Combatants and the Combat Zone
Mary Ellen O'Connell
Notre Dame Law School
January 23, 2009
University of Richmond Law Review, Forthcoming
Notre Dame Legal Studies Paper No. 08-39
Following the attacks of 9/11, President George W. Bush declared that the United States was in a "global war on terrorism". His administration claimed the wartime privileges to kill without warning and detain without trial anyone suspected of association with terrorist organizations anywhere in the world. These claims were made in the face of contrary international law. Under international law, a war or armed conflict is characterized by organized armed groups engaged in intense, armed hostilities. To meet these criteria, such groups are associated with territory. In addition to the concept of armed conflict, the concept of conflict zone is important. Killing combatants or detaining them without trial may be permissible when done in a zone of actual armed hostilities. Outside such a zone, however, authorities must attempt to arrest a suspect and only target to kill those who pose an immediate lethal threat and refuse to surrender.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 20
Keywords: combatant, combat zone, conflict zone, hostilities, war, armed conflict, non-international armed conflict, terrorism, global war on terrorismworking papers series
Date posted: January 24, 2009
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