Targeted killings and the punishment of enemy leaders
International responsibility : essays in law, history and philosophy
Genève [etc.] : Schulthess, 2017
Looking at the issue with a historical perspective, this chapter argues that there is currently an impasse in the domain of targeted killings, which stems from two concurring trends: on one side, the persistence of legal systems in considering the activity performed by the targeted individuals as the chief factor in determining the legality of the attack; on the other, the progressive shift in both the strategic aspects connected with targeting and in the general legal vocabulary toward the concept of individual responsibility. By looking at selecting instances where people holding leadership positions were killed during the era following World War II, the chapter aims to demonstrate how the general re-orientation of international law toward the punishment of the individual has permeated, almost to the point of subverting, the traditional criteria for targeting.