The Right to Life in Human Rights Law and the Law of War

65 Saskatchewan Law Review 411 (2002)

U of Houston Law Center No. 2014-A-55

15 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2014

See all articles by Jordan J. Paust

Jordan J. Paust

University of Houston Law Center

Date Written: June 16, 2014

Abstract

This essay provides clarification of the right to life in both human rights law and the law of war, both of which permit certain deaths in particular contexts. The right to life is not absolute. In general, global human rights law prohibits arbitrary killing and the word “arbitrary” requires awareness of context and choice. Various tests under the laws of war also require contextual inquiry and choice. In particular, indiscriminate attacks and intentional, wanton, or reckless conduct resulting in excessive death, injury or suffering are impermissible under the laws of war.

Keywords: acts of war, arbitrary, choice, civilians, combatant immunity, context, customary, distinction, European Convention, excessive, human right, indiscriminate, jus cogens, law of war, life, murder, nonderogable, positive measures, proportionality, Protocol, reckless, relative, right to life, wanton

Suggested Citation

Paust, Jordan J., The Right to Life in Human Rights Law and the Law of War (June 16, 2014). 65 Saskatchewan Law Review 411 (2002), U of Houston Law Center No. 2014-A-55, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2451449

Jordan J. Paust (Contact Author)

University of Houston Law Center ( email )

4604 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204-6060
United States

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