The ever-increasing use of drones in the pursuit of the ‘war on terror’ has given rise to concerns over the emergence of a global battlefield whereby the entire planet is subject to the application of the laws of armed conflict. These concerns stem from drone strikes frequently occurring outside the ‘active battlefields’ of Afghanistan and into the border regions of Pakistan and expanding further afield into Yemen and Somalia. In response to emerging practice, a significant body of academic literature has emerged on the legal classification of transnational armed violence. Less attention however, has been given to the geographical scope of the concept of armed conflict itself. This article provides a detailed analysis of the geographical scope of non-international armed conflict under international humanitarian law, and in the context of drone strikes. In particular, it focuses upon the legal implications of the geographical disjunction between the location of drone strikes and primary battlefields from the point-of-view of the application of international humanitarian law.
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