Terrorism as an International Crime: Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s Approach to Definition of International Terrorism

Document Type : Original Article

Authors

1 Professor of International Law, Faculty of Law, Shahid Beheshti University

2 Ph.D. Candidate in International Law, Faculty of Law, Shahid Beheshti University

Abstract

Pursuant to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon's Rules of Evidence and Procedure, on 21 January 2011 Pre-Trial Judge has submitted to the Appeals Chamber some questions of law that require resolution before he can determine whether to confirm the indictment currently before him.
One of the most important questions was about definition of international terrorism. In other word, taking into account the fact that the Statute refers exclusively to the relevant provisions of the Lebanese Criminal Code in order to define the notion of terrorist acts, should the Tribunal also take into account the relevant applicable international law? The Appeals Chamber argued that the narrow interpretation of the "means" element under Lebanese jurisprudence should be interpreted in accordance with the definition of terrorism under international law.
As a first international Tribunal with jurisdiction ratione materiae over the crime of terrorism, STL believes that a customary rule of international law regarding the international crime of terrorism has indeed emerged. This customary rule requires the following three key elements: (i) the perpetration of a criminal act (such as murder, kidnapping, hostage-taking, arson, and so on), or threatening such an act; (ii) the intent to spread fear among the population (which would generally entail the creation of public danger) or directly or indirectly coerce a national or international authority to take some action, or to refrain from taking it; (iii) when the act involves a transnational element.

Keywords


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