When governments use assassination as a tool, is it legal? Is it morally acceptable? Can it be justified under certain conditions? Does it matter if the target is a political, military or civilian leader?

Experts in law, public policy and philosophy will examine the morality, legality and nature of assassination and if it differs from other types of killing in a symposium, “The Ethics of Assassination,” March 27, 4-8 p.m., at the University of Richmond’s Jepson Alumni Center.

A panel discussion by academic experts will open the program at 4 p.m. Eric Greitens, former Navy SEAL officer, author and founder-CEO of a nonprofit organization serving wounded veterans will give the keynote address at 7 p.m. Greitens’ book, “The Heart & the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL,” made the New York Times bestseller list in May 2011.

Panelists will include: Whitley R. P. Kaufman, professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell and author of “Justifed Kiling: The Paradox of Self-Defense”; Mary Ellen O’Connell, the Robert and Marion Short Professor of Law and Research Professor of International Dispute Resolution at University of Notre Dame and author of “The Power and Purpose of International Law”; and David L. Perry, director of the Vann Center for Ethics at Davidson College and author of “Partly Cloudy: Ethics in War, Espionage, Covert Action, and Interrogation.”

The symposium is free and open to the public and will include a reception. For attorneys, the program qualifies for 1.5 hours (0.0 ethics) of MCLE credit. Online registration is required by March 20 at jepson.richmond.edu/conferences/2011-12/ethics-assassinationindex.html.

The event is sponsored by the university’s Jepson School of Leadership Studies, co-sponsored by the Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Law (PPEL) program, and funded by a grant from the Richard Davoud Donchian Foundation.

For more information, contact Nancy Nock at 804-287-1960 or nnock@richmond.edu, or visit jepson.richmond.edu.