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Alumnus Jens Ohlin to discuss targeted killings March 21

March 19, 2012

Alumnus Jens Ohlin to discuss targeted killings March 21

Jens Ohlin

Jens Ohlin '96

Jens Ohlin, a Cornell University law professor, will discuss "Targeted Killings: The Law and Philosophy of 21 st-Century Warfare" at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, in Ladd Hall, room 307. His talk, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and Religion. 

Targeted killings - whether by Hellfire missile fired from a Predator drone, or a commando raid by Navy SEALS ? are remaking the landscape of 21 st century warfare. Champions of this method praise their deadly efficiency, but such actions raise urgent legal and philosophical issues. In his talk Ohlin will address whether target killings are acts of war or police measures, and whether terrorists are more like soldiers or civilians. In addition, he will discuss if the war against al-Qaeda has a battlefield. 

A 1996 Skidmore graduate, Ohlin specializes in international law and all aspects of criminal law, including domestic, comparative, and international criminal law. His latest work concentrates on the legal implications of remotely piloted drone strikes, and he is a co-editor of a collected volume titled Targeted Killings: Law and Morality in an Asymmetrical World, due this year from Oxford University Press.

He also is the author, with George Fletcher, of Defending Humanity: When Force is Justified and Why (Oxford University Press, 2008), which offers a new account of international self-defense through a comparative analysis of the rules of self-defense in criminal law. His scholarly work has appeared in the Columbia Law Review,Harvard International Law Journal, American Journal of International Law,Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Journal of International Criminal Justice, Cornell Law Review, Chicago Journal of International Law, as well as several edited volumes published by Oxford University Press.

Ohlin's current research also focuses on the normative application of criminal law concepts in international criminal law, especially with regard to genocide, torture, joint criminal enterprise and co-perpetration, as well as the philosophical foundations of collective criminal action. He is also a member of an international working group, centered in The Hague, that is developing a codification of general rules and principles of international criminal procedure.

Ohlin has consulted for foreign governments and law firms on a wide range of issues, including human rights, white-collar criminal defense and litigation, criminal antitrust, and appellate litigation. He blogs at

He earned M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., and J.D. degrees at Columbia University.



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