Terrorism as an international crime

Authored by: Fiona de Londras

Routledge Handbook of International Criminal Law

Print publication date:  November  2010
Online publication date:  November  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415552035
eBook ISBN: 9780203836897
Adobe ISBN: 9781136866685


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Although terrorism has become the subject of sustained levels of discussion and scholarship in international law in recent years, these discussions and writings have generally focused on whether acts of terrorism can trigger the right to use force and how counter-terrorist operations and the law of human rights interact with one another in situations of actual or perceived terrorist risk. 1 This chapter, however, is focused more on whether, and if so, how, international criminal law can be employed in the courtroom-level attempts to counter terroristic activity. Following an overview of the long-standing difficulties in international discourses with coming to a general, binding, treaty-based definition of ‘terrorism’, the chapter proceeds to consider the ways in which existing international criminal law can be said to include within it prohibitions of terrorist activity; whether terrorism per se is a crime in international law; and the ways in which international treaty-based prohibitions on certain types of terrorist activity are developing a transnational criminal law relating to terrorism. Finally, the chapter considers the prospects for an international crime of terrorism in the future.

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