Clarifying the law relating to unmanned drones and the use of force : the relationships between human rights, self-defense, armed conflict, and international humanitarian law / Molly McNab and Megan Matthews
Clarifying the law relating to unmanned drones and the use of force : the relationships between human rights, self-defense, armed conflict, and international humanitarian law
Molly McNab and Megan Matthews
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Denver journal of international law and policy, Vol. 39, issue 4, Fall 2011, p. 661-694
By now it is common knowledge that the United States employs weaponized unmanned drones in its conflict with al Qaeda. However, the law that governs the conflict is murky at best, and there is little consensus among the legal experts on many relevant legal issues. To explain the laws governing the use of force, applied in a modern context, this article first briefly describes in Section II the historical context in which the law surrounding the use of force developed. Then, Section III explains the basic legal paradigms that apply to an analysis concerning the legality of drones as weapons of war, including human rights, self-defense, the law of armed conflict, and international humanitarian law (IHL). A brief examination of terrorism and the background history relating to difficulties in defining terrorism follows in Section IV. Section V examines the different approaches to the jus ad bellum analysis, which is the first step in determining legality of the use of force. Finally, Section VI lays out the jus in bello assessment that governs how a State may use force when carrying out a specific campaign.