Terrorism and International Law

Terrorism and International Law

Terrorism and International Law

Terrorism and International Law


The proliferation in terrorist activity has provoked an increase in the body of law, both at national and international level, which has sought to counter and prevent it. The bodies involved in this process range from the UN Security Council to government legislatures. This book is the first to address, in one volume, the wide variety of responses to terrorism as they exist in both international and domestic contexts. It also represents the first ever comprehensive collection of documents referring to terrorism which are to be found in the laws of the UK and France as well as in international law. Terrorism and International Law comprises contributions by thirteen well-known authorities in the areas of international, French and UK law, and is divided into four main sections: international cooperation against terrorism, the French and British responses to terrorism, the limits of state action and a documentary supplement. The contributors have sought to show how international and domestic law can be used together to combat the multi-faceted problems which terrorism raises. The issue of human rights is also discussed with particular reference to the jurisprudence of the European Commission and Court of Human Rights. The fourth documentary section of the book provides coverage of international treaties, UN resolutions, UK and French legislation, case-law and official statements relating to terrorism. This book provides an invaluable source of commentary and reference material in the area of terrorism and international and domestic law which will be useful for practitioners, diplomats, students and teachers.


Everyone has his own idea of the notion of terrorism. The idea conjures up the threat or use of violence outside of wartime and most usually against non-military targets, for the achievement of political ends. The phenomenon has long been with us, as the memory of the murder of Archduke Ferdinand testifies. But in the last twenty years it has taken on new dimensions. Whereas the early aerial hijackings were the work of individuals, organized groups, seeking political goals, began to finance and mastermind various acts of terror. These still included hijacking, but extended also to kidnappings, the sending of explosive devices through the post, car-bombings, the placing of bombs on airplanes, the planting of bombs in diverse locations, the shooting of people in airports, the throwing of grenades into places of recreation.

At different moments particular forms of terrorism have waxed and waned. Hijacking is perhaps less prevalent than previously. And with the recent release of many of the hostages taken in the Middle East, it seemed that the phenomenon of kidnapping might be receding. But we know that some hijackings and kidnappings still occur; and we know also that terrorist bombing is a very real and present phenomenon in many countries.

There exists already a certain literature on terrorism, whether written from a legal or political perspective. But this volume breaks new ground in several ways. Above all, it presents an Anglo-French perspective on the problem of terrorism. Part II of this book shows how two close allies, each liberal democracies and each facing the same threat, address the problem. There is much that is similar—but, strikingly, also much that is not the same in their handling of the problem, reflecting the cultural and political differences between the two countries. The response to the problem of terrorism illuminates what is similar and what is dissimilar in the political and legal life of France and the United Kingdom.

At the same time, and exactly because each country is a member of the United Nations and also of the European Union, both France and the United Kingdom can avail themselves of such assistance as is offered by

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