from recent state practice. 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 further considerations. 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 reflecting the fundamental principles underlying international humanitarian law. 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 greater context of the rule of law. *The author has conceived and written this book in an entirely personal capacity and independently from his function as a Legal Adviser in the Legal Division of the ICRC. The opinions expressed therein are his own and do not necessarily correspond to those held by the ICRC or its Legal Division.


Targeted Killing in International Law is a piece of solid scholarship which can only be recommended to scholars, practitioners, and students is a very methodically researched treatise which will become a useful work of reference on the topic. It is definitely a step towards finally settling the legal problems surrounding the question of targeted killing and will hopefully help to bring an end to the 'shadowy realm of half-legality and non-accountability.' * Tamas Hoffmann, Corvinus University, Budapest, Leiden Journal of International Law, vol 22, * Mr Melzer's monograph is a very articulated and expert account of the legal framework governing targeted killings in both peacetime and during an armed conflict. It is recommended for those who want to expand their knowledge of the topic. * Vincent Roobaert, Assistant Legal Adviser, NC3A * Melzer's book makes a significant contribution to our understanding of hot targeted killing is regulated by international law. His sensible definition of the problem, his principled division of the analysis into law enforcement and hostilities paradigms, his provocative analysis of military necessity, and his coverage of often overlooked aspects, such as booby-traps, will no doubt influence future work on this issue. * William Abresch, European Journal of International Law, 2009 * The book is a well written, clearly structured, thoughtful and measured account of issues such as current state practice, judicial consideration and relevant international law...In essence Targeted Killing in International Lawis a book about balance and the desire for careful consideration before the application of policies involving the destruction of lives. Melzer deals with each of the legal issues involved in targeted killing with clarity and precision...Melzer's detailed examination is a large step forward in the development of a better understanding of the issues and particular pressure points that daily engage advisers, courts, international lawyers and politicians when trying to determine when the state is in the position to take lives. * The Australian Yearbook of International Law, Volume 27 *



mei 2008
Aantal pagina's
528 pagina's


Nils Melzer
Oxford University Press



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