Home Articles posted by Noam Lubell

Comments on David Kretzmer’s “The inherent right to self-defence and proportionality in jus ad bellum

Published on April 17, 2013        Author: 

Dr Noam Lubell, Reader, School of Law, University of Essex

I’ve been asked to begin the discussion of Professor David Kretzmer’s new article on proportionality. Having benefitted from David’s wisdom in the past 20 years both academically and in my previous NGO life, I am not surprised to once again have thoroughly enjoyed reading his work. In particular I’m thankful to have been asked to take part in this discussion, as his latest article contains many thought-provoking points, of which we will probably only begin to scratch the surface (I urge you to read the article itself!). Considering the limited space in a discussion of this kind, I’m going to focus on just a few points related to two issues that arise a number of times in the article. Read the rest of this entry…


Drones, Battlefields, and Asking the Right Questions

Published on February 28, 2013        Author: 

Noam Lubell is Reader in Law, University of Essex. He can be followed on Twitter @nlubell.

Not only is the debate over the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) not going away, it appears to be consistently growing, with ever new examinations and reports. It tends to encompass – and sometimes unnecessarily conflate – a number of issues, including:

  • The advantages, disadvantages and legality of the drone technology itself, e.g. should there be restrictions on remote controlled (or moving on to autonomous) methods of warfare.
  • The manner in which the use of drones appears to further the concept of a ‘global battlefield’, and a ‘global war against Al-Qaida’ (or ‘war on terror’, take your pick).
  • The ius ad bellum aspects in relation to drone strikes on the territory of another state.
  • The adherence to the law of armed conflict – if and when it applies – in specific drone strikes, especially concerning the status of individuals killed by drone strikes, and rules on indiscriminate attacks and proportionality.
  • Accountability for drone strikes and transparency over their use.
  • The applicability of international human rights law to drone strikes. In the US this point has taken on an extra US-centric twist, with regard to constitutional law and powers, and the implications with regard to US citizens.

There are obvious links between these issues and they all affect each other in a myriad of ways, but any examination of the international law applicable to drone strikes must also understand that the above all need to be taken into account and given separate attention, before any attempt is made to assess the overall picture of legality. Clearly there’s no room to cover all the above in adequate detail in this one post, but I would like to briefly address the second point above, and the way it links to some of the other issues.

Read the rest of this entry…