Measure twice, shoot once : higher care for CIA-targeted killing
Afsheen John Radsan, Richard Murphy
Host item entries:
University of Illinois law review, Vol. 2011, no. 4, p. 1201-1241
To rein in the killer drones, this Article looks to foundational IHL principles to develop limits on the CIA’s campaign in Pakistan and on the possible extension of that campaign to other countries outside the United States. In particular, this Article argues that IHL’s requirements of distinction and military necessity generally require the CIA to achieve a very high level of certainty that a targeted person is a legitimate object of attack before carrying out a drone strike. To capture this level of certainty, one might borrow the “beyond reasonable doubt” standard from the criminal law, the “clear and convincing” standard from civil law, or create some new phrase. Also, to honor the principle of precaution, the CIA’s Inspector General must review every CIA drone strike, including the agency’s compliance with a checklist of standards and procedures for the drone program. The results of these reviews should be made as public as consonant with national security. These controls are, in the language of IHL, “feasible precautions” for the remote-control weapons of the new century.