Professor Mike Schmitt’s latest article on ‘International Humanitarian Law and the Targeting of Non-State Intelligence Personnel and Objects’ has been published by the Duke Journal of Comparative & International Law.
The Article examines the targetability of individuals and organizations performing intelligence functions for a non-State group involved in an armed conflict. Specifically, it considers the circumstances under which they lose the international humanitarian law (IHL) protections from, and during, attacks that they would otherwise enjoy as civilians. To do so, the piece deconstructs IHL’s “organized armed group” construct to determine when an intelligence organization can be characterized as a component thereof. Noting that some non-State groups consist of both entities involved in the hostilities and organizations having no relationship to them, the Article introduces the concept of a non-State group’s “overall OAG,” a notion that parallel’s the characterization of a State’s various military units as its “armed forces.” Additionally, the Article assesses the circumstances under which individuals engaged in activities intelligence who are not members of an OAG may be targeted on the basis of their “direct participation in the hostilities.”