Keywords: Targeted Killings; Drones; Self-defence; Anticipatory Self-defence; Right to Life; Terrorism.
Targeted killings by drones on the territory of other States has increasingly become the US Administration's weapon of choice in the war against terrorism. According to the US, these operations constitute a justified use of self-defensive force «against terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the American people» ("Remarks by the President at the National Defense University", 23 May 2013, www.whitehouse.gov). The aim of the present article is to assess the validity of this justification under both "ius ad bellum" and international human rights law. To this end, Section 1 introduces the arguments advanced by the US Administration. Section 2 explores the admissibility of anticipatory self-defence under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter and customary international law. Section 3 focuses on the temporal standard defining the permissible use of lethal force in law enforcement operations. Section 4 finally offers some brief concluding remarks.