While the United States prohibits assassination as a matter of national policy, not every killing violates this ban. And even if the killing did not have an international legal basis, it may not necessarily constitute an assassination under the U.S. government’s definition of the term.
Shane R. Reeves is a Colonel in the United States Army. He is an Associate Professor and the Deputy Head of the Department of Law at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York ([email protected]). The views expressed here are his personal views and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Defense, the United States Army, the United States Military Academy, or any other department or agency of the United States Government. The analysis presented here stems from his academic research of publicly available sources, not from protected operational information.
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The post below is the latest installment in Lawfare’s tradition of posting short pieces inspired by the annual Transatlantic Dialogues on International Law and Armed Conflict.
The recent bilateral talks between North and South Korea in the town of Pyeongchang seem to have de-escalated tensions on the peninsula. The North has agreed to participate in the upcoming Winter Olympics, and the two nations have resumed military-to-military communication. In fact, the two countries’ athletes will walk together—under one flag representing a unified Korea—in the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.
On September 6, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Syria issued its latest report in anticipation of the current Human Rights Council session. The COI criticizes the Syrian regime and the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) for their failure to document violations of international law. Additionally, the report offers significant evidence indicating that the Assad regime deliberately used chemical weapons against civilians.
Last December, Congress passed the Military Justice Act of 2016, which then-President Barack Obama subsequently signed.
According to recent reports, the United States and Russia are quietly discussing establishing a so-called “safe zone” in southern Syria.
In her recent blog discussing the relevance of the Kosovo precedent in the context of the United States missile strike in Syria, Professor Ashley Deeks noted that “such an intervention, even if narrowly tailored, is very difficult to defend as consistent with international law.