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The Legal Response of the League of Nations to Terrorism

Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 78-102, 2006

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 11/50

20 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2011  

Ben Saul

The University of Sydney Law School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 18, 2011

Abstract

Terrorism was first confronted as a discrete subject matter of international law by the international community in the mid 1930s, following the assassination of a Yugoslavian king and a French foreign minister by ethnic separatists. The League’s attempt to generically define terrorism in an international treaty prefigured many of the legal, political, ideological and rhetorical disputes which came to plague the international community’s attempts to define terrorism in the fifty years after the Second World War. Although the treaty never entered into force following the dissolution of the League itself, the League’s core definition has been highly resilient and has influenced subsequent legal efforts to define terrorism. While the League’s 1937 Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Terrorism is often referred to obliquely in international legal discussions of terrorism, the drafting of the Convention has seldom been intensively analysed. By closely examining its drafting, this article elucidates how the drafters of the Convention agreed on a definition of terrorism, and why they rejected alternative definitions. In doing so, it hopes to refresh and enliven current international debates about definition in the wake of the United Nation’s sixtieth anniversary year, which saw renewed emphasis placed on the quest for definition.

Keywords: League of Nations, Terrorism, International Law, Definition, International Criminal Court, International Crime

JEL Classification: K10, K14, K30, K33

Suggested Citation

Saul, Ben, The Legal Response of the League of Nations to Terrorism (August 18, 2011). Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 78-102, 2006; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 11/50. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1912261

Ben Saul (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.usyd.edu.au/about/staff/BenSaul/index.shtml

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