The Law on Lethal Force Begins with the Right to Life

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3 J. on Use of Force & Int'l L. 205 (2016)


In August 2015, the UK government intentionally killed a criminal suspect and the bystanders with him using a drone-launched Hellfire missile in Syria. In doing so, the UK violated the right to life of all three men because the UK had no lawful basis for deploying military force in Syria. Even if it did, international humanitarian law, governing the conduct of armed conflict, prohibits assassination – the intentional killing of an individual for reasons other than advancing a legitimate military objective. In any actual cases of ambiguity, the legal presumption in international law is with peace and protection of the right to life.