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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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The Narrow Operational and Normative Gap

The Narrow Operational and Normative Gap

(p.483) 12 The Narrow Operational and Normative Gap
Fighting at the Legal Boundaries

Kenneth Watkin

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at the frequently narrow operational and normative gap between law enforcement and conduct of hostilities missions. It explores the use of military forces in policing roles, as well as hostage rescue where military forces often adopt tactics more consistent with a law enforcement approach, while security personnel operating under a law enforcement framework frequently apply force more closely associated with the conduct of hostilities. A 1997 Peruvian hostage rescue case study highlights the risks, elevated levels of violence, and controversy arising from such operations. Also, the challenge faced by security forces in respect of the unique threat posed by suicide bombers and the use of improvised explosive devices and other explosives is explored. Particular attention is paid to the reaction by security forces often being the same regardless of whether the threat arises in the context of law enforcement or conduct of hostilities tasks.

Keywords:   conduct of hostilities, international law, armed conflict, human rights, use of force, terrorism, humanitarian law

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