This comprehensive volume addresses the important question of whether and how the current transformation of targeted killing is transforming the global international order. The age-old practice of targeted killing has undergone a profound transformation since the turn of the millennium. States resort to it more frequently, especially in the context of counter-terrorism operations. The rapid development of surveillance and drone technologies facilitates targeted-killing missions, and states are starting to slowly abandon their policies of secrecy and denial with regard to this form of violence.
To answer this question, the volume introduces a theoretical framework that conceives the maintenance and transformation of international order as a dynamic, triangular process between violence, discourse, and the institutions that make up the international order. It then sheds light on different parts of this triangular process: the reinterpretation of international law to legitimize targeted killing, the contestation between state and non-state actors over the development of a new targeted-killing norm, the emergence of targeted killing in the context of changes in the broader normative context of international order, and the impact of new technologies, in particular autonomous weapons systems, on the future of targeted-killing practices and international order.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Contemporary Security Policy.
1. Introduction – The transformation of targeted killing and international order
Martin Senn and Jodok Troy
2. Targeted killings: Drones, noncombatant immunity, and the politics of killing
3. Not completely the new normal: How Human Rights Watch tried to suppress the targeted killing norm
4. Friction, not erosion: Assassination norms at the fault line between sovereignty and liberal values
5. The evolution of targeted killing practices: Autonomous weapons, future conflict, and the international order
Michael Carl Haas and Sophie-Charlotte Fischer
6. Targeted killing in international relations theory: Recursive politics of technology, law, and practice