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Self-defence against terrorism in the post 9/11 world

Garwood-Gowers, Andrew (2004) Self-defence against terrorism in the post 9/11 world. Queensland University of Technology Law and Justice Journal, 4(2), pp. 167-184.

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Abstract

In 1986 the then United States Secretary of State George Shultz asserted that:

It is absurd to argue that international law prohibits us from capturing terrorists in international waters or airspace; from attacking them on the soil of other nations, even for the purpose of rescuing hostages; or from using force against states that support, train and harbor terrorists or guerrillas.

At that time the United States’ claim of a right to use military force in self-defence against terrorism2 received little support from other states.3 The predominant view then was that terrorist attacks committed by private or non-state actors were a form of criminal activity to be combated through domestic and international criminal justice mechanisms. The notion that such terrorist acts should be treated as ‘armed attacks’ triggering a victim state’s right of self-defence was not accepted by the majority of states. To suggest, as Shultz had done, that a state not directly responsible for terrorist acts could have its territorial integrity violated by military action targeting terrorists located within that state, was a controversial proposition in 1986. However, some fifteen years later, when the United States and a coalition of allies launched a military campaign in Afghanistan following the 11 September 2001 (hereafter ‘9/11’) terrorist attacks, there was virtually unanimous international support for the use of force.

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ID Code: 42372
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional URLs:
Keywords: international law, self-defence , terrorism, non-state actors
ISSN: 1445-6230
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 Queensland University of Technology & Andrew Garwood-Gowers
Deposited On: 06 Jul 2011 07:34
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2011 19:37

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