IRRC No. 893

Extraterritorial targeting by means of armed drones: Some legal implications

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The use of "drones" has grown exponentially over the past decade, giving rise to a host of legal and other issues. Internationally, it is the utilization of armed drones by States for the extraterritorial targeting of persons that has generated significant debate. This article attempts to outline some aspects of the relevant legal framework, with a focus on the international law applicable to drone strikes in situations of armed conflict. It briefly addresses the jus ad bellum and then centres on the jus in bello, addressing, in turn, questions related to when there is an armed conflict, what the rules on targeting are, who may be targeted and where persons may be targeted. 

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More about Conduct of hostilities, Methods and means of warfare, Current debates on IHL, Direct participation in hostilities, Bodies of law related to IHL, Use of weapons, New technologies and IHL, International Review of the Red Cross

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