Law: Sample Research Paper on International Law and Terrorism

International Law and Terrorism

Terrorism is a serious threat that currently interferes with peace in nearly all regions of the world. Although not a new problem to the international context, the contributions by the United States of America has led to a considerable rethinking of the international politics and law of terrorism due to the 9/11 attacks, which brought ramifications globally. It can be noted that the 9/11 attacks were the turning point in the war against terrorism and terror-related activities. The attack believed to have been orchestrated by the notorious Osama bin Laden; the Al Qaeda leader, caused massive civilian casualty (Galicki, 2005). Thus, terrorism is a critical threat to international peace, which needs serious international laws to address the situation. Nonetheless, some unresolved matters within the international law still jeopardize the war on  terrorism. Terrorism is a multifaceted and demanding situation to deal with. In as far as the international body firmly predestines the act of terror activities, determinations to handle this scenario are strained by opinion differences and competing concerns. Numerous principal issues remain unresolved, and the quest for answers has become multifaceted due to the emerging nature of terrorism (Greenwood, 2002). Moreover, the international community grapples with how to decipher reports of international law and well-elaborated global security on how to condemn terrorism in ways that prosperously eliminate the detrimental impacts and ramifications of terrorism and terror-related activities (Galicki, 2005). Even though terrorism straightly affects human rights, countries have taken numerous measures to mitigate terrorism, and many of these actions have brought a concern to international law in the interest to address the menace that currently faces the world. For example, some nations have employed measures like torture and other unpolished actions in the war on terrorism, ignoring uproars from autonomous legal bodies responsible for identifying and preventing torture. Similarly, other countries have been alleged to sponsoring acts of terror (Greenwood, 2002). Subsequently, these actions have breached the international law of non-refoulement where reverence of global security guideline is far from its role in the international war on terror. This infers that an urgent urge to establish domestic or global counter-terrorism approaches, which not only prevents and bring to books those perpetuating this horrendous act but also bolstering and protecting human rights within the international jurisprudence (Galicki, 2005). Thus, terrorism in the framework of international law forms the central theme of this research.

Terrorism within the face of international law

In the face of the global law, the word terrorism has elicited various ways of defining this term. Under the international security law, this phenomenon has been articulated in different treaties in view to mitigating various acts of terrorism. The rules governing the usage of force have been useful to regimes as well as organizations that condemn terror networks, where nations have come up with mechanisms within the global context of counter-terrorism (Greenwood, 200). Under international law, terrorism can be described as any form of criminal act calculated or intended to cause a state of terror to the public, groups, or individuals for various political motives (Young, 2006). Therefore, terrorism derails the fundamental values placed at United Nations (UN) and other international agencies that encompass peace in conflict resolution, the safety of civilians, and respect of every human right, etc. (Kellogg, 2005). The adverse consequences of terrorism are well documented and noted at the UN, especially the UN Security Council and UN General Assembly (Galicki, 2005). Precisely, the member states have explicitly accepted that acts of terrorism are the real threat to international security, places the lives of every innocent citizen at risk, endangers the basic freedoms, creates a horrendous environment, infringe human rights, as well as the fundamental rule of law (Kellogg, 2005).

In addition, any act of terrorism is intensely associated with some form of organized crimes like money laundering, human and drug trafficking (Galicki, 2005). In fact, the UN high-level delegation of challenges, threats, and change has consistently reported that terrorism thrives in an environment of despair, poverty, humiliation, human rights violations, extremism, and political oppression. It also thrives in backgrounds of regional conflicts and profits from the weak nation capability to ensure sustainable laws and order (Galicki, 2005).

