Edited by Ben Saul
This chapter examines the legal relationship between terrorism and other transnational crimes. It considers how terrorist groups instrumentally commit other transnational crimes in order to support their terrorist activities, as well as when terrorist acts can qualify as other transnational crimes. The overlap and differentiation between terrorism and transnational organized crime is explored by reference to the UN Transnational Organized Crime Convention 2000 (UNTOC) and its three protocols on human trafficking, migrant smuggling, and firearms trafficking. In particular, the chapter examines the distinction between politically motivated terrorism and the financial or material benefit that is central to the definition under the UNTOC. Beyond the UNTOC, the chapter then investigates the relationship between terrorism and a cluster of more disparate transnational crimes, including drug trafficking, illicit trafficking in cultural property, illicit exploitation of natural resources and environmental crimes, and kidnapping for ransom. The chapter identifies gaps in existing legal regimes.
This chapter focuses on the fundamental threshold issue when IHL applies to violence involving terrorism or terrorist groups, in the context of international or non-international armed conflicts. It includes a discussion of the particularly complex problem of ‘transnational’ violence and the geographical and temporal scope of hostilities. The chapter then briefly considers the legal consequences of the classification of conflicts, as regards targeting of ‘terrorists’ (as members of armed groups or as civilians otherwise taking a direct part in hostilities), security detention, substantive criminal liabilities (including the relationship of IHL to the offences under the international counter-terrorism conventions), and the procedure of criminal trials. It concludes with some observations about the impact of international counter-terrorism law on the effectiveness of IHL, including its balance between military necessity and humanitarian protection. This chapter argues that the challenge of contemporary terrorism has principally impelled a clarification of existing IHL norms but without generating terrorism-specific rules or refashioning the basic norms of IHL.
This chapter examines two shifts in counter-terrorism discourse within the United Nations, designed to prevent terrorism: (1) greater attention to the ‘conditions conductive to terrorism’ (replacing the contested language of ‘root causes’), complementing the traditional reactive emphasis on criminal suppression of terrorism; and (2) a related broadening of counter-terrorism discourse into an overlapping agenda to ‘prevent violent extremism’ (PVE) where conducive to terrorism. These trends are reflected in the UN General Assembly’s Global Counter-terrorism Strategy of 2006 and the Secretary General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violence Extremism of 2015. The advantages of these new approaches are discussed (including a renewed emphasis on the protection of human rights and the rule of law), while acknowledging a range of conceptual and practical limitations, including how the new language in some respects simply shifts the terrain of contestation into new concepts.