Targeted killings (drone strikes) and the European Convention on Human Rights
Adam Bodnar, Irmina Pacho
Host item entries:
Polish yearbook of international law, 32, 2012, p. 189-208
More and more Member States of the Council of Europe are becoming interested in drone technology. Currently, a number of them either possess or wish to obtain unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with missiles. Due to the increased number of targeted killing operations committed with the use of drones by countries such as the United States or Israel there is a probability that Member States might also use them for such operations, especially if their forces will be subject to joint command. Although the issue of targeted killings with the use of drones has not yet been subject to the scrutiny of the European Court of Human Rights, there are two main reasons why this may change in the near future. First, the Court has already ruled on the extraterritorial applicability of the European Convention on Human Rights, and second, the Convention places strict limits on any attempts to carry out targeted killings and leaves only a limited space for their use, even in the context of warfare. In this article we assess whether the Member States of the Council of Europe might be ever justified under the European Convention on Human Rights to carry out targeted killing operations using drones.