Rethinking Terrorism in International Law: An Enquiry into the Legal Concept of International State Terrorism

Jura Gentium. Journal of Philosophy of International Law and Global Politics, ISSN 1826-8269, Vol. X, No. 1, 2013

32 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2017

See all articles by Vito Todeschini

Vito Todeschini

International Commission of Jurists

Abstract

This article investigates the concept of international state terrorism with a view to providing a legal definition thereof. It proposes to qualify certain uses of state armed force in the light of the category of international terrorism. The latter is understood as the commission of violent acts aimed at spreading terror among a population in order to achieve political goals, and is usually identified as an activity solely perpetrated by non-state actors.

However, in international relations states do resort to terrorism against other states. That is to say, armed force is at times used to coerce another state’s government by means of directly targeting its population. This use of force relies on large-scale violations of human rights and should be tackled specifically.

The overall aim of the article is to provide a substantive definition of international state terrorism. Elements are derived, on the one hand, from the definitions of peacetime and wartime terrorism; on the other hand, from the legal definition of aggression and the analysis of war-like use of force

Keywords: International Terrorism, Use of Force, State Terrorism, International Humanitarian Law, Aggression

Suggested Citation

Todeschini, Vito, Rethinking Terrorism in International Law: An Enquiry into the Legal Concept of International State Terrorism. Jura Gentium. Journal of Philosophy of International Law and Global Politics, ISSN 1826-8269, Vol. X, No. 1, 2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2953342

Vito Todeschini (Contact Author)

International Commission of Jurists ( email )

PO Box 91
Rue des Bains 33
Geneva 8, 1211
Switzerland

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