International Law in Crisis: Challenges Posed by the New Terrorism and the Changing Nature of War

By Murphy, John F. | Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, Spring-Fall 2011 | Go to article overview

International Law in Crisis: Challenges Posed by the New Terrorism and the Changing Nature of War


Murphy, John F., Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law


The theme of this conference is "International Law in Crisis." Two prime examples of the challenges facing international law and international institutions are the so-called "new terrorism" and the changing nature of war. In contrast to the "old terrorism" the new terrorism, which is religiously inspired, is increasingly willing to kill large numbers of people and to make no distinctions between military and civilian targets. Moreover, as demonstrated most vividly by al-Qaeda, which is reported to operate in a network that spans roughly one hundred countries, the new terrorism has become a global threat rather than a threat located primarily in one country.

Prior to the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001, international terrorism had been treated primarily as a criminal law matter with emphasis placed on preventing the commission of the crime through intelligence or law enforcement means, or, if prevention failed, on the apprehension, prosecution and punishment of the perpetrators. After September 11th, however, the criminal justice approach was de-emphasized and, to a considerable extent, supplanted by the use of military means.

This shift to the military model of counter-terrorism has engendered considerable controversy. Supporters of the military model contend that criminal law is "too weak a weapon" and that it was inadequate to stop al-Qaeda from planning and carrying out the attacks of September 11th. Critics argue that it is unnecessary and threatens fundamental human rights. They suggest that normal law enforcement measures can effectively combat the threat of terrorism. Moreover, a decision to employ the military model of counter-terrorism in place of the law enforcement model, or vice-versa, may have serious functional consequences, which are considered in this article.

Use of the U.S. military to kill Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011, in his heavily fortified Abbottabad compound in Pakistan was sharply criticized by various sources and outraged the Pakistani government and many of its people. It was equally strongly defended by the U.S. government, especially by the Legal Adviser to the U.S. Department of State, Harold Koh, who assessed the killing under the law of armed conflict and not under international human rights law.

As to the changing nature of war and its impact, World War II is a classic example of an international armed conflict between sovereign states, and the United Nations was set up primarily to prevent such a conflict in the future. But international armed conflicts currently constitute a small minority of all conflicts, and have been replaced by internal or non-international armed conflicts in the form of insurgencies, civil wars and terrorist attacks. These non-international armed conflicts are also examples of asymmetric warfare, which features armed hostilities in which one party to the conflict endeavors to compensate for its military or other deficiencies by resorting to the use of means of warfare that clearly violate the law of armed conflict or other rules of public international law. Examples of such means of warfare include the deliberate targeting of civilians, the slaughter of hostages, the embedding of fighters in the civilian population, and the use of human shields, especially civilians. What is particularly disturbing about asymmetric warfare is that violators of the law of armed conflict gain considerable military advantage in many instances by the adoption of such tactics because they can be extremely effective in countering the normally vastly superior capabilities of the other party, including in particular those of the United States.

I.   INTRODUCTION
II.  THE "NEW TERRORISM" AND ITS IMPACT
     A. The "New Terrorism"
     B. Impact of the New Terrorism
     C. The Legality of the Killing of Osama bin Laden
III. THE CHANGING NATURE OF WAR AND ITS IMPACT
     A. The Responsibility to Protect (R2P)
     B. The Arab Spring
     C. … 

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

International Law in Crisis: Challenges Posed by the New Terrorism and the Changing Nature of War
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.