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Cassese's International Criminal Law

Cassese's International Criminal Law (3rd edn)

Antonio Cassese and Paola Gaeta
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date: 08 February 2023

8. Terrorismlocked

8. Terrorismlocked

  • Antonio Cassese,
  • Paola Gaeta,
  • Laurel Baig,
  • Mary Fan,
  • Christopher Gosnell
  •  and Alex Whiting


Terrorism, as in the case of torture and aggression, is often treated as outside the ‘core crimes’ bracket of deserving international criminal adjudication. Many states believe that terrorism is better investigated and prosecuted at the state level by individual or joint enforcement and judicial action. This view is strengthened by the feeling that the concept of terrorism is still controversial at the international level because it is widely held that there is no agreement yet on what some states deem to be a necessary exception to the crime. This chapter examines the reasons why the traditional wisdom is that a generally agreed definition on terrorism as an international crime is lacking. It argues instead that many factors point to the existence of such agreed definition, at least for terrorism in time of peace. The legal ingredients of terrorism as an international crime are therefore analyzed.

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