Extraterritorial Kidnapping and the Rules on Interstate Force

01 December 2014

Author: McDermott, Helen Source: Journal on the Use of Force and International Law, Volume 1, Number 2, December 2014, pp. 299-322(24) DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5235/20531702.1.2.299

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Extraterritorial kidnapping is the physical apprehension of an individual outside of a state's territory. From the capture of Eichmann in Argentina in 1960 to the snatching of Ahmed Abu Khattala in Libya in 2014, irregular forms of apprehension continue to be employed as a tool to satisfy state interests in the prosecution and suppression of international crimes and terrorism-related offences. Recognizing that resort to extraterritorial abduction is likely to continue, especially in circumstances where national or international security is thought to be threatened, this paper considers the application of the rules on interstate force to the practice. Examining extraterritorial kidnapping under Article 2(4) and analyzing the extent to which its use can be justified by invocation of the right to self-defense assists in clarifying the legal status of such operations under the regulatory framework.