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International treaties against terrorism and the use of terrorism during armed conflict and by armed forces

31-12-2006 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 864, by Daniel O’Donnell

Terrorism-oriented legislation, which initially covered only acts affecting civilians, has gradually expanded to cover some acts of terrorism against military personnel and installations. This contribution attempts to assess the repercussions of this evolution on the status and the protection of armed forces engaged in the so-called ‘‘war on terrorism’’ by examining the existing dynamic between these regulations and international humanitarian law.

   

Daniel O’Donnell
is Attorney and human rights consultant; former Deputy Head of the UN Secretary-General’s Investigative Team to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and former Chief Investigator of the Historical Clarification Commission of Guatemala. 

 
Abstract 
During the second half of the twentieth century the international community, facing the terrorist phenomenon, reacted with the adoption of a series of treaties concerning specific types of terrorist acts, and the obligations of states with regard to them. Alternatively terrorism-oriented legislation, which initially covered only acts affecting civilians, has gradually expanded to cover some acts of terrorism against military personnel and installations. This contribution attempts to assess the repercussions of this evolution on the status and the protection of armed forces engaged in the so-called ‘‘war on terrorism’’ by examining the existing dynamic between these regulations and international humanitarian law.  

   
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