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International Law and the Practice of Targeted Killing with Drones

24th May 2012

The British Institute of International and Comparative Law is pleased to announce an evening lecture by:

Professor Mary Ellen O'Connell, Research Professor of International Dispute Resolution-Kroc Institute for Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame.

Chair: Professor Robert McCorquodale, Director, British Institute of International and Comparative Law

Commentator: Professor Charles Garraway CBE, Chatham House and University of Essex


In 2002, President Bush authorized the CIA to launch a missile strike from a drone on a passenger vehicle in Yemen. The CIA operators were hundreds of miles away in Djibouti; they killed six individuals in a place where no armed conflict hostilities were occurring. Since then, the U.S. has carried out similar attacks in Pakistan and Somalia. Under President Obama attacks in all three countries have escalated. Administration lawyers have attempted to justify these attacks under a variety of international law-related arguments.

This talk will analyse those arguments, pointing out their deficiencies, and seeking to understand how the ease of attacking with drones has likely led to the practice of targeted killing, a practice that the United States had condemned until 2001.


CPD points

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