Bin Laden killing: legal dichotomy?

11 May 2011 by Geert-Jan Knoops

In 2002, when the United States openly suggested resorting to a pre-emptive military strike against Iraq in its fight against terrorism, then French President Jacques Chirac, in the New York Times, fiercely opposed this approach as being contrary to international law - opening a door to abuse and setting a wrong precedent. “Suppose that China would invade Taiwan because Taiwan would be an alleged security threat to China. What would the world say?", the French president exclaimed.

Yet, on the 2nd of May 2011, this type of criticism vanished. The world lauded the execution of Osama Bin Laden by US Special Forces as being an achievement of ‘international justice’. One wonders though to what kind of justice one was referring? Justice by revenge or justice by law?

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