Persons controlling and operating drone aircrafts and computer network attacks : combatants or civilians ?
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AALCO journal of international law, Vol. 3, issue 2, 2014, p. 37-57
Muhammad Ali Siddiqui
Due to the recent developments and advancements in technology, the conventional format of war has been converted to a technological warfare. Enemy can be destroyed with the use of a cluster of computers controlled in a room, which could be located far away from the battlefield. This strategy is not only cost effective but also saves the life of a soldier which could be endangered if he was actually deployed on the battlefield. However, such phenomenal change in the war format has given birth to a few complicated questions. In a conventional warfare, it is relatively easy to distinguish between a combatant and a civilian. However, in modern warfare aided by technology, it would be difficult to determine whether the person operating remotely through a computer is a combatant or a civilian as defined under international humanitarian law. This paper attempts to determine, in accordance with international humanitarian law, when such persons lose their civilian status and become a legitimate target for their enemy.