The Usage of Force against Organizations and Regimes Which Support Terrorism

The context of international law that governs the usage of force across boundaries exists in Article 2(4) in the UN Charter on the use of armed force (Byers, 2002). Thus, the UN Security Council have to establish that the act or threat to global security and peace has taken place, then ratify the execution of force in the bid to restoring international safety. International law concerning terrorism has been complicated in many ways in ensuring that the criminal acts of terrorism are contained and mitigated in a manner under the rule of law (Greenwood, 2002). Some states have been reported to be supporting terror organization and these acts undermine international legislation in the war against terrorism (Byers, 2002). In this regard, the international law offers a robust framework within which counter-terrorism plans at the national level can occur to permit countries to cooperate efficiently with one another in averting and combating any form of terrorism. The framework encompasses instruments specific for counter-terrorism measures together with other international parameters for designed for protecting human rights in the wider contexts of international law (Greenwood, 2002). In addition, international law imposes obligations and duties on countries on their affairs with other nations as well as international bodies (Byers, 2002).

Organizations and Regimes that support or fund terror related activities and terrorism generally violate the international laws. Some nations also resort to force or military in the fight on terrorism, a situation that may be criticized by other agencies or states (Young, 2006). For instance, the United States has maintained that the war carried out in Iraq was justified and legal as a preventive attack within the paradigm of international law (Charney, 2001). The US also advanced certain legal justification that the military action was legal within the contexts of UN Security Council Resolutions, where it cites that Iraq failed to conform with the of UN Security Council Resolutions number 1441. In the Resolution 1441, UN Security Council established that Iraq committed a material violation of the resolutions and offered it the last chance to conform to the disarmament obligations (Charney, 2001). The Council also added that Iraq could face grave consequences due to its continuous breach of the obligations. The United Kingdom and U.S regarded it within their efforts to establish when the failure to conform would be functional and how the grave consequences would occur (Kellogg, 2005).

Law Enforcement Reactions to Terrorism

Under the international paradigm, an act of terrorism is regarded as the global criminal behavior instead of an act of war (Young, 2006). Based on treaties of international law, parties to the agreement are required to criminalize any form of terrorism and come up with effective ways of collaboration with other nations to detain, arraign, and punish the individuals responsible for such atrocious acts. After the 9/11 attack, the United States has been active in the war against terrorism, and it has been developing and strengthening the laws that help in combating terrorism. For instance, in 2001, Ashcroft, Attorney-General mentioned that they should find the persons responsible for the cowardly acts and carry out justice (Charney, 2001). The same was reiterated by then President, George W. Bush, where he assured justice to prevail especially after the 9/11 attack (Kellogg, 2005). Thus, international law is fundamental in the fight against terrorism. The process of fighting terrorism should be aligned to international law to enhance understanding and collaborations among nations in the bid to mitigate and win this war (Charney, 2001).


In conclusion, the paper effectively unfolds the thesis of this research about terrorism in the framework of international law. The paper shows that terrorism or any act of terror has significant and direct consequences on international security. The ramifications are shattering on the individual’s enjoyments of fundamental rights encompassing the right to life, liberty, and even fair treatments of the victims. In addition, international law offers a stout structure within which counter-terrorism strategies at the domestic level can take place to allow countries to collaborate efficiently with one another in deterring and battling any terrorism. Thus, international law is vital in the counter-terrorism measures. This is true since terrorism is a costly affair to any stability of a government, disrupt the efforts of civil groups, deter economic development, and threaten security and peace.



Byers, M. (2002). Terrorism, the use of force and international law after 11 September. International Relations, vol. 16(2), p. 155-170.

Charney, J. I. (2001). The use of force against terrorism and international law. The American Journal of International Law, vol. 95(4), p 835-839.

Galicki, Z. (2005). International law and terrorism. American Behavioral Scientist, vol. 48(6), p. 743-757.

Greenwood, C. (2002). International law and the ‘war against terrorism’. International Affairs, vol. 78(2), p. 301-317.

Kellogg, D. E. (2005). International Law and Terrorism. Military Review, vol. 85(5), p. 40-50.

Young, R. (2006). Defining terrorism: The evolution of terrorism as a legal concept in international law and its influence on definitions in domestic legislation. BC Int’l & Comp. L. Rev., vol.29 (3), p. 20-23.