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Judicial Creativity at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon: Is There a Crime of Terrorism under International Law?

  • KAI AMBOS

Abstract

On 21 January 2011, the pre-trial judge of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (hereinafter ‘STL’) posed several questions to the Appeals Chamber (‘Chamber’)1 pursuant to Rule 68(G) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.2 Three of these questions dealt with the crime of terrorism.3 (i) Should the Tribunal take into account international notions on terrorism even though Article 2 of the Statute only refers to the Lebanese Criminal Code (‘LCC’)? (ii) If so, is there an international definition of ‘terrorism’ and how should it be applied? (iii) If not, how is the Lebanese definition of ‘terrorism’ to be interpreted by the Chamber? Both the prosecution and defence submitted extensive briefs dealing, inter alia, with these questions.4 Additionally, two amicus curiae briefs were submitted.5 On 16 February 2011, the Chamber issued its (interlocutory) decision pursuant to Rule 176 bis (A).6 The Chamber argues, in a nutshell, that terrorism has become a crime under international law and that the respective international definition influences the (applicable) Lebanese law. In the first part of this paper, I will argue that the Chamber's considerations, albeit innovative and creative, are essentially obiter, since the applicable terrorism definition can be found, without further ado, in the Lebanese law. There is no need to internationalize or reinterpret this law; it should be applied before the STL as understood in Lebanese practice. As to the Chamber's affirmation that there is a crime of terrorism under international law, I will argue, in the second part of the paper, that the available sources indicate, at best, that terrorism is a particularly serious transnational, treaty-based crime that comes close to a ‘true’ international crime but has not yet reached this status. Notwithstanding, the general elements of this crime can be inferred from the relevant sources of international law.

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1 STL, Le Juge de la Mise en État, Ordonnance relative aux questions préjudicielles adressées aux juges de la Chambre d'Appel conformément à l'Article 68, paragraphe g) du Règlement de Procédure et de Preuve, 21 January 2011 (STL-11-01/I).

2 Rule 68(G) is quite unique in international criminal procedure in that it gives the pre-trial judge the possibility of clarifying fundamental questions by way of an interlocutory procedure involving the Appeals Chamber: ‘The Pre-Trial Judge may submit to the Appeals Chamber any preliminary question, on the interpretation of the Agreement, Statute and Rules regarding the applicable law, that he deems necessary in order to examine and rule on the indictment’.

3 The fourth question referring to terrorism (‘If the perpetrator intended to kill a certain person but caused injury or death to other persons, how is his criminal responsibility to be defined?’) is irrelevant for our purpose, since it deals with the general issue of the subjective attribution of unintended consequences.

4 Defence Office's submission pursuant to Rule 176 bis (31 January 2011), available online at www.stl-tsl.org/x/file/TheRegistry/Library/CaseFiles/Defence/20110131_STL-11-01_R176bis_F0004_DO_Submissions_R176bis.pdf, paras. 8–125 (hereafter, ‘Defence submission’); Prosecutor's Brief filed pursuant to the president's order of 21 January 2011. Responding to the questions submitted by the pre-trial judge (Rule 176 bis) (31 January 2011), available online at www.stl-tsl.org/x/file/TheRegistry/Library/CaseFiles/Prosecution/20110131_STL-11-01_R176bis_F0003_OTP_Brief_EN.pdf, paras. 6–31 (here-after, ‘Prosecution submission’).

5 One brief was submitted by the War Crimes Research Office of American University, The Practise of Cumulative Charging before International Criminal Bodies, STL-11-01/I/AC/R176bis (11 February 2011), available online at www.stl-tsl.org/x/file/TheRegistry/Library/CaseFiles/Registry/20110211_STL-11-01_R176bis_F0008_Amicus_Curiae_Brief_Cumulative_Charging_Filed_EN.pdf. A second brief was submitted by the author of this paper: amicus curiae brief on the question of the applicable terrorism offence in the proceedings before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, with a particular focus on a ‘special’ special intent and/or a special motive as additional subjective requirements, STL-11-01/I/AC/R176bis (11 February 2011), available online at www.stl-tsl.org/x/file/TheRegistry/Library/CaseFiles/Registry/20110211_STL-11-01_R176bis_F0009_Amicus_Curiae_Ambos_Filed_EN.pdf (‘Ambos Brief’); both briefs are to be published in (2011) 22 Criminal Law Forum, issue 3.

