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date: 23 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the rules and principles of the international humanitarian law (IHL) governing the right to life. It discusses the origins and scope of the right to life and clarifies that the protection provided by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) does not cease in times of war. It also considers some widely-recognized exceptions to or limitations upon the right to life, including killing in self-defence and the lethal use of force by the authorities in order to prevent crime. This chapter argues that while resorting to armed force may be necessary to prevent human rights violations, its benefits should not be exaggerated.

Keywords: right to life, IHL, ICCPR, self-defence, lethal use of force, armed force, human rights violations

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