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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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Limits of Law Enforcement and Human Rights Law

Limits of Law Enforcement and Human Rights Law

(p.535) 13 Limits of Law Enforcement and Human Rights Law
Fighting at the Legal Boundaries

Kenneth Watkin

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at the effectiveness of human rights law in controlling the use of force during armed conflict from three perspectives: practical limitations, overreach in application, and limits caused by interpretation. The Northern Ireland “Troubles” are analyzed to determine whether the United Kingdom’s law enforcement response can underpin the argument that terrorism is primarily amenable to a law enforcement response or should serve as a template for extraterritorial operations. The analysis also explores the “shoot to kill” controversy to assess when a law enforcement approach may no longer be effective. Further, the impact of militarized police forces is discussed. The problem of overreach is considered in the context of the European Court of Human Rights application of human rights law principles to armed conflict, and interpretive limits are assessed in the context of the different post-9/11 State responses to the threat posed by hijacked aircraft.

Keywords:   civil and political rights, international law, armed conflict, human rights, terrorism, self-defense, insurgents and insurrection, humanitarian law

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