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Wound, capture, or kill: a reply to Ryan Goodman’s ‘the power to kill or capture enemy combatants'

Schmitt, M. N. ORCID: (2013) Wound, capture, or kill: a reply to Ryan Goodman’s ‘the power to kill or capture enemy combatants'. European Journal of International Law, 24 (3). pp. 855-861. ISSN 1464-3596

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1093/ejil/cht049


This article examines two issues raised by Professor Goodman’s article published in this volume of EJIL: (1) a purported obligation under international humanitarian law (IHL) to minimize harm to enemy fighters; and (2) a purported IHL duty to capture rather than kill when doing so is feasible in the circumstances. It notes that situations in which it is possible to wound rather than kill enemy fighters are rare on the battlefield. However, even when such circumstances do present themselves, there is no obligation under the extant IHL to do so. Similarly, there is no duty to capture rather than kill under the existing law. Nevertheless, the article offers an analysis that would extend</it> hors de combat <it>status to enemy fighters who have been effectively captured, thereby shielding them from attack. Accordingly, the approach would often arrive at the same conclusion as that proposed by Professor Goodman, albeit through a different legal lens. The article concludes by noting that although there is no ‘capture-kill’ rule in IHL, for operational and policy reasons, capture is usually preferred.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Law
ID Code:89882
Publisher:Oxford University Press

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