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Abstract

Amid contentions of legality and conduct of drone attacks, this paper explores the legitimacy of drone strikes in Pakistan and whether or not they constitute the “use of force” and an “act of war” under international law. This paper will define jus ad bellum—that is, whether it is justified to use force against non-state actors while also taking into consideration the consent of host states under the laws and regulations of the “use of force” and “self-defense” in the United Nations Charter and customary international law—in the context of armed conflict to discuss the legality of drone strikes. Likewise, this paper will assert that drone attacks must follow the principles of proportionality, distinction, and necessity under humanitarian law and maintain that the use of drone attacks kills a disproportionate number of civilians, fails to distinguish civilian targets from combatants, and fails to establish an actual military necessity serving as a last resort to settle armed conflict—nor does it serve as a preemptive measure—to satisfy the jus in bello of drone attacks.

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