International Laws to control terrorism

Dr. Subhra Sanyal makes a diagnostic analysis of the laws of different countries tackling terrorism and puts into perspective this complicated relationship.



Abstract

Terrorism has become a world wide phenomena yet the world has failed to reach a legal definition of terrorism. Even today there is no single universal definition. The UN member states still have no agreed definition. This has become a major obstacle to meaningful international counter measures. Without a clear definition the international community is hard pressed to combat a problem which it cannot with an assurance identity. Cynics have often commented that one states “terrorists” is another states “freedom fighter”. In this way the fight against terrorism will always suffer from “cultural relativism”. (Ganor, 2001). The free world must understand that cultural relativism applied to terrorism irrespective of their goals will lead only to more terrorism.


Limitations in the international laws are many in numbers. It has been accepted by legal experts that the international law is not effective when it comes to dealing with terrorists and international terrorism. Some terrorists are killed and others are captured who are at times not even brought, instead quietly dispersed to some safe haven. Even the states response towards the definition or the basic legal concepts of terrorism remained confused. Worse still, how might a definition impact seeming terrorist acts by a state’s armed forces? It’s a million dollar question said Subramaniam (2002) to know how far special laws would be of use in containing the menace of cross border terrorism. Terrorism has to be fought according to the rule of law and combating terrorism must be legal. The United Nation has made a concerted effort to arrive at a consensus definition of terrorism and it has been surveyed that all states desire that UN should play a more significant role in controlling terrorism.


The present paper has taken two salient issues for discussion. They are (1) the definition of terrorism as given in various acts (2) the activities identified as terrorism. To obtain an in depth knowledge the anti-terrorist acts of certain countries are studied and the commonalties and the non-commonalties between the different acts are identified. The aim is to make a diagnostic analysis of the laws of different countries with the help of content analysis. Countries like United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Israel, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are studied. They are selected on the basic of their vulnerability to terrorism in the last few decades.

The paper concludes that (1) that all countries discussed mentioned that the use of threat or action meant to disturb the national integrity and sovereignty were terrorism (11) any an organizations involved in promoting these activities were considered as terrorist organizations. Thirdly there is a growing appreciation that acts of terrorism and political violence are distinct genres and should be dealt separately.


Introduction


Terrorism has become a world wide phenomena yet the world has failed to reach a legal definition of terrorism. Even today there is no single universal definition. The UN member states still have no agreed definition. This has become a major obstacle to meaningful international counter measures. Without a clear definition the international community is hard pressed to combat a problem which it cannot with an assurance identity. Cynics have often commented that one states “terrorists” is another stat4es “freedom fighter”. In this way the fight against terrorism will always suffer from “cultural relativism”. (Ganor, 2001). The free world must understand that cultural relativism applied to terrorism irrespective of their goals will lead only to more terrorism. Limitations in the international laws are many in numbers. It has been accepted by legal experts that the international law is not effective when it comes to dealing with terrorists and international terrorism. Some terrorists are killed and others are captured who are at times not even brought, instead quietly dispersed to some safe haven. Even the states response towards the definition or the basic legal concepts of terrorism remained confused Worse still, how might a definition impact seeming terrorist acts by a state’s armed forces ?. It’s a million dollar question said Subramaniam (2002) to know how far special laws would be of use in containing the menace of cross border terrorism. Terrorism has to be fought according to the rule of law and combating terrorism must be legal. The United Nation has made a concerted effort to arrive at a consensus definition of terrorism and it has been surveyed that all states desire that UN should play a more significant role in controlling terrorism. The present paper has taken two salient issues for discussion. They are (1) the definition of terrorism as given in various acts (2) the activities identified as terrorism. To obtain an in depth knowledge the anti-terrorist acts of certain countries are studied and the commonalties and the non-commonalties between the different acts are identified. The aim is to make a diagnostic analysis of the laws of different counteies with the help of content analysis. Countries like United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Israel, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are studied. They are selected on the basic of their vulnerability to terrorism in the last few decades. The paper concludes that (1) that all countries discussed mentioned that the use of threat or action meant to disturb the national integrity and sovereignty were terrorism (11) any an organizations involved in promoting these activities were considered as terrorist organizations. Thirdly there is a growing appreciation that acts of terrorism and political violence are distinct genres and should be dealt separately.


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Suggested Citation:

Sanyal, Shubhra, International Laws to Control Terrorism : A Comparative Study (September 14, 2015). AAKROSH Asian Journal On Terrorism and Internal Conflicts, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3232739 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3232739

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