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Lessons for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in the War on Terror: Comparing Hamdan and the Israeli Targeted Killings Case

International Review of the Red Cross, Vol. 89, No. 866, p. 373, 2007

Posted: 16 Nov 2007  

Marko Milanovic

University of Nottingham School of Law

Abstract

The article examines and compares two recent judgments which provide some of the most valuable examples of the difficulties surrounding the application of international humanitarian law to the phenomenon of terrorism: the Hamdan judgment of the Supreme Court of the United States, and the Targeted Killings judgment of the Supreme Court of Israel. Both judgments deal with the thresholds of applicability of the law of armed conflict, as well as with the concept of unlawful combatancy and the relationship between human rights law and humanitarian law. Both judgments are at times inconsistent and lacking in analysis, with the Hamdan judgment in particular misinterpreting the relevant international authorities, including the Commentaries on the Geneva Conventions. Despite these flaws, or because of them, both of these judgments remain instructive. The purpose of this article is to present the lessons for the future that these two decisions might bring to ongoing debates on the impact of global terrorism on the law of armed conflict.

Keywords: international law, humanitarian law, armed conflict, law of war, human rights, terrorism, Hamdan, targeted killings

Suggested Citation

Milanovic, Marko, Lessons for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in the War on Terror: Comparing Hamdan and the Israeli Targeted Killings Case. International Review of the Red Cross, Vol. 89, No. 866, p. 373, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1030375

Marko Milanovic (Contact Author)

University of Nottingham School of Law ( email )

Law and Social Sciences Building
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
United Kingdom

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