Ryan Goodman article on the power to kill or capture enemy combatants draws high-profile notice

Ryan GoodmanRyan Goodman, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law, posted a forthcoming article on SSRN only three days ago, but it is already drawing attention and accolades from prominent scholars and others in the legal and human rights communities.The article, to be published by the European Journal of International Law (EJIL), is titled “The Power to Kill or Capture Enemy Combatants.” In it, Goodman argues against a view expressed by many experts, who maintain that a combatant can be subject to lethal force wherever he or she is found, unless the combatant offers to surrender. Instead, Goodman says, that in certain circumstances, the use of force should be governed by a "least-restrictive-means analysis." In sum, he notes in the article abstract, "belligerents must comply with an important (albeit conditional) set of constraints in planning and conducting kill or capture operations against enemy fighters."

On his Lawfare Blog, Harvard Professsor Jack Goldsmith included an extensive excerpt of Goodman's article, which he called "timely and important." It also drew mention on the widely read International Law Reporter blog, as well as numerous citations on Twitter, including tweets from Human Rights Watch Executive Director Ken Roth (who called the piece "thoughtful"); Princeton Professor Anne-Marrie Slaughter; United Nations Development Programme Administrator Helen Clark; and @AirForceGC, the chief legal and ethics official of the Department of the Air Force.

Posted February 11, 2013