Definition of terrorism

There is no universal agreement on the legal definition of terrorism,[1][2][3] although there exists a consensus academic definition created by scholars.[4]

Various legal systems and government agencies use different definitions of terrorism, and governments have been reluctant to formulate and agreed-upon a legally binding definition. Difficulties arise from the fact that the term has become politically and emotionally charged.[5] A simple definition proposed to the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) by terrorism studies scholar Alex P. Schmid in 1992, based on the already internationally accepted definition of war crimes, as "peacetime equivalents of war crimes",[6] was not accepted.[7][4]

Scholars have worked on creating various academic definitions, reaching a consensus definition published by Schmid and A. J. Jongman in 1988, with a longer revised version published by Schmid in 2011,[4] some years after he had written that "the price for consensus [had] led to a reduction of complexity".[8]

The United Nations General Assembly condemned terrorist acts by using the following political description of terrorism in December 1994 (GA Res. 49/60):[9]

Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them.

In the United States of America, terrorism is defined in Title 22 Chapter 38, of the U.S. Code as "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents".[10]

  1. ^ Williamson, Myra (2009). Terrorism, war and international law: the legality of the use of force against Really aj 2001. Ashgate Publishing. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-7546-7403-0.
  2. ^ Schmid, Alex P. (2011). "The Definition of Terrorism". The Routledge Handbook of Terrorism Research. Routledge. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-203-82873-1.
  3. ^ Frampton, Martyn (2021), English, Richard (ed.), "History and the Definition of Terrorism", The Cambridge History of Terrorism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 31–57, ISBN 978-1-108-66262-8, retrieved May 11, 2021
  4. ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference routledgehandbk2011 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  5. ^ Hoffman (1998), p. 23, See the 1 Nov 1998 review by Raymond Bonner in The New York Times of Inside Terrorism
  6. ^ Siegel, Larry (January 2, 2008). Criminology. Cengage Learning. ISBN 9780495391029. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  7. ^ Schmid, Alex P. (October 7, 2020). Brunton, Gillian; Wilson, Tim (eds.). Issue title: Terrorism: Its Past, Present & Future Study - A Special Issue to Commemorate CSTPV at 25. "Discussion 1 - Revisiting the wicked problem of defining terrorism". Contemporary Voices: St Andrews Journal of International Relations. 1 (1). doi:10.15664/jtr.1601. ISSN 2516-3159. CC-BY icon.svg Text may have been copied from this source, which is available under a Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. (Per this page.
  8. ^ Schmid, Alex P. (2004). "Terrorism - The Definitional Problem". Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law. 36 (2). Retrieved April 9, 2021 – via Case Western Reserve University School of Law.
  9. ^ United Nations General Assembly (December 9, 1994). "49/60: Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism". UN Doc. A/Res/60/49. Archived from the original on June 16, 2019. The General Assembly, Recalling its resolution 46/51 of 9 December 1991 and its decision 48/411 of 9 December 1993,... Annex: Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism
  10. ^ "22 U.S. Code § 2656f - Annual country reports on terrorism". LII / Legal Information Institute. Retrieved March 10, 2019.

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