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Fighting at the Legal BoundariesControlling the Use of Force in Contemporary Conflict$
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Kenneth Watkin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190457976

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190457976.001.0001

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Self-Defense and the Protection of Nationals

Self-Defense and the Protection of Nationals

(p.383) 10 Self-Defense and the Protection of Nationals
Fighting at the Legal Boundaries

Kenneth Watkin

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores State action to defend nations that transcends the full conflict spectrum from international armed conflict to law enforcement. Two iconic counterterrorism missions—the 1976 Israeli rescue of hostages at Entebbe and the 2000 British operation to free soldiers in Sierra Leone—are looked at as case studies. Hostage rescue is also addressed in the context of law enforcement using examples from Columbia, Nigeria, and Somalia. The chapter also examines how many of the capabilities that make Special Forces units so effective for international hostage rescue are also applicable in missions to capture insurgents. This indicates there is a convergence of tactics and facilitates a shift toward a law enforcement approach. Ultimately, it is suggested it is the effectiveness of the law enforcement option, rather than the categorization of the violence as an armed conflict, that should become the limiting factor in its employment in a counterterrorism role.

Keywords:   international peace and security, hostage taking, human rights, use of force, terrorism, State self-defense, humanitarian law

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