Court Hears Challenge to U.S. Right to Try to Kill al Qaeda Leader

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In the wake of 9/11, the government has contended it could target a U.S. citizen off the traditional battlefield. But the idea has been challenged by human rights groups.

"The United States' assertion of an ever-expanding but ill-defined license to commit targeted killings against individuals around the globe, without accountability, does grave damage to the international legal frameworks designed to protect the right to life," said Philip Alston, a New York University professor who is the author of a report on targeted killings that was submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council, in a statement he issued in June.

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