Incitement to Terrorist Acts Under International Law
Leiden Journal of International Law, Vol. 23, No. 3, 2010
37 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 15 Apr 2015
Date Written: August 13, 2009
This article considers the initiative of UN Security Council Resolution 1624(2005) to criminalize incitement to terrorist acts, in light of criminal and international human rights law. The analysis is informed by the specific type of terrorism with which Resolution 1624(2005) is concerned, namely ‘modern’ terrorism. The article argues that the rationales for a prohibition on incitement to terrorist acts call for a relatively wide definition of potentially-proscribed speech. This can be achieved without excessively infringing on freedom of speech. However, the present interpretation of the proposed prohibition is so restrictive that the prohibition may fail to counter the phenomenon with which it grapples. The article also considers whether incitement to terrorist acts can be regarded as an international crime. It concludes that in some instances there may be an overlap between incitement to terrorist acts and certain international crimes, but classification of incitement to terrorist acts as an international crime requires a fragmented approach to terrorism, which is contrary to current trends.
Keywords: international law, incitement, terrorist, terrorist acts, UN security council, resolution 1624, human rights law, criminal law, freedom of speech, international crime
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