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Counter-Terrorism Law and Practice: An International Handbook

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S PECIAL I SSUE The E.U.’s Definition of Terrorism: The Council Frame- work Decision on Combating Terrorism By Eugenia Dumitriu * A. Introduction Terrorist acts have, for a long time, constituted a major concern for the international community. Yet the definition of terrorism has represented an area of international law where the divergence of views between States was significant. For some, the protection of the State 1 and of the democratic values of the society laid at the heart of the debate, whereas others were more concerned with the risk of an unjustified repression of “freedom fighters.” 2 These approaches, although apparently complementary, have proved to be irreconcilable in practice. At the United Nations’ level, this division of the international community prevented the emergence of a consensus over a horizontal definition of terrorism. This situation,- * Ph.D. candidate (Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva), DEA International Law (Gradu- ate Institute of International Studies, Geneva), LL.M. European Legal Studies (College of Europe, Bruges). 1 For a long period of time, only acts of terrorism targeting States were discussed at the international level. Acts of terrorism imputable to States were not part of the debate. See Draft Article 11(4)(b) of the Draft Code of Offences against the Peace and Security of Mankind (1986 version), which addresses solely terrorist acts targeting States or international organisations: “The following constitute terrorist acts: (i) any act causing death or grievous bodily harm or loss of freedom to a head of State, persons exercising the prerogatives of the head of State, the hereditary or designated successors to a head of State, the spouses of such persons, or persons charged with public functions or holding public positions when the act is directed against them in their public capacity; (ii) acts calculated to destroy or damage public property or property devoted to a public purpose; (iii) any act calculated to endanger the lives of members of the public through fear of a common danger, in particular the seizure of aircraft, the taking of hostages and any other form of violence directed against persons who enjoy international protection or diplomatic immunity; (iv) the manufacture, obtaining, possession or supplying of arms, ammunition, explosives or harmful substances with a view to the commission of terrorist acts” ([1986] 1 Y.B. Int’l L. Comm’n 84). 2 On the 25 September 1972, during the twenty-seventh session of the United Nations’ General Assembly, the United States of America brought in a draft convention on terrorism (U.N. Doc. A/CN.6/L.850). The failure of this project is due in particular to the fact that some delegations from Third World countries insisted on the need of studying the causes of terrorism before drafting a convention on this issue.
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586 [Vol. 05 No. 05 GERMAN LAW JOURNAL paradoxically did not impede the adoption of several international conventions
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