- Research Handbooks in International Law series
Edited by Ben Saul
Chapter 7: The international law on terrorist financing
The financing of terrorism gained prominence at the international level only in the mid-1990s, at a time when the alleged state sponsors of terrorism, namely Libya, Syria, Sudan and Iran, effectively stopped financing terrorist groups to commit acts of terrorism, although Iran still finances Hezbollah. All of these nations were under unilateral and Security Council sanctions throughout the 1980s and 1990s as a result of their association with terrorist groups. This typology of state-sponsored terrorism was intended primarily to agitate political foes (Libya) or further political aspirations in particular regions (Syria and Iran in respect of Shi’ite influence in the Middle East). Despite the lack of a definitive international instrument to combat the financing of terrorism – other than by a Security Council Resolution – a few nations adopted legislation that not only criminalized such financing but black-listed the organizations themselves, both recipients and donors. The most prominent example is the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act 1996 (AEDPA) which was used as a vehicle by the US Government to list certain organizations as designated terror organizations, further facilitating the freezing and seizure of terrorist assets. Although many other nations adopted legislation freezing terrorist assets, the AEDPA did not serve as a blueprint.
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