International Cooperation Against Terrorism
Yuri M. Kolosov and Geoffrey M. Levitt
Over the past two decades, the international community has defined, elaborated, and applied a set of legal norms aimed at the suppression of international terrorism. This process, which continues today, is not only important in its own right, but offers an excellent illustration of how states devise and implement international legal rules in response to pressing, complex, and unpredictable real-world challenges. As such, it merits the attention of all those who have a serious interest in public international law. This chapter focuses primarily on the two components of this process that have presented the greatest difficulties: definition and enforcement.
Any collective approach to a problem requires, of course, some degree of consensus among the participants on what exactly it is they are approaching -- i.e., where and how to delineate the boundaries of the issue at hand. When the issue is as complex and politically charged as terrorism, and the participants comprise many independent states with quite divergent interests and philosophies, the definitional problems become formidable indeed. The first section of this chapter addresses certain conceptual issues relevant to the problem of defining terrorism and then provides an overview of the ways in which the international community has addressed those problems, particularly in the U.N. context.
Meaningful international cooperation against terrorism requires, however, far more than agreement on how to define the problem in the first instance, important as such agreement is. Whatever norms are ultimately established must be enforced effectively; otherwise, the entire