Al Qaeda and the Law of War
Arthur Mark Weisburd
University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - School of Law
Lewis & Clark Law Review, Vol. 11, No. 4, p. 1063, 2007
UNC Legal Studies Research Paper
Nearly since September 11 itself, the legal community has been debating the legal status of al-Qaeda members-criminals versus combatants of war. Though there are many lenses through which one can view this issue, this Article examines the question in terms of individual rights of al-Qaeda members under international law. The author puts the issue in context by first discussing the significance of the label-the distinction in treatment between criminal suspects and prisoners of war. Then, the Article analyzes al-Qaeda and its operations to determine where its members might fall on the continuum from criminal to combatant. Ultimately, the Article suggests that, at least when considering their personal rights under international law, al-Qaeda members should be considered combatants of war, rather than criminals. However, the nature of al-Qaeda makes it difficult to apply international humanitarian law to the group, with interesting implications for the future of this area of law.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 24
Date posted: March 23, 2013