Law and Terrorism - LAW 262

This course will provide a systematic study of the legal definition and responses to terrorism. The course will discuss the causes and consequences of international and domestic terrorism, and explore the responses of International Law and certain national legal systems to the practices of terrorism. The course will start with a historical overview of practices that could be identified as terroristic in nature, such as assassinations, piracy, kidnapping, and banditry. It will then focus on terrorism, as a theoretical concept, and the efforts to formulate legal definitions of terrorism in International Law. In this context, the course will analyze the discourses on the right to self-determination, both in domestic and international contexts. Part of this inquiry will focus on the history and theory of political crimes, and whether such crimes are distinguishable from common criminal acts.
A significant part of understanding the idea of political crimes will be to discuss the theories of the economic and social reasons for terrorism, and what some have called the “pathologies of terrorism” of the psychology of terrorism. The course will also study the arguments for and against the idea of state terrorism (the idea that states can commit the crime of terrorism by economic or military warfare). The second half of the course will focus on international and national responses to terrorism. In examining the international responses to terrorism, the course will analyze several international instruments, such as the hijacking convention and the convention for the protection of diplomats, which seek to combat specific acts of terrorism. Also studied will be the liability of states for state-sponsored terrorism and rights of victims to compensation.
Language of Instruction: English (legal terms, however, are also given in Arabic and French).