Journal Article

The Universal Terrorist

Thomas Weigend

in Journal of International Criminal Justice

Volume 4, issue 5, pages 912-932
Published in print November 2006 | ISSN: 1478-1387
Published online November 2006 | e-ISSN: 1478-1395 | DOI:
The Universal Terrorist

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Steps have been taken on the international level towards determining a widely acceptable definition of terrorism as a basis for international conventions. One basic distinction in this context is between state-sponsored ‘official’ terrorism and individual terrorism directed against those in power. With respect to ‘individual’ terrorism, a widely accepted definition refers to acts or threats of violence committed with the intention to intimidate a population in furtherance of some non-economic goal. The old problem of distinguishing terrorists from legitimate freedom fighters has been alleviated but not yet totally resolved. Another issue concerns the question of whether to exempt actions of and/or directed against armed forces from the definition of terrorism. Overbreadth rather than vagueness is a problem of many current definitions of terrorism: since they include as ‘base offences’ less serious violations of individual or communal interests and even the mere intention or threat to commit them, they fail to reserve the stigma of terrorism to those offences that truly threaten the social fabric.

Journal Article.  10983 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law ; International Law

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