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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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Counterterrorism and the “Away Game”

Counterterrorism and the “Away Game”

(p.267) 8 Counterterrorism and the “Away Game”
Fighting at the Legal Boundaries

Kenneth Watkin

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at two methods of conducting counterterrorism operations: Special Forces raids and drones. Special Forces units provide a unique capability for capturing a terrorist suspect, conducting hostage rescue missions, and countering violent transnational and other criminal organizations. Drones can significantly extend the reach of the security forces of a State in order to kinetically remove non-State actor threats in the safe havens where actors hide. This analysis considers the extent to which drones actually represent a unique form of warfare. The chapter analyzes three main theories as to how the law governs the application of force through the use of drones: the restrictive “law enforcement” approach, the permissive “conduct of hostilities” approach, and a more narrowly constructed “self-defense” paradigm.

Keywords:   armed conflict, conduct of hostilities, international law, targeted killing, human rights, use of force, terrorism, State self-defense, humanitarian law

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