n Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - The legality of targeted-killing operations in Pakistan

Volume 47, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



Since 2001 legal scholars have been struggling with the legality and legitimacy of the United States of America's "war on terror" and its accompanying policy of targeted killings. The consequent application of the policy of targeted killing in Pakistan is especially controversial due to questions regarding the authority of the United States of America to conduct these operations in Pakistani territory. This article considers various aspects of the American policy of targeted killings in Pakistan. These include the background of the policy, the various international legal frameworks applicable to the practice, and aspects of accountability and legality of the practice of targeted killings. Furthermore, the overall legality of the practice in Pakistan is considered, as well as accountability issues, should this practice be found to be illegal in terms of international law. In conclusion, this article finds that, although this practice in Pakistan could be illegal in certain instances, the problem can only be solved through increased political pressure on violating states and enforcement of the existing legal framework.

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