War Crimes and the Conduct of Hostilities
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War Crimes and the Conduct of Hostilities

Challenges to Adjudication and Investigation

Edited by Fausto Pocar, Marco Pedrazzi and Micaela Frulli

Most charges for war crimes are brought for violations of the rules on the treatment of protected persons in armed conflict situations. However in certain cases, they are brought for serious breach of international humanitarian law rules governing the conduct of hostilities. This book seeks to address this somewhat neglected area of international criminal law.
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Chapter 14: International terrorism, the law of war and the negotiation of a UN comprehensive convention

Giuseppe Nesi


More than ten years have elapsed since the UN General Assembly (UNGA) decided, after the conclusion and entry into force of several sectorial conventions on terrorism, to start negotiations on a comprehensive convention on terrorism. The draft comprehensive convention was aimed at criminalizing certain violent acts committed with the intent of terrorizing the civilian population, or obliging a State or an entity to do or not to do certain acts, as well as establishing the framework for international judicial cooperation prohibiting terrorism. Immediately the negotiators faced a series of controversial issues centered on the definition and the scope of application of the convention, which being ‘comprehensive’ should cover the above-mentioned conduct both during armed conflicts and peacetime. The comprehensive convention was obviously intended to fill all gaps in the criminalization of terrorism. The characterization of using violence or an armed attack during an armed conflict was one of the main unresolved issues because, depending on the circumstances, IHL may qualify an attack either as a means of warfare or a terrorist act.

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