Beyond 'Freedom Fighters' and 'Terrorists': When, if Ever, is Non-State Violence Legitimate in International Law?

27 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2009

See all articles by Frederic Megret

Frederic Megret

McGill University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: April 6, 2009

Abstract

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

Mégret, Frédéric, Beyond 'Freedom Fighters' and 'Terrorists': When, if Ever, is Non-State Violence Legitimate in International Law? (April 6, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1373590 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1373590

Frédéric Mégret (Contact Author)

McGill University - Faculty of Law ( email )

3644 Peel Street
Montreal H3A 1W9, Quebec
Canada

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