6 Interlocutory Decision on the Applicable Law: Terrorism, Conspiracy, Homicide, Perpetration, Cumulative Charging, STL-11-01/I/AC/R176bis, 16 February 2011 (‘Decision’).

7 M. Ch. Bassiouni, ‘Mixed Models of International Criminal Justice’, in M. Bassiouni (ed.), International Criminal Law, Vol. III, International Enforcement (2008), 155, at 189.

8 Report of the Secretary-General on the establishment of a special tribunal for Lebanon, S/2006/893, 15 November 2006, para. 7. See also ibid., at 189; Jurdi, N., ‘The Subject-Matter Jurisdiction of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’, (2007) 5 JICJ 1125, at 1126; Milanovic, M., ‘An Odd Couple: Domestic Crimes and International Responsibility in the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’, (2007) 5 JICJ 1139, at 1140.

9 Report of the Secretary-General, ibid., para. 22.

10 Ibid., paras. 23 ff.

11 Jurdi, supra note 8, at 1128.

12 Report of the Secretary-General, supra note 8, para. 7.

13 Montesquieu, L'esprit des lois (1748, reprint 1961), livre XI chap. 6 (‘la bouche qui prononce les paroles de la loi; des êtres inanimés qui n'en peuvent modérer ni la force ni la rigueur’). See also M. J. C. Vile, Constitutionalism and the Separation of Powers (1967), 88 ff.; C. Möllers, Die drei Gewalten (2008), 20 ff.

14 About the sources of law, especially scholarly authority as a ‘residual third source’, see recently Fletcher, G., ‘New Court, Old Dogmatik’, (2011) 9 JICJ 179, at 180; in greater detail, see Fletcher, G., ‘Truth in Codification’, (1998) 31 University of California Davis Law Rev. 745, at 746, 750.

15 Decision, para. 35.

16 Decision, para. 36.

17 Report of the Secretary-General, supra note 8, para. 7.

18 Decision, para. 39, with various references in footnotes 58–60.

19 Decision, paras. 17 ff.

20 Defence submission, supra note 4, paras. 86–89, 125; Prosecution submission, supra note 4, paras. 13 ff., especially at 15; concurring Ambos Brief, supra note 5, para. 3.

21 Decision, para. 19.

22 Decision, paras. 19–21.

23 Decision, para. 19, and also para. 37.

24 Literally, ‘in case of doubt less’, i.e., the less intrusive, more favourable interpretation (to state sovereignty) should be chosen (cf. L. Oppenheim, International Law: A Treatise, Vol. I (1905), 561; recently, J. Larouer, ‘In the Name of Sovereignty? The Battle over In Dubio Mitius Inside and Outside the Courts’, Cornell Law School Inter-University Graduate Student Conference Papers, (2009) paper 22, at 1 ff.).

25 Decision, paras. 29–30; contrary to Defence submission, supra note 4, paras. 40–41.

26 See also Decision, para. 29.

27 K. Larenz, Methodenlehre der Rechtswissenschaften (1979), S. 307 ff.; F. Müller and R. Christensen, Juristische Methodik (2004), marginal number (‘mn.’) 480.

28 R. Dworkin, Law's Empire (1998), 352 (emphasis in original); quoted in Decision, para. 19, with footnote 31.

29 Decision, para. 19.

30 Cf. ICTY, Prosecutor v. Tadić, Decision on the Defence Motion for Interlocutory Appeal on Jurisdiction, Case No. IT-94-1, 2 October 1995, para. 97 (hereafter, ‘Tadić’); see also K. Ipsen, Völkerrecht (2004), §2, mn. 66 ff., at 40.

31Reiterating its call for the strict respect of the sovereignty . . . of Lebanon’ (preamble, para. 3, emphasis in original). See also Wierda, M., Nassar, H., and Maalouf, L., ‘Early Reflections on Local Perceptions, Legitimacy and Legacy of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’, (2007) 5 JICJ 1065, at 1066.

