Regulating drones : are targeted killings by drones outside traditional battlefields legal ?
William C. Banks
Drone wars : transforming conflict, law, and policy
New York : Cambridge University Press, 2015
This article examines the elements of a lawful targeted killing policy that operates outside of a declared war, such as the military campaign led by the United States against non-state actors. Targeted killing operations employing drones operated by the CIA and US military have become an integral part of the government’s counterterrorism strategy. The author analyses the legal basis for targeted killing operations through the case of Anwar al-Awlaki, a US citizen involved in Al-Qaeda who was killed in Yemen. First, he examines domestic law and determines in which conditions, under this framework, an individual can be lawfully targeted. The author then analyses targeted killings under international law. He determines when an individual may be targeted under international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law. Also, the article examines the status of individuals operating drones in international law and in IHL in particular. Finally, the author criticizes the lack of transparency in the US drone program and the absence of substantive criteria for drone use outside of hot battlefields. [Summary by students at the International Criminal and Humanitarian Law Clinic, Laval University]