The increasing use by States of extraterritorial targeted killing as a counter-terrorism tool in recent years has given rise to controversial questions concerning its legality under international law. This article first explores the international legal regimes purporting to govern State-sponsored targeted killing and evaluates their ability to effectively regulate it. It then focuses on the use of targeted killing by States against members of non-State terror groups in an international armed conflict. In this regard, the article revisits the 2006 landmark decision of the Israeli Supreme Court in the Targeted Killing case and evaluates its influence and legacy over the past decade. It argues that this decision remains relevant and instructive since it exposes some of the lingering weaknesses of international law in governing the use of targeted killing as a counter-terrorism tool, while at the same time demonstrating how such weaknesses may be overcome within the existing international legal framework. The impact of the decision in this regard is clearly evident in the evolution of Israel’s targeted killing practice over the past decade.
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