32 Decision, paras. 43–44.

33 Decision, paras. 115, 119.

34 Decision, paras. 114, 117.

35 Decision, para. 122.

36 Decision, para. 114.

37 Decision, para. 123.

38 Decision, paras. 124 ff.

39 Decision, para. 124.

40 In the original Arabic version, it is faa'el or afaa'al (‘every act’); cf. Jurdi, supra note 8, at 1130.

41 Cf. Decision, para. 145; Jurdi, supra note 8, at 1130.

42 Cf. Decision, paras. 51–54, quoting several domestic decisions.

43 Court of Justice, Assassination of Sheikh Nizar Al-Halabi, Decision No. 1/1997, 17 January 1997 (use of Kalashnikov assault rifles); quoted according to Decision, para. 52, with footnote 71.

44 Decision, para. 129.

45 Decision, paras. 125–129.

46 Decision, para. 126.

47 Decision, para. 127.

48 This is also acknowledged by the Chamber, Decision, para. 55.

49 ‘Terrorism’ derives from the Latin word ‘terror’, which means ‘great fear’. The term was first used in English in the sense of ‘systematic use of terror as a policy’ in 1798, following the French term terrorisme, used in the sense of ‘intimidating a government during the Reign of Terror’ in 1795 (D. Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, available online at www.etymonline.com).

50 On lex certa and the other three elements of nullum crimen (lex praevia, lex stricta, lex scripta), see K. Ambos, ‘Nulla poena sine lege in International Criminal Law’, in R. Haveman and O. Olusanya (eds.), Sentencing and Sanctioning in Supranational Criminal Law (2006), 17, at 21.

51 Cf. Kokkinaskis v. Greece, (1994) 17 EHRR 397, para. 40. From the abundant literature, see V. Krey, Studien zum Gesetzesvorbehalt im Strafrecht: Eine Einführung in die Problematik des Analogieverbots (1977), 113 ff.; A. Ashworth, Principles of Criminal Law (2009), 64; C. Roxin, Strafrecht. Allgemeiner Teil, Vol. I (2006), §5, mn. 28.

52 Decision, para. 130.

53 Decision, paras. 135 ff.

54 Decision, para. 138 (emphasis added).

55 Decision, paras. 139–140.

56 Decision, para. 141 (emphasis added).

57 As to the distinction between principles and rules, I follow here R. Alexy, Theorie der Grundrechte (1986), at 71 ff. (English translation by J. Rivers, A Theory of Constitutional Rights (2002), 44 ff.), according to whom principles and rules are two types of norm that both give reasons as to what should happen but that differ in a qualitative sense: principles demand that something must be realized to the greatest extent possible, they are ‘optimization requirements’ (Optimierungsgebote) that can only be satisfied to a certain extent, their actual fulfilment depends on the factual and legal possibilities; rules can either be fulfilled or not, they contain determinations (Festsetzungen, English translation, at 48: ‘fixed points’) within the factually and legally possible.

58 See K. Ambos, Internationales Strafrecht (2011), §5, mn. 6, with further references.

59 Achour v. France, Judgement of 10 November 2004, ECHR, Application No. 67335/01, para. 33. See also Ambos, supra note 50, at 22, with further references to the case law of the European Court of Human Rights in footnotes 37, 38.

60 S.W. v. UK and C.R. v. UK, Judgments of 22 November 1995, ECHR (Ser. A. Nos. 335-B and 335-C), para. 36. See also Decision, para. 135, quoting ICTY, Vasiljević Trial Judgement, 29 November 2002, para. 196.

61 Ambos Brief, supra note 5, para. 3, with reference to Defence submission, supra note 4, paras. 60 ff., especially at 71.

62 The bonam partem exception is generally recognized in civil-law jurisdictions; see, as representative works, for France: F. Debove, F. Falletti, and T. Janville, Précis de droit pénal et de procédure pénale (2010), at 74–5; for Germany: Roxin, supra note 51, §5, mn. 44 (analogy in bonam partem), 50 (custom in bonam partem), 62 ff. (retroactivity in bonam partem); for Spain: S. Mir Puig, Derecho Penal: Parte General (2010), 116; J. P. Montiel, Analogía favorable al reo: Fundamentos y límites de la analogía in bonam partem en el derecho penal (2009), 321 ff. (on the recognition of supra-legal causes of justification on the basis of an analogy bonam partem that is based on customary law or general principles). The exception is also recognized in the relevant codifications; see, e.g., Art. 112(1) French CP (‘retroactivité in mitius’), §2(3) German StGB and Art. 2(2) Spanish CP. In Italy, the majority doctrine admits the analogy bonam partem on the basis of Art. 25(2) of the Constitution and Art. 14 of the preliminary disposition of the Codice Civile, which refers to criminal law; see F. Palazzo, Corso di diritto penale: Parte generale (2006), at 142 ff. with further references on the rich scholarly debate. For Lebanon, see Art. 3 LCC: ‘Any statute that amends the definition of an offence in a manner that benefits the accused shall be applicable to the acts committed prior to its entry into force, unless an irrevocable judgement has been rendered’ (emphasis added). On the Lebanese law, see also Defence submission, supra note 4, para. 74: ‘reliance upon customary law for the purpose of interpreting the requirements (e.g., a lowering of the applicable mens rea).’

