In February, 2010, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair admitted that it is U.S. policy to deliberately target and kill U.S. citizens who are suspected of being involved in terrorism abroad. Such a policy raises serious legal questions at the international and domestic levels. This article exams the international legal issue of assassination and targeted killings, exploring when such killings are extra-legal. Determinations of the international legal categorization of the “war on terror” are made. While the conclusion that the United States is involved in non-international armed conflict with Al Qadea clarifies the international legal parameters of targeted killings, domestic Constitutional issues are also examined.
After addressing due process concerns as well as the Constitutional treatment of issues such as executive war power, the conclusion is that there is no authority to target American citizens under the domestic rubric and such action is extra-legal regardless of the international legal framework.
- targeted killings,
- due process,
- international law
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/sarah_riley/1/