Defining Terrorism: One Man’s Terrorist is Another Man’s Freedom Fighter

Finding a Definition: Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary entry on terrorism. (PHOTO: David Metz).
Finding a Definition: Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary entry on terrorism. (PHOTO: David Metz).

Author: David Metz - Edited by: Giacomo Toffanello

When discussing terrorism, everyone seems to have a clear image of terrorists and what they do. However, devising a generally accepted definition that meets the requirements of use in jurisprudence has proven to be rather difficult. Moreover, the changing face of terror over the centuries and the national interests of states further complicate matters. This article by David Metz, Master student in International Security and Law, seeks to offer an overview of the issues involved in finding a universally accepted legal definition of the term “terrorism” and suggests a way forward.

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The concept of Self-Defence against non-State Actors in International Law and the “Unwilling or Unable” Doctrine

Thick smoke from an airstrike by the US-led coalition rises in Kobani, Syria, as seen from a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab, and its surrounding areas, has been under assault by extremists of the Islamic State group since mid-September and is being defended by Kurdish fighters. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Thick smoke, from an airstrike by the US-led coalition against ISIL militants, rises in Kobani, Syria, on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Author: Giacomo Toffanello

Over the last fifteen years, self-defence has been increasingly used by several governments as a justification to militarily intervene within the sovereignty of another state, especially to target non-state actors such as rebel groups or terrorist organisations; but how can these interventions cope with the prohibition of the use of force stated in the UN Charter? In this article Giacomo Toffanello, a Master’s Student in International Security and Law, will try to answer this question and to give a clearer picture of the legal framework that governs Self-Defence against Non-State Actors.

Continue reading “The concept of Self-Defence against non-State Actors in International Law and the “Unwilling or Unable” Doctrine”