63 The argument is based on the assumption that Lebanese criminal law is derived from, and still quite close to, French criminal law (see also Defence submission, supra note 4, para. 73). While French law does not provide for a particular rule or procedure to ‘import’ customary international law into the domestic legal order, the Constitutional Council (Conseil Constitutionnel) examines the compatibility of national law with customary international law and thus recognizes the (de facto) precedence of the latter (cf. Conseil Constitutionnel, Décisions n° 75-59 DC of 30 December 1975; n° 82-139 DC of 11 February 1982; n° 85-197 DC of 23 August 1985; n° 92-308 DC of 9 April 1992; summarizing www.conseil-constitutionnel.fr/conseil-constitutionnel/root/bank/pdf/conseil-constitutionnel-17499.pdf, No. 9). Thus, it can safely be argued that the Lebanese legal order, too, absent any opposing constitutional or other provision, would accept this precedence and therefore also admit a bonam partem amendment of its criminal law brought about by international (customary) law.

64 Decision, para. 133.

65 See also Prosecution submission, supra note 4, para. 29: intent ‘to have a substantial impact upon the population or a significant group thereof’.

66 According to the Prosecution submission, supra note 4, para. 30, these factors are: ‘the social or religious status of the principle target; the commission of the attack in daylight in a street full of people; the collateral killing of bystanders; the use of explosives; and the destruction of residential and commercial buildings.’

67 Cf. also Art. 210 LCC: ‘No one shall be sentenced to a penalty unless he consciously and willingly committed the act.’ The different mens rea standards are defined in Arts. 188, 190, 191 LCC.

68 Decision, paras. 88–89 (international and multilateral instruments), 92 (SC resolutions, also para. 110), 93–97 (national legislation), 99–100 (national case law).

69 Decision, paras. 85, 102.

70 Decision, para. 102.

71 Decision, para. 102

72 Decision, paras. 85, 111.

73 For references, see Decision, para. 83, with footnote 127. See also E. Wilmshurst, ‘Transnational Crimes, Terrorism and Torture’, in R. Cryer et al. (eds.), An Introduction to International Criminal Law and Procedure (2010), 342 ff.; E. David, Éléments de droit pénal international et européen (2000), 1100–1. Cf. A. Cassese, International Criminal Law (2008), 162 ff., especially at 177.

74 Ambos Brief, supra note 5, para. 7.

75 The Chamber considers that this obligation is not yet part of the rule but already ‘plausibly nascent’ (Decision, para. 102 in fine).

76 Decision, para. 103.

77 Tadić, supra note 30, in casu paras. 94 ff.

78 Decision, para. 103.

79 The argument only comes close, but does not amount, to a petitio principii (circular reasoning) because it does not assume as true what is to be proved (see on this fallacy R. J. Aldisert, Logic for Lawyers: A Guide to Clear Legal Thinking (1997), 27, 208; J. Joerden, Logik im Recht (2005), 334–5).

80 The Tadić, supra note 30, para. 94, proposes four criteria for the criminalization of IHL violation in non-international armed conflict: (i) the violation must constitute an infringement of a rule of international humanitarian law; (ii) the rule must be customary in nature or, if it belongs to treaty law, the required conditions must be met; (iii) the violation must be ‘serious’, that is to say, it must constitute a breach of a rule protecting important values, and the breach must involve grave consequences for the victim; (iv) the violation of the rule must entail, under customary or conventional law, the individual criminal responsibility of the person breaching the rule.

