Chapter

The Nature and Definition of Terrorism

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Abstract

International terrorism is not a new phenomenon. Indeed, the origin of the word ‘terrorism’ dates back to the French Revolution of 1789 as the label used by the establishment to describe the conduct of revolutionaries.1 Terrorism has likewise been a subject of concern for the United Nations since the 1960s, following a series of aircraft hijackings. Some would argue that terrorism has entered a new phase at around the time of 11 September 2001: an age where transnational activity has intensified and become easier, and where technology and the media can be taken advantage of by terrorist entities to further the impact of terrorist conduct and the delivery of messages or fear-inducing images.2

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... This difference in the definition could vary from a state or group to another: Even though violence is associated to the human nature and history (Giorgi, 2001), the origin of the word "terrorism" dates to a more recent history, namely to the French Revolution of 1789. In the so-called "Reign of Terror" (or simply "Terror"), the ruling Jacobins employed violence for a period of eleven months (September 5, 1793 -July 28, 1794) to intimidate the regime's enemies (Conte, 2010;Stephens, 2004). Modern terrorism rose in the twentieth century, and only then it began to be associated with nonstate groups (Miller 2012). ...
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... There is no agreed definition of terrorism, either among experts or within the international community more generally. An analysis of the factors that make defining terrorism so difficult is beyond the scope of the present article; a num‑ ber of renowned scholars have been involved in this effort, and the reader is referred to their findings (Graborsky – Stohl 2010, Martin 2013, Schmid 2011). The main causes are the normative viewpoints assumed and the heterogeneity of the phenomena described as terrorism. ...
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Chapter
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The first part of this chapter examines Canada's new Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) that was quickly enacted in the months after September 11 and compares it to Canada's previous response to terrorism. This section focuses on the breadth of the definition of terrorism in the new law, its reliance on executive proscription of groups, its authorization of novel investigative powers and its status as permanent legislation. The second part of this chapter, examines how Canada's immigration law has been used to detain and deport suspected terrorists in a manner that challenges due process and equality values. It also examine how Canada's immigration policy with respect to refugees has been influenced by anti-terrorism concerns and relations with the United States.Finally, the last part of the chapter examines the likely effectiveness of Canadian anti-terrorism law and policy and a new and promising direction in Canada's approach to security.
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Article
The author examines Canada's new Anti-terrorism Act enacted in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The first part assesses whether the existing criminal law was adequate to deal with the threat of terrorism. The second part examines the crucial definitions of terrorist activities and terrorist groups that have been added to Canadian criminal law and whether these definitions satisfy constitutional requirements of legality, specificity, the presumption of innocence and respect for freedom of expression and association. The third part outlines the many new criminal offences of financing and facilitating terrorism that have been added to Canada's Criminal Code, as well as the increased punishment available for terrorism offences. The final part examines the enhanced investigative powers for terrorism and whether they will be used in a manner that involves discriminatory profiling that targets people because of their religion or race.
Article
In this article the authors review a number of recent legislative efforts to define 'terrorism' in common law jurisdictions and, on the basis of that review, make several recommendations as to the way in which that concept should be defined. These are, broadly: that a general and not a specific approach be adopted; that specific exceptions be made in favour of advocacy and civil protest; and, finally, that legislation should remain the primary means of defining terrorism.
Article
Controversy has erupted in many jurisdictions about the inclusion of a motive element in the criminal law definition of terrorism, in particular whether reference to a political, religious or ideological purpose or cause unjustifiably interferes in freedom of expression and freedom of religion, or invites racial or religious discrimination. This article argues that a compelling reason for including a motive element in an international or domestic definition of terrorist offences is that it helps to differentiate terrorism from other kinds of serious violence which may also generate fear (such as common assault, armed robbery, rape, or murder), while also according with commonplace public understanding of what constitutes terrorism. As such, the criminal law should recognise this distinction in defining terrorism, so as to more accurately express what is considered by the international and national communities to be distinctively wrongful about terrorism. Inevitably, this view reflects judgments of policy, politics and ethics, which may not be shared by all; but it is the critical impulse underlying arguments for including motive in definitions of terrorism.
Article
This article offers an overview and appraisal of efforts by the international community to respond to terrorism through the principles and institutions of international criminal law. It begins by considering the vexed issue of defining terrorism and, after briefly exploring the history of efforts to devise a general definition, assesses some problematic features of recent formulations of a universal offense of terrorism. It then assesses the coterie of United Nations conventions adopted since the 1960s. By criminalizing specific terrorist activities including hijacking, hostage-taking, bombing, and terrorist financing, these conventions have avoided difficult questions as to the quintessence of terrorism, and instead have sought to suppress particular types of terrorist violence. The most significant innovation of the UN conventions is the establishment of a mandatory machinery for the prosecution and extradition of terrorist suspects.
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(Il)legalità internazionale
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