UK can kill terrorists abroad even if civilians die too, says Attorney General

Jeremy Wright will say technology has made it easier for terrorists to mount UK attacks
  • Way to be paved for British military to kill more jihadists overseas in self-defence
  • Jeremy Wright to say tech has made it easier for terrorists to mount attacks in UK
  • Will suggest civilians may die as part of pre-emptive strikes in a bid to save lives

The Attorney General will today pave the way for the military to kill more jihadists overseas in self-defence attacks.

Jeremy Wright QC will say technology has made it easier for terrorists to mount attacks on UK streets, and laws which once applied have become outdated.

The country’s top law officer will also suggest that civilians may die as part of pre-emptive strikes in a bid to save lives in Britain.

In a landmark speech setting out a re-defined legal basis for wiping out UK enemies in pre-emptive attacks, he will say the ‘frontline has irretrievably altered’, and the ‘law has to keep up with the changing times’.

While Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp ‘did not exist’ at the time of 9/11, today technology is used to ‘evade law enforcement, conceal those who would do us harm, and to inspire attacks ... that previously would have taken months of planning’.

Sir Jeremy will say he does not want to make it ‘easy to resort to the use of force’. But he will state that countries need to be able to take ‘necessary and proportionate action’ when there is clear evidence of armed attacks being planned and directed against them.

In the speech in London, Sir Jeremy will set out the legal justification for pre-emptive attacks such as the RAF drone strike which killed British jihadists Reyaad Khan, from Cardiff, and Ruhul Amin in Syria in 2015.

And he will give an unprecedented insight into the considerations that must be weighed up before action is taken against extremists abroad.

Under international law, the use of force in self-defence is permitted against what can be described as an ‘imminent attack’.

 Sir Jeremy will set out the justification for  attacks such as the RAF drone strike which killed British jihadists Reyaad Khan (far left) and Ruhul Amin (right) in Syria in 2015

Sir Jeremy will set out the justification for attacks such as the RAF drone strike which killed British jihadists Reyaad Khan (far left) and Ruhul Amin (right) in Syria in 2015

The Government endorses a five-point list of factors to assess whether the attack is imminent, Sir Jeremy will reveal.

These include the likelihood there could be other chances to wipe out the threat ‘that may be expected to cause less serious collateral injury, loss or damage’.

It therefore leaves open the prospect of the Government being allowed to justify a pre-emptive strike on a target even if there could be a ‘serious’ loss of life. Other factors that must be considered include the nature of the threat and the probability of an attack.

Sir Jeremy will stress that lethal action will always be a last resort, to be used only ‘where there is a clear legal basis for doing so’.

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By World Staff Writer 01/11/2017 02:29:00