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Preventive ForceDrones, Targeted Killing, and the Transformation of Contemporary Warfare$
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Kerstin Fisk

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479857531

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479857531.001.0001

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Drones and the Law

Drones and the Law

Why We Do Not Need a New Legal Framework for Targeted Killing

(p.170) 7 Drones and the Law
Preventive Force

Daphne Eviatar

NYU Press

Is the United States’ secret use of drones to conduct so-called “targeted killings” outside the active war zone of Afghanistan legal? Although the war may not have easily definable geographic boundaries, a war between a state and an armed group such as this one must have limits, for political, ethical and legal reasons. International law provides those limits, and the United States, to be seen as respecting international law – which is importantly politically and strategically -- must publicly acknowledge them. This chapter will focus on the requirements of human rights law, which the US still does not recognize as binding on it outside the US. In particular, it will argue there is a need for the US to provide information about civilian casualties after a strike in order to demonstrate its compliance with IHL and/or IHRL, depending on the operation. Without such after-the-fact reporting, it is impossible for U.S. citizens, allies or potential enemies to have faith that the United States is acting within the confines of international law. To operate without that public trust not only undermines core principles of American democracy, but undermines U.S. counterterrorism efforts as well.

Keywords:   Law, Counterterrorism, Drones, War, Terrorism, Human rights

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