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27 Va. J. Int'l L. 655 (1986-1987)
The Legality of Assassination as an Aspect of Foreign Policy

handle is hein.journals/vajint27 and id is 665 raw text is: The Legality of Assassination as an
Aspect of Foreign Policy
Few political events are as dramatic and rife with international
implications as the assassination of a foreign leader. Known in-
stances of assassination1 date back to the origins of recorded his-
tory.2 This Note will examine the responsibility of states for such
1. For the purposes of this Note, assassination will be the intentional killing of an in-
ternationally protected person. No single source adequately describes this class of individu-
als, but a useful starting point is Article 1 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punish-
ment of Crimes Against Internationally Protected Persons, Including Diplomatic Agents,
which defines a protected person as:
(a) a Head of State, including any member of a collegial body performing the
functions of a Head of State under the constitution of the State concerned, a
Head of Government or a Minister of Foreign Affairs, whenever any such person
is in a foreign State, as well as members of his family who accompany him;
(b) any representative or official of a State or any official or other agent of an
international organization of an intergovernmental character who, at the time
when and in the place where a crime against him, his official premises, his pri-
vate accommodation or his means of transport is committed, is entitled pursuant
to international law to special protection from any attack on his person, freedom
or dignity, as well as members of his family forming part of his household.
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Internationally Protected
Persons, Including Diplomatic Agents, Dec. 14, 1973, art. 1, para. 1, 28 U.S.T. 1975, TI.A.S.
No. 8532, 1035 U.N.T.S. 167 [hereinafter New York Convention). Though the New York
Convention does not so provide, for the purpose of defining assassination in this Note inter-
nationally protected persons will continue to enjoy that status even while inside their own
2. For chronologies and accounts of assassinations by individuals throughout history, see
generally L. Bloomfield & G. Fitzgerald, Crimes Against Internationally Protected Persons:
Prevention and Punishment 1-27 (1975) [hereinafter Bloomfield & Fitzgerald]; J. Bornstein,
The Politics of Murder (1950); W. Heaps, Assassination: A Special Kind of Murder (1969)
(includes detailed chronology); Feierabend, Feierabend, Nesvold, Jagger, Political Violence
and Assassination: A Cross-National Assessment, in Assassinations and the Political Order
54-140 (W. Crotty ed. 1971); Assassination of Public Men, in Encyclopedia of Murder 5060

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