The Crime of Terrorism and the Right of Revolution in International Law

55 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2013 Last revised: 23 Jan 2014

Date Written: January 1, 2013


The revolution you dream of is not ours. You don't want to change the world, you want to blow it up. -- Jean-Paul Sartre, Dirty Hands (1948).

In this Article the author discusses the problem of how to distinguish terrorists and freedom fighters by offering a new perspective on the matter: the constitutional and international law concept of the right of revolution.

The Article contains a historical and a comparative constitutional analysis which lead to the recognition of terrorism as a crime under international law and of the right of revolution as a general principle of law. The Article addresses legal issues arising in some of the major contemporary events from 9/11 to Arab Spring Uprisings (with a special focus on Syria) as well as the 2011 interlocutory decision of the Special tribunal for Lebanon. Finally, the analysis provides criteria of when and how a revolutionary use of force is justified.

Keywords: terrorism, right of revolution, right to resistance, right to rebellion

Suggested Citation

Marsavelski, Aleksandar, The Crime of Terrorism and the Right of Revolution in International Law (January 1, 2013). Connecticut Journal of International Law, Vol. 28, No. 241, 2013, Available at SSRN:

Aleksandar Marsavelski (Contact Author)

University of Zagreb - Faculty of Law ( email )

Trg RH 14

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