Beyond 'Freedom Fighters' and 'Terrorists': When, if Ever, is Non-State Violence Legitimate in International Law?
27 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2009
Date Written: April 6, 2009
This paper seeks to elucidate the conditions under which non-state violence might be considered legitimate under international law. Contra a tendency to dismiss all non-state violence as "terroristic" it makes an argument that the conditions of legitimate non-state violence, at the intersection of international law and moral theory, require us to assess the ends and means of such violence, and the conditions in which it is used. This leads one to depart from international law on the use of force as it applies to states in some cases, but also to draw on it in others. The paper concludes with a moderate stance in favor of exceptionally lending strong normative support to certain forms of non-state violence.
Keywords: freedom fighters, terrorists, terrorism, humanitarian law, use of force, jus in bello, jus ad bellum
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation