Research Handbook on International Law and Terrorism
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Research Handbook on International Law and Terrorism

Edited by Ben Saul

This Handbook brings together leading scholars and practitioners to examine the prolific body of international laws governing terrorism. It exhaustively covers the global response to terrorism in transnational criminal law, the international law on the use of force, international humanitarian law, international human rights law, the law of State responsibility, the United Nations Security Council, General Assembly, UN specialised bodies, and regional organisations. It also addresses special legal issues in dealing with terrorism such as gender, religion, victims of terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and customary law.
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Chapter 17: Terrorism, war crimes and the International Criminal Court

Roberta Arnold


Over a decade since the adoption of the Rome Statute for an International Criminal Court (ICC) in 1998, this chapter considers whether the jurisprudential developments after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks may have paved the way to prosecute acts of terrorism as an international crime within the ICC’s jurisdiction. Following the launching of the United States’ ‘war on terror’ against Al Qaeda in response to 9/11, lawyers had to be creative to identify the applicable legal regime and to discern, in particular, whether acts of terrorism may be prosecuted under the international law of armed conflict (LOAC). This chapter first examines the jurisprudence of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) to assess whether, notwithstanding the initial exclusion of a separate crime of terrorism from the ICC’s jurisdiction, there may be new legal arguments that terrorism may be prosecuted as a war crime under Article 8 of the ICC Statute. Part 2 gives an overview of the applicable legal framework and the limits set by the ICC Statute; Part 3 then examines the existing jurisprudence supporting the view that acts of terrorism may be prosecuted as war crimes; and Part 4 draws this chapter’s conclusions.

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