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  • Author or Editor: Bence Kis Kelemen x
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Abstract

At dawn on 3 January 2020 local time, the United States targeted and killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, which it claimed was an exercise of its right to self-defense. In this analysis, we will examine this operation through the system of jus contra bellum. The airstrike was conducted against a military official of a state, which differs from ‘traditional’ targeted killings, that mostly target members of non-state actors. We will pay particular attention to the antecedents of the attack, as well as the legal reasoning of the United States and the reactions of the international community. The case study will use a critical approach to analyze the claims made in support of the exercise of the US right of self-defense, in particular their lex lata justification. The study concludes that the targeted killing of General Soleimani was unquestionably illegal under the jus ad bellum regime of international law, as the United States was not the victim of an armed attack prior to the operation.

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