The Right to Life in Human Rights Law and the Law of War
65 Saskatchewan Law Review 411 (2002)
15 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2014
Date Written: June 16, 2014
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
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