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

Edited by Ben Saul

This newly revised and updated second edition provides a comprehensive overview of international counter-terrorism law and practice. Brand new and revised chapters provide critical commentary on the law from leading scholars and practitioners in the field, including new topics for this edition such as foreign terrorist fighters, the nexus between organized crime and terrorism, and the prevention of violent extremism.
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Chapter 6: Nuclear, chemical and biological terrorism in international law

David Fidler


The potential for terrorists to develop, acquire, or use biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons has been one of the most important security issues of the post-Cold War era. This chapter analyses the threat of terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD). It begins by reviewing policy responses to WMD terrorism and describing how states used international law to address WMD and terrorism during the Cold War. The chapter then catalogues the emergence of WMD terrorism in the post-Cold War period and the impact this development has had on international law. Specifically, it analyses how states (1) adapted and applied traditional international law on WMD and terrorism to WMD terrorism; (2) developed new instruments and strategies targeting WMD terrorism; (3) launched new ‘soft law’ initiatives against WMD terrorism; and (4) responded to the use of chemical weapons by state actors and terrorist groups in recent armed conflicts in the Middle East.

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