Chapter

THE IMPORTANCE OF CRITERIA-BASED REASONING IN TARGETED KILLING DECISIONS

Amos N. Guiora

in Targeted Killings

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199646470
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738975 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646470.003.0012
THE IMPORTANCE OF CRITERIA-BASED REASONING IN TARGETED KILLING DECISIONS

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This chapter presents an account of how targeted killing does, and should, work on the ground. The discussion is based on the author's twin perspectives of having served as a legal advisor in the Israeli Defence Forces and now as a professor of law with numerous opportunities to reflect on decisions in which he was involved. His concentration on ‘process’ stems from the belief that a criteria-based model of decision-making is essential to minimizing collateral damage and enhancing the effectiveness of existing policies. Simply put, beyond the legal, moral, and theoretical underpinnings, lawful targeted killing must be based on criteria-based decision-making, which increases the probability of correctly identifying and attacking the legitimate target. A state's decision to kill a human being during a counterterrorism operation must be predicated on an objective determination that the ‘target’ is, indeed, a legitimate target. Otherwise, the state's action is illegal, immoral, and ultimately ineffective. Subjective decisions based on fear or perception alone pose grave danger to both the suspected terrorist and innocent civilians.

Keywords: targeted killing; decision-making; collateral damage; counterterrorism

Chapter.  10728 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public International Law

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