Comment, On Target? The Israeli Supreme Court and the Expansion of Targeted Killings
After four years of consideration, the Israeli Supreme Court recently issued the world's first judicial decision on targeted killings in Public Committee Against Torture in Israel v. Government of Israel (PCATI). In PCATI, the court held that terrorists are civilians under the law of armed conflict and thus are lawfully subject to attack only when they directly participate in hostilities. But the court also expanded the traditional definition of direct participation and the time period during which civilians may lawfully be attacked. By disregarding the direct participation requirement's important evidentiary function, the court weakened the protections that international law affords to all civilians, not just to terrorists.