‘The Only Game in Town’ – But is it a Legal One? American Drone Strikes and International Law
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In 2002 a US Predator drone operating above Afghanistan’s Paktia province spotted three men in Zhawar Kili, a complex slightly north of the infamous Tora Bora cave system, an area used by al-Qaeda leadership to train and regroup. One of the men was tall; supposedly the others were acting reverently towards him. Convinced the tall man was Osama bin Laden a Hellfire missile was fired from the Predator, killing all three men instantly. The tall man was not bin Laden. None of the men were even affiliated with al-Qaeda or the Taliban; they were simply civilians in the wrong place at the wrong time. This strike and many others that are all too similar raise a multitude of questions, both legal and moral, regarding the US lethal drone strike programme. This article attempts to examine the legal implications of US drone strikes; not only in Afghanistan, but further afield from the more traditional and accepted battlefields in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
Kirton, J. (2015) '‘The Only Game in Town’ – But is it a Legal One? American Drone Strikes and International Law', Plymouth Law and Criminal Justice Review, 7, pp. 77-112. Available at: https://pearl.plymouth.ac.uk/handle/10026.1/9023
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