Targeted Killing and the Criminal Law
The moral justification for targeted killing turns on it being justified as an act of self-defense. That justification can be assessed by addressing five questions: (1) Is the targeted person a threat who lacks the right to threaten? (2) Has the targeted person forfeited some of her claim not to be killed? (3) Even if the answer to the first two questions is positive, is targeted killing a necessary and proportionate response? (4) Is the evidence in favor of targeted killing high enough to meet the relevant standard of proof (SOP)? (5) And insofar as a person is selected for targeting from a larger group of possible targets, is the selection justifiable? The legal justifiability of targeted killing should aim to track, as much as problems of administrability and limiting unwanted effects allow, the answers to those moral questions.
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