Unleashing the use of force. - "Covert killings by states in the territory of other states have become a regular feature of international relations and there has been little scrutiny of their legality. This lecture will consider the challenges this practice poses for human rights and the rule of law. The norm prohibiting the use of force across borders was one of the most important achievements of the twentieth century. Today, however, the United States and its allies are systematically promoting international legal doctrines that radically expand the circumstances under which such armed attacks can be launched. At the same time, the crucial distinction between the rules applicable to military forces and those governing intelligence operations is deliberately being blurred, almost to the point of extinction. The result is that 'special forces' increasingly carry out killings covertly in the territory of other states, and the stage is being set for a significant expansion of such practices. Despite the destructive consequences of these developments for the norms against the use of force and against extrajudicial killings, many of the 'victim' states are surprisingly passive and other western governments seem largely unconcerned about the implications for the rule of law. There is an urgent need for the international community to call a halt to these developments."