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The Application of the European Convention on Human Rights to the United Kingdom's Targeted Killing Policy

Halewood, L (2024) The Application of the European Convention on Human Rights to the United Kingdom's Targeted Killing Policy. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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In August 2015, the United Kingdom (UK) utilised an armed drone to carry out the targeted killing of Reyaad Khan, an ISIS member, as he was travelling in a car near Raqqa, Syria. Subsequently, the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) launched an inquiry to establish whether the killing of Reyaad Khan was a ‘one-off’ or represented the first instance of a UK Targeted Killing Policy to neutralise extraterritorial terrorist threats. The JCHR inquiry concluded that the UK has adopted a targeted killing policy within its counterterrorism framework. From a European perspective, the UK’s embrace of targeted killing was ground-breaking and provides a fresh setting for examining the application of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR or Convention). This research is focused on examining the application of the ECHR to the UK Policy, which requires consideration of two broad issues that are separate but interrelated: the applicability and the application of the ECHR to the UK Policy. After assessing the preliminary issue of the extraterritorial applicability of the Convention to drone operated targeted killings, the research turns to considering the application of the right to life in the various contexts envisaged by the UK Policy. Throughout this research, the UK’s understanding of its obligations under the ECHR in relation to its policy, as articulated during the JCHR inquiry, will be analysed. Where misunderstanding or ambiguities arise, recommendations will be provided to safeguard the UK from violating the Convention when carrying out targeted killings. Though the thesis provides a comprehensive examination of the application of the ECHR to the UK Policy, the legal analysis will be relevant to any Contracting Parties that follow the precedent set by the UK. Moreover, the research contributes to discussions on a range of contentious legal questions that are pertinent to the use of armed drones for counterterrorism, but also relevant whenever states parties conduct military operations overseas.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Targeted Killing; ECHR; UK Policy
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Law
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2024 09:19
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2024 09:19
DOI or ID number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00022146
Supervisors: Wilson, G and Pulvirenti, R
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22146
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