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Title: Discrimination in the age of drone warfare
Author: Mélançon, Andrée-Anne
ISNI:       0000 0004 7233 9054
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2018
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Identifying legitimate targets in conflict was once relatively straightforward; all soldiers were legitimate targets, civilians were illegitimate targets, and fighting would take place on battlefields away from densely populated areas. The jus in bello discrimination criterion was interpreted as being based on membership where all combatants are legitimate targets. Yet, the realities of contemporary asymmetrical warfare make the identification of legitimate targets challenging, especially with the rising importance of 'part-time fighters' or 'farmer-soldiers'. Revisionist just war theory suggests moving away from membership-based liability, focusing more on individual responsibility in order to identify legitimate targets. However, many of these approaches lack applicability and cannot overcome the 'real-world objection'. The starting point of this thesis is the observation that there is a gap between theory and practice regarding target selection in contemporary drone warfare. This thesis asks if the jus in bello discrimination criterion can be upheld in modern drone warfare. This discussion is crucial because there is a need for a more updated and comprehensive interpretation of discrimination adapted to the realities where drones are being deployed - namely in counterinsurgency and asymmetrical warfare. This thesis argues that to bridge the gap between theory and practice, there should be two principles of discrimination and two ways to identify legitimate targets in contemporary conflict instead of only one. Firstly, individual discrimination identifies legitimate targets as individuals who are morally responsible for threats in the conflict. Secondly, situational discrimination identifies legitimate targets as immediate threats, bringing greater applicability to the criterion. The findings of this thesis inform the argument that discrimination ought to be understood as being constituted of two principles, not only one in order to be upheld in contemporary drone warfare.
Supervisor: Bellaby, Ross ; Sleat, Matt Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available