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Counter-Terrorism Law and Practice: An International Handbook

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International treaties against terrorism and the use of terrorism during armed conflict and by armed forces Daniel O’Donnell Daniel O’Donnell is Attorney and human rights consultant; former Deputy Head of the UN Secretary-General’s Investigative Team to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and former Chief Investigator of the Historical Clarification Commission of Guatemala. Abstract During the second half of the twentieth century the international community, facing the terrorist phenomenon, reacted with the adoption of a series of treaties concerning specific types of terrorist acts, and the obligations of states with regard to them. Alternatively terrorism-oriented legislation, which initially covered only acts affecting civilians, has gradually expanded to cover some acts of terrorism against military personnel and installations. This contribution attempts to assess the repercussions of this evolution on the status and the protection of armed forces engaged in the so-called ‘‘war on terrorism’’ by examining the existing dynamic between these regulations and international humanitarian law. Terrorism is not a new phenomenon. During the second half of the twentieth century many countries in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia confronted movements of the most diverse kinds that had in common the willingness to resort to the use of violence against innocent civilians to obtain their goals. In some, the victims were numbered in the tens of thousands. In response, the international community began to adopt a series of treaties concerning specific types of terrorist act and the obligations of states with regard to them. There are now thirteen international treaties against terrorism, as well as numerous regional treaties, and Volume 88 Number 864 December 2006 853
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the process of drafting a general treaty against international terrorism is nearly complete. Various conflicts around the world have been described as part of a ‘‘war on terrorism’’. If regular armies are indeed engaged in armed conflict with terrorists, what protection do they derive from the international treaties against terrorism? To what extent are international treaties against terrorism applicable to acts committed by armed forces during an armed conflict or occupation? To what extent do these treaties protect armed forces from terrorist attacks in times of peace, and to what extent to they apply to abuses committed in peacetime by military forces? What is the relationship between this branch of international law and international humanitarian law? The international treaties concerning terrorism, their content and scope of application International treaties against terrorism The Convention on Offences and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft, adopted in Tokyo in 1963, is considered to be the first international treaty against terrorism. 1
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شرح معاهØ&

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