Legality of Bin laden killing still in quesiton

| 03/05/2011

(Guardian): The chorus of official applause from international leaders over the death of Osama bin Laden has failed to silence doubts about the killing’s legality. Despite widespread backing for the raid, there is a growing demand for the precise legal basis of the US operation to be explained, particularly given the absence of prior debate in the UN Security Council. Some are asking was it an "execution" or an "assassination"? The immediate justification for the killing was that the head of al-Qaida had long ago declared war on the US and other nations. "In war you are allowed to attack your enemy," a US embassy spokesman in London said. Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, echoed Barack Obama’s assertion, stating: "Osama bin Laden is dead and justice has been done."

A more thorough explanation of the legal basis was given last year by Harold Hongju Koh, legal adviser at the US state department.

He told a meeting of the American Society of International Law: "Some have argued that the use of lethal force against specific individuals fails to provide adequate process and thus constitutes unlawful extrajudicial killing. But a state that is engaged in an armed conflict or in legitimate self-defence is not required to provide targets with legal process before the state may use lethal force.”

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  1. Just Commentin' says:

    Oh boo-freaking-HOO! The Big Bad Old USA upset some bleeding heart liberals and insignificant Third Worlder's. Big damn deal!

    Argue about the legality of capping Osama until your arguer is sore, the bastard is dead and all your bleedin' hot air ain't gonna bring the worthless scumbag back from hell.

    You want something to bleed about? Here's one for ya: If I were in charge of disposing of Bin Laden's remains, rather than burying him I would have ground him up and fed the ground meat to the pigs. Moreover, I would have posted the whole thing on a pay-per-view web site to raise money for 911 victims' families.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Time to pull the plug on the UN, too many terrorists or friends of terrorists in the line up.

    The world would be a much safer place if the USA evicted the whole bunch of them from New York and set up an alternative organisation limited to those who understand the concept that, "The only good terrorist is a dead terrorist."


  3. Anonymous says:

    And I suppose all the thousands of deaths that he was responsible for dont matter? (inclusing thousands fo Muslims). Personally I do not care if this was legal or not, it needed to be done, and it seems only one Government had the CAHONEYS to get the job done.

    Good shot to the Navy Seal! Let the debate begin! but who cares, what can you do ? Put Obama in jail ?


  4. Anonymous_A woa says:

    Honestly?? This legality issue has to be a joke. Osama got what he had coming to him……… He killed thousands of Americans and also thousands of other people including Muslins. Did anyone go to him and say “Oh you did this illegally”? He is a mass murderer and never deserved any human rights whatsoever. Unfortunately the people that were lost will never be able to come back. But to some of us who are here now, justice has been served

  5. Jonathan says:

    George Bush and Musharraf (correct spelling?) were in bed together in an unholy union. Bush is gone, Bin Laden is dead. Nuff said.

  6. LegalEagle says:

    Legality, schmegality. To the SEAL who pulled the trigger, nice shot man…

  7. Alan Nivia says:

    Of course it was an illegal assassination.  Why could he not have been arrested by Pakistan officers?

  8. Jason Bourne says:

    The reality of “international law” is that it only applies to nations to the extent that either they agree to be bound by it or they are forced to be bound by it through external forces (political, financial or military). International law is really nothing but treaties, since there is no such thing as an international legislature passing laws that bind the planet (i.e. there is no planetary criminal code, act or law that anyone can point to saying “Hey, the USA just broke section 398 of the law!”).

    What follows from all that is that the US can say that the law of the US allowed that they kill OBL if they want to (through their own internal legal mechanisms, like “Executive Orders”), and that the so-called “international law” aspects have no application because, well, the USA doesn’t agree to be prohibited from killing the likes of OBL, and frankly there’s not much other states could do to stop them or visit retribution on them even if they were inclinded to do so (which I doubt they are). Case closed.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The US is never going to ask the UN for permission to shoot terrorists, so get over it.