Correcting the record : civilians, proportionality, and jus ad vim
Avery Plaw and Carlos R. Colon
Legitimacy and drones : investigating the legality, morality and efficacy of UCAVs
Farnham ; Burlington : Ashgate, 2015
p. 163-189 : tabl.
Some critics have forcefully rejected US officials’ claims that drone strikes away from conventional battlefields meet applicable standards of proportionality on the basis that they do not appear compliant with the requirements of Jus ad Vim (referring to a set of developing rules to regulate the just use of force short of war). The case advanced by these critics involves two key claims: (1) the relevant standards for assessing these strikes are those which they envision for Jus ad Vim; and (2) US drone strikes away from conventional battlefields actually fail to meet the standard they envision for Jus ad Vim. This chapter shows that both claims are doubtful. Moreover, it argues that critics’ resort to this elevated Jus ad Vim standard reflects a grudging recognition that the best available evidence generally supports the claims of US officials that the great majority of drone strikes kill no civilians. Likewise, it is far from clear that the cases in which civilians are killed constitute violations of the more conventional jus ad bellum standard of proportionality. The key issue then is not how proportionality should be assessed for Jus ad Vim, but whether the US has compelling grounds for invoking the more conventional jus ad bellum standards.