7 UCLA J. Int'l L. & Foreign Aff. 169 (2002-2003)
Terrorism as a Crime against Humanity and Genocide: The Backdoor to Universal Jurisdiction

handle is hein.journals/jilfa7 and id is 177 raw text is: TERRORISM AS A CRIME AGAINST
James D. Fry*
On November 26, 2001, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell
declared that the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in
New York City and on the Pentagon in Washington D.C. were not just
a crime against the United States, but a crime against humanity.
The absence of similar statements by other U.S. and world policymak-
ers suggests that the classification of these terrorist attacks as a crime
against humanity is not yet policy. Equally surprising is the fact that
these policymakers have not used the word genocide, a separate
crime from crimes against humanity, to describe these terrorist at-
tacks even though it seems fitting. Besides providing politicians with
new superlatives in their rhetoric, there are two benefits to classifying
terrorism as either a crime against humanity or genocide. First, it
allows large-scale acts of terrorism to be viewed in their proper
light-as crimes against humanity or as genocide-when the requisite
elements are present. Indeed, all of the elements for these crimes are
satisfied in the September 11 attacks. Second, it facilitates the prose-
cution of terrorists by all states because universal jurisdiction is
available with crimes against humanity and genocide, whereas it is
unavailable with terrorism since it lacks a universal definition. As
states gain access to universal jurisdiction by redefining terrorism in
this manner, the chances for prosecuting and deterring terrorists
This Comment is divided into five sections. Section I sets out the
theoretical framework by explaining the scope and purpose of univer-
* J.D. Candidate, 2002, Georgetown University Law Center; M.I.A., 2001, Columbia Uni-
versity; B.A., 1998, Brigham Young University. The author wishes to thank Professors Jon Drim-
mer, David Koplow and Stephen Mathias for their invaluable guidance and wisdom, and his wife
and parents for their constant encouragement and support. As a native New Yorker, the author
dedicates this Comment to those who lost their lives and loved ones in the tragic September II

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