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You searched for: Content Type Journal Article Remove constraint Content Type: Journal Article Publishing Institution European Journal of International Law Remove constraint Publishing Institution: European Journal of International Law Topic International Cooperation Remove constraint Topic: International Cooperation
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  • Author: Marcello Di Filippo
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: Notwithstanding the emphasis placed on the need for concerted international action to confront the problem of terrorism, positive international law is far from treating the issue of defining the criminal notion of terrorism coherently; the discussion of such a notion is being made hostage [sic!] to the abuse of the term 'terrorism' in the course of the debate and to the confusion between an empirical description of a phenomenon and its treatment under criminal law. Proposing a core-definition approach, this article elaborates a notion based upon the basic rights of civilians and on the unacceptability of their violation by terrorist methods carried out by private organized groups. The definition proposed here, which does not recognize in the perpetrator's motivations any material relevance because of the overwhelming importance of the value infringed, is able to minimize the relevance of some abused arguments (such as state terrorism or the treatment of 'freedom fighters'), could quickly gain customary status and would prove useful in interpretation and in drafting exercises, both at international and national level. As for the inclusion of terrorism in the category of international crimes, it is submitted that two interpretive options are open: to consider the category of crimes against humanity as already able to embrace core terrorism; or to place the strong rationale underlying the stigmatization of terrorist crimes in the perspective of the gradual emerging of a discrete international crime of terrorism. National case law seems to point to the latter option, but the question does not appear settled: for this reason, the discussion regarding the prospect of an amendment to the ICC Statute expressly to include terrorist crimes continues to be of interest. An express inclusion could be useful to avoid doubts or discrepancies at national level and to solve some outstanding issues of the international community's criminal policy.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Terrorism, Law