29 B. C. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 23 (2006)
Defining Terrorism: The Evolution of Terrorism as a Legal Concept in International Law and Its Influence on Definitions in Domestic Legislation

handle is hein.journals/bcic29 and id is 29 raw text is: DEFINING TERRORISM: THE EVOLUTION
OF TERRORISM AS A LEGAL CONCEPT IN
INTERNATIONAL LAW AND ITS
INFLUENCE ON DEFINITIONS IN
DOMESTIC LEGISLATION
REUVEN YOUNG*
Abstract: This Article examines the evolution of the definition of terror-
ism at international law and tests the widely held view that international
law does not provide a definition of terrorism. It contends that by ab-
stracting from the common elements and themes present in the United
Nations General Assembly and Security Council resolutions concerning
terrorism, and the multi-lateral anti-terrorism converltions, treaties, and
protocols, one can discern a core international law definition of terror-
ism. The Article then compares this definition to those in the domestic
legal systems of the United States, United Kingdom, India, and New
Zealand to determine whether (1) international law was influential in
the drafting of these definitions or in the anti-terrorism legislative pro-
cess generally and (2) these definitions are consistent with the inter-
national law definition discerned from the existing sources of interna-
tional law relating to terrorism. It concludes that until a customary
international law rule prohibiting terrorism emerges or a comprehen-
sive terrorism convention is concluded, states should draw on the inter-
national law definition of terrorism when drafting their domestic anti-
terrorism legislation for legal and policy reasons, including to enhance
the protection of human rights. The Article also examines the history of
the development of the international law anti-terrorism instruments and
the development of a comprehensive terrorism convention and model
domestic legislation, and serves as a study of the implementation or
incorporation of international law treaty obligations into domestic law in
the context of terrorism.
* Associate, Davis Polk & Wardwell, New York. This Article is based on a paper that was
a co-recipient of the Laylin Prize at Harvard Law School in 2004. The author thanks Pro-
fessor Detlev Vagts for his advice and his comments on the draft of that paper, and Katie
Young and Scott Sheeran for their comments and suggestions. The views expressed in this
Article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Davis
Polk & Wardwell or those who commented on drafts of this Article.

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