Targeted killing as a means of asymmetric warfare: a provocative view and invitation to debate

Sascha Bachmann, U. Haeussler

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Abstract

The killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhou reportedly by agents of Israel‟s Mossad service in Dubai a year ago1 serves as a quick reminder that extrajudicial executions, assassinations and other targeted killing operations are taking place and are part of a modern democracy‟s arsenal of antiterrorism and counter-terrorism means. Targeted Killing Operations reportedly form part of NATO‟s operational practice: depending on the circumstances they represent just another option of the lawful use of force in an armed conflict or assimilated situations. Consequently, it is argued that International Law does not impose an explicit ban on the lethal neutralization of certain persons in an armed conflict scenario. This opinion provides a provocative view on possible justifications using targeted killing as an actual means of present day security operations – which must not be confused with traditional methods of domestic „policing‟ in a democratic state.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages7
JournalLaw, Crime and History
Volume1
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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