JEAIL > Volume 13(2); 2020 > Regional Focus
Research Paper
Published online: Nov. 30, 2020

The Killing of General Quassem Soleimani: Legal and Policy Issues

Boris Kondoch
Far East University, Eumseong-gun, Chungcheonbuk-do 369-700 Korea.
Corresponding Author:

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

On January 3, 2020, the Trump administration killed General Quassem Soleimani by a drone strike. Soleimani had been widely considered the second most powerful leader in Iran. President Trump and his administration have provided different justifications for the drone attack. The assassination of Quassem Soleimani has been met with criticism in many parts of the world. Legal scholars have extensively debated the lawfulness of the drone strike. They discussed, inter alia, whether the killing of the Iranian general was a violation of international law regulating the use of force (jus ad bellum), international humanitarian law (jus in bello) and international human rights law. The following article examines the legality of the killing of the Iranian general, from the jus ad bellum by focusing on the accumulation of events theory. Furthermore, the article addresses the policy implications that the killing of Soleimani might have on other countries such as North Korea.

Keywords : Quassem Soleimani, drones, international law, jus ad bellum, pre-emptive self-defence, accumulation of events theory, policy implications, North Korea

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