Russell Christopher

in Targeted Killings

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199646470
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738975 | DOI:

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The targeted killing of terrorists fails to satisfy the imminence requirement of self-defence. But this chapter argues that the imminence requirement itself is problematic and should be abandoned. If this argument is successful, the principal obstacle to justifying targeted killings under the self-defence approach might be circumvented. Demonstrating the invalidity of the imminence requirement lays the foundation for consideration of alternative standards. Perhaps the principal alternative standard is whether defensive force is necessary to prevent the aggression; that is, rather than focusing on the imminence of the aggression, the standard focuses on the necessity of the defensive response to the (imminent or non-imminent) aggression. While a number of commentators have criticized the imminence requirement, these criticisms have not been sufficient to alter the traditional and consensus view of the importance of the imminence requirement. The chapter attempts to advance some new arguments against, and rebut some existing arguments in favour of, the imminence requirement. The principal focus is to show why the imminence requirement is problematic, rather than to advance a preferable standard.

Keywords: targeted killings; terrorists; imminence requirement; self-defence

Chapter.  15335 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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