Terrorism and War
Posted: 18 Jun 2008
Date Written: November 2006
This article discusses when terrorism can be classified as war (i.e. a use of force) under both ius ad bellum and ius in bello. It looks at how terrorist acts committed in a genuine armed conflict are prohibited and how those committing them must be treated under international humanitarian law (IHL). The article then analyses the relationship between armed conflicts, the laws of war and anti-terrorism instruments. It is argued that if behaviour in armed conflicts is included in the latter, only acts prohibited by IHL should be classified as terrorist, in particular if state behaviour is excluded from the definition of terrorism. Thus contradictions between IHL and international anti-terrorism law can be avoided. Finally, it is suggested that, de lege ferenda, it might be useful to define terrorist acts in peacetime by analogy to what is prohibited in wartime.
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