Was It Legal To Kill Bin Laden?
Judge Andrew Napolitano will make the case on radio tonight that the assassination of Osama bin Laden was an illegal act. And he’s not alone. Yet some usually outspoken groups are remaining quiet.
Tom Malinowski, the Washington director of Human Rights Watch, said his group wasn’t prepared to express an opinion “until we know more solid details about the facts of the operation.”
“There are certainly circumstances under which lethal force is justified even in a law enforcement situation far from the battlefield,” Malinowski said in an email. “But we’ll have to know more about what actually happened before making a judgment.”
The American Civil Liberties Union, which has vocally opposed the Obama administration’s use of lethal force outside of armed conflict zones, told POLITICO it has not released an official comment on bin Laden’s death, and has no plans to comment on it.
Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern says there were other, more legal, options.
“There are commonly accepted legal ways to capture and bring such people to a court of law — yes, even the ‘bad guys’ like Osama bin Laden.”
Terrorism – even that perpetrated by Osama bin Laden — is a criminal action and doesn’t necessarily require military force, according to Mary Ellen O’Connell, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame. “If we’re not there by the authorization of the U.N. Security Council, then we should be using law enforcement methods – not military force,” she told POLITICO.
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