Terrorism and the International Court of Justice


Terrorism and the International Court of Justice
I. History of International Terrorism
II. State Sponsored Terrorism

A. Iran

B. Sudan

III. Benefits Derived From Terrorism

A. Inexpensive and ability to advance ideologies

B. Fear

C. Publicity

D. Minimal risk

E. Lack of public defeat

IV. Aspects of Terrorism

A. Technological advances

B. Weapons of mass destruction

C. Cyber terrorism

D. Suicide bombing

V. Islamic Terrorist Organizations

A. Islamic Jihad

B. Al-Gama’a ai-Islamiyyah

C. Hamas

D. Hizballah

E. Usamah Bin Laden

1. Status of Bin-Laden

2. Applicability of International Law

a. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Internationally Protected Persons

b. International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings

c. Organization of the Islamic Conference

3. International Court of Justice Ruling

4. Discussion of Ruling and Questions

a. Were all other options considered before imposing sanctions?

b. Who has jurisdiction over Usamah Bin Laden?

c. Should Bin Laden be extradited?

d. Is it legal to impose sanctions on the Taliban?

VI. United States’ Terrorism Policy

A. Make no deals

B. Must be held accountable in a court of law

C. Isolate and apply pressure to states that sponsor terrorism

VII. Conclusion

International terrorism has changed in structure and design over the centuries. Jewish zealots conducted campaigns against the Romans in the first century AD, and the Hashshashin, a Shi’ah Muslim group who gave us the word assassin, systematically murdered those in positions and leadership during the 19th century (CSIS 1999: NP). The modern age of terrorism began in the 1960’s. International terrorism in its current form began in 1968. As the 1970’s passed by, the explosion of extremist groups and related incidents sparked a new awareness of the dangers of terrorism. In the 1980’s, Canada was the victim of several terrorist attacks carried out by Armenian and Sikh extremists, including a bombing of an Air India flight originating in Toronto, which exploded off the coast of Ireland, killing 329 people (CSIS 1999: NP).

The 1995 Sarin gas attack by the Aum Shinrikyo Cult in a Tokyo subway marked a new threshold in international terrorism. For the first time, people began to realize that similar groups could use weapons of mass destruction or plan attacks to inflict maximum casualties. The long-term effects of exposure are yet to be determined, but preliminary tests of eighteen victims conducted in January 1998 showed that their sense of balance was affected by the nerve gas (ACOEM 1998: NP).

Terrorism, as defined by Title 22 of the United States code, section 2656f(d), is the "pre-meditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience." Islamic terrorism is a serious problem for the United States because of the threat to national security, innocent civilians, and the foundations of democratic societies throughout the world (1997 Global Terrorism: NP).

Most of the Islamic world perceives the West, especially the United States, as the foremost corrupting influence on the Islamic world today. The Hizballah, an Iranian terrorist group, have labeled the United States as "the Great Satan" (Sinha. “Pakistan-The Chief Patron-Promoter of Islamic Militancy and Terrorism”: NP). This growing animosity that Islamic nations feel toward the Western world has been continually demonstrated by the increase in international terrorism. However, Muslims view their actions as acts of self-defense and religious duty and not as terrorism. The Islamic radical movements main success has been their ability to gain legitimacy from the general public (Paz 1998: NP). During the past two decades, they have had enormous success with their ability to present themselves to the Arab and Muslim world as the true bearers of Islam. They appeal to the lower class due to the shared resentment of wealthy westerners while the middle class and intellectuals are drawn toward these radical groups in order to expel imported ideologies and forms of government (State Department. “Anti-US Attacks” 1997: NP). Radical Islamic organizations have declared a holy war, Jihad, in order to bring the Arab world together and take their place as a world power. In order to accomplish these goals, Islamic radicals have mainly used terrorism as their main instrument of persuasion.
The largest and most active terrorist organizations are those which are state funded. These organizations act as both an overt and covert way of spreading the sponsor countries ideologies. The U.S. Secretary of