The Long-Term International Law Implications of Targeted Killing Practices

Current targeted killings practices and the attempts to legally justify those strikes present a challenge to the systematic protection of the right to life under international law. We are now witnessing a significant effort by some states to insulate their “targeted” uses of deadly force from international scrutiny and to redefine international law in order to serve narrow and short-term interests. This presents a serious risk of leaving everyone less secure, particularly if other states around the world, as they acquire the new technology, claim for themselves the same expanded rights to target their enemies without meaningful transparency or accountability.