The Applicable International Law Regimes to the Killing of Osama bin Laden


ConclusionIn general, three regimes are applicable in killing terrorists which are International Humanitarian law, International Human Rights Law and the jus ad bellum regime. However, as far as killing bin Laden is concerned the situation is controversial. IHL is applicable because there was at least a non-international armed conflict between the US and al-Qaeda group, which was led by bin Laden. In addition, and as a basic rule, IHRL might have been applied if the US was bound by the ICCPR outside its border. The reason is that bin Laden was accused of committing many heinous crimes and in order to arrest him the use of lethal force may be justifiable, especially if there were risks to the lives of the arresting force members by the suspect's side. This is because the right to life is not absolute and there can be a deprivation of human life under some narrow situations, for example, signs of lethal resistance to the raid rather than clearly surrendering. However, and in fact, the IHRL does apply to the situation of killing bin Laden because the US does not appear to be bound by the provisions of the ICCPR outside its soil where it has no effective control. Another applicable regime is the jus ad bellum, as the US reserves its right, under article 51 of the UN Charter and under some security Council resolutions including the Resolution (1373), to the use of force for self-defence after the heinous terrorist attacks on 11 Sep 2011.