Terrorism is defined as political violence in asymmetric conflict that aims to create terror and psychological anxiety (sometimes indiscriminately) through violent victimization and the destruction of non-combatant targets (sometimes iconic symbols). Such actions are aimed at sending a message from an illegal secret organization. The aim of terrorism is to exploit the media to reach a maximum accessible audience as an amplifying force multiplier, to influence the target group(s) to achieve short- and medium-term political objectives and/or desired long-term end objectives. [85] (a) They all adopted an “operational definition” of a particular type of terrorist act, defined without reference to the underlying political or ideological objective or motivation of the perpetrator – reflecting a consensus that certain acts constituted such a serious threat to the interests of all that they could not be justified on such grounds; Despite the changing and controversial meaning of the word “terrorism” over time, the particular semantic power of the term, beyond its literal meaning, is its ability to stigmatize, delegitimize, denigrate, and dehumanize those it targets, including political opponents. The term is ideologically and politically charged; pejorative; involves moral, social and value judgment; and is “slippery and much abused”. In the absence of a definition of terrorism, the struggle to represent an act of violence is a struggle for its legitimacy. The more confusing a concept is, the more it lends itself to opportunistic appropriation. [27] The USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 defines domestic terrorism as “activities that involve (A) acts that endanger human life and constitute a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or any state; (B) are ostensibly intended to: (i) intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) Influencing the policies of a Government through intimidation or coercion; or (iii) influence the conduct of a government through mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping; and (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States. Historically, the dispute over the meaning of terrorism has arose since martial law was first codified in 1899. The Martens Clause was introduced as a compromise formulation for the dispute between the great powers, which regarded snipers as unlawful combatants executed upon capture, and the small states, which claimed that they should be considered legitimate combatants. [28] [29] The political and emotional connotation of the term “terrorism” makes it difficult to use it in legal discourse. In this sense, Saul states that Ben Saul stated that “a combination of pragmatic and principled arguments supports the definition of terrorism in international law,”[18] including the need to condemn human rights violations, protect the state and deliberative policies, distinguish between public and private power, and ensure international peace and security.

We can therefore now try to define terrorism as the deliberate creation and exploitation of fear through violence or the threat of violence in the pursuit of political change. All acts of terrorism involve violence or the threat of violence. Terrorism is specifically designed to have far-reaching psychological effects beyond the immediate victim(s) or object of the terrorist attack. It aims to frighten and thus intimidate a wider “target group”, which could include a rival ethnic or religious group, an entire country, a national government or political party, or public opinion in general. Terrorism serves to create power where there is none, or to consolidate power where there is very little. For example, Congress has separately defined “international terrorism” as: The international community has worked on two comprehensive counter-terrorism treaties, the 1937 League of Nations Convention on the Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism, which never entered into force, and the United Nations Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. which is still ongoing. In 1985, when I was deputy director of the Reagan White House Task Force on Terrorism, [my task force] was tasked with developing a definition of terrorism that could be used across government.

We produced about six of them, and in each case they were rejected because a careful reading would suggest that our own country was involved in some of these activities. […] After the working group completed its work, Congress adopted the United States. Title of Code 18, Section 2331. the American definition of terrorism. […] One of the terms, “international terrorism”, means “activities which”, and I quote, “appear to be aimed at influencing the behaviour of a Government through mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping”. […] Yes, well, surely you can think of a number of countries that have participated in such activities. Ours is one of them. […] And so, of course, the terrorist is in the eye of the beholder. [62] In addition, it is important to note that there are different types of terrorism, such as bioterrorism, cyberterrorism, eco-terrorism, domestic and international terrorism, state-sponsored terrorism, and drug-related terrorism. Antonio Cassese argued that the language of these and similar UN statements “contains an acceptable definition of terrorism.” [45] criminal offences, including against civilians, committed with intent to cause death or serious bodily harm, or the taking of hostages with a view to provoking a state of terrorism in public or in a group of persons or specific persons, intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to act or refrain from acting; constitute offences within the meaning of the international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism which are in no way justified by political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or similar considerations. In the late 1930s, the international community made its first attempt to define terrorism. Article 1.1 of the 1937 League of Nations Convention on the Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism,[35] which never entered into force, defined “terrorist acts” as “criminal acts directed against a State which are intended or intended to create a state of terror in the minds of certain persons, a group of persons or the general public”.

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