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The US government has asserted that by killing Osama bin Laden on 1 May 2011, justice has been done. Its view is that the killing was clearly lawful.

But the nature, timing and location of the killing have raised various questions under international law. Was it self-defence? Was bin Laden a battleground casualty? Did the UN Security Council authorise the killing? Was bin Laden protected by international human rights law? Was it lawful for US forces to act in Pakistan? What about putting bin Laden on trial?

The killing also has possible implications for future policies towards al-Qaeda as well as Libya and other countries.


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