Of vanishing points and paradoxes: Terrorism and international humanitarian law

Barnes, R. (2005) Of vanishing points and paradoxes: Terrorism and international humanitarian law. In: International Conflict and Security Law: Essays in Memory of Hilaire McCoubrey. Cambridge University Press, pp. 129-159. ISBN 9780511495137

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511495137.010

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Item Status:Live Archive


In light of the changing scope of international humanitarian law (IHL), this paper considers whether or not IHL can, and should exert, any controlling effect on terrorist activities. It is argued that although IHL can be applied to a number of acts that could be considered to be terrorist, we should be cautious about over-extending its application, first, because IHL is presently limited to certain kinds of conflict, and, second, because its rules are often not appropriate for application in the broader context of a 'war on terror'. However, it is not always easy to categorise outbreaks of violence as international or internal armed conflict, or to identify the status of the actors involved. This can make it difficult to identify the relevant normative framework to regulate the conduct of the affected parties. In the context of terrorism, this problem is exacerbated by the absence of a well-calibrated general regime for controlling terrorist acts and the potential for a hotch pot application of 'anti-terrorist' laws.

Keywords:International law, international humanitarian law, terrorism
Subjects:M Law > M100 Law by area
M Law > M130 Public International Law
Divisions:College of Social Science > Lincoln Law School
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ID Code:41372
Deposited On:11 Sep 2020 11:26

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