CENTER FOR ETHICS AND THE RULE OF LAW​

Ethical and Legal Dimensions of Targeted Killing

The use of targeted
killing has become a favored tool in the War on Terror. The killing of Osama Bin Laden further solidified support for the practice, given its efficiency and swift success. Since Bin Laden, several high profile targeted killings have further
increased public attention to such operations. With the increased public scrutiny has come a growing sentiment that the moral and legal justifications for targeted killing have not been sufficiently explored. To what extent, for example, do we
have an obligation to attempt to capture before killing terror suspects? Are some individuals on the target list civilians rather than combatants or “unlawful combatants”? Are there special problems associated with targeting American citizens,
such as al-Awlaki? If killing al-Awlaki was legitimate, would the same sort of operation be permissible on U.S. soil? This panel will seek to explore the ethical and legal issues surrounding recent uses of targeted killing.

Moderator: Claire Finkelstein Algernon Biddle Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania School of Law
Jens Ohlin Associate Professor of Law, Cornell University
Kevin Govern Associate Professor of Law, Ave Maria School of Law
Daphne Eviatar Senior Associate, Law and Security Program, Human Rights First
Ambassador Thomas Graham Special Representative of the President for Arms Control, Non-Proliferation, and Disarmament, 1994-1997

Listen to the panel:

(Moderated by Claire Finkelstein)

Read more about the panel


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Ethical and Legal Dimensions of Targeted Killing