81 Decision, para. 103, referring to Tadić, supra note 30, paras. 128–137, in footnote 203.

82 Decision, para. 104.

84 Ibid.; also para. 110.

86 Decision, para. 105.

87 Decision, paras. 107 ff., especially at 109.

88 Cf. C. Kress, ‘International Criminal Law’, in R. Wolfrum (ed.), The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (2008), online edition, available at www.mpepil.com, paras. 6 ff. (transnational and supranational international criminal law stricto sensu); R. Cryer and E. Wilmshurst, ‘Introduction: What Is International Criminal Law?’, in Cryer et al., supra note 73, at 4–5 (transnational and international crimes); P. Gaeta, ‘International Criminalization of Prohibited Conduct’, in A. Cassese (ed.), The Oxford Companion to International Criminal Justice (2009), 63, at 69 (international crimes proper and treaty-based crimes); D. Luban, ‘Fairness to Rightness: Jurisdiction, Legality, and the Legitimacy of International Criminal Law’, in S. Besson and J. Tasioulas (eds.), The Philosophy of International Law (2010), 569, at 572 (treaty-based transnational and pure international criminal law); Milanović, M., ‘Is the Rome Statute Binding on Individuals? (And Why We Should Care)’, (2011) 9 JICJ 25, at 28, with footnote 7. See also Ambos, supra note 58, §7, mn. 117, vs. 275.

89 See Ambos, ibid., §5, mn. 3, §7, mn. 117; G. Werle, Principles of International Criminal Law (2009), at 29; Kress, ibid., para. 15; Cryer and Wilmshurst, ibid., at 4; Gaeta, ibid., at 66 ff.; Cassese, supra note 73, at 12, extends this list to torture and ‘some extreme forms of international terrorism’. R. Kolb, Droit international pénal (2008), 68–9, recognizes, in addition to the ICC core crimes, ‘international crimes’ because of their ‘nature intrinsèque’ distinguishing between public (state) and private (ordinary) crimes; yet, he does not provide criteria of delimitation to transnational crimes.

90 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, GA Res. 39/46 of 10 December 1984, 1465 UNTS 85 (‘Torture Convention’).

91 International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, UN Doc. A/RES/52/164 (1997), 2149 UNTS 256 (‘Terrorist Bombing Convention’).

92 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 30 March 1961, 250 UNTS 151 (‘Single Convention’); United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 20 December 1988, 1582 UNTS 95 (‘Vienna Drug Convention’).

93 See, e.g., Arts. 1(1) and 4 of the Torture Convention, supra note 90: ‘State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction’; ‘shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law’; ‘shall make these offences punishable.’ In a similar vein, Art. 4 of the Terrorist Bombing Convention, supra note 91: ‘Each State Party shall adopt such measures as may be necessary: (a) To establish as criminal offences under its domestic law . . .; (b) To make those offences punishable by appropriate penalties’; Arts. 2 and 3 of the Vienna Drug Convention, ibid.: ‘the Parties shall take necessary measures, including legislative and administrative measures, in conformity with the fundamental provisions of their respective domestic legislative systems’; ‘adopt such measures as may be necessary to establish as criminal offences under its domestic law.’ See also Wilmshurst, supra note 73, at 335–6; Gaeta, supra note 88, at 63.

94 Cf. Werle, supra note 89, at 29; Kress, supra note 88, para. 10; Cryer and Wilmshurst, supra note 88, at 8 (with reference to the seminal quote of the Nuremberg IMT judgment).

95 See Werle, ibid., at 29; Kress, ibid., para. 10; Gaeta, supra note 88, at 65, 69–70.

96 Cassese, supra note 73, at 11–12; Gaeta, ibid., at 72. If universal jurisdiction in a pure or absolute sense (as opposed to relative or subsidiary universal jurisdiction (in absentia), which often only carries the name but not the substance of universal jurisdiction) shall ever apply, it must do so for true international crimes; see, e.g., §1 of the German Code of International Criminal Law; for the theoretical foundation, see Ambos, supra note 58, §3, mn. 94; K. Ambos, ‘Prosecuting Guantánamo in Europe: Can and Shall the Masterminds of the “Torture Memos” Be Held Criminally Responsible on the Basis of Universal Jurisdiction?’, (2009) 42 Case WRJIL 405, at 443 ff., both with further references. Absolute universal jurisdiction, albeit theoretically sound, is, however, the exception; normally, ‘universal jurisdiction’ is limited in various ways, such as by the presence requirement; for an overview, see, on the basis of a worldwide six-volume study, Kreicker, H., ‘Völkerstrafrecht im Ländervergleich’, (2006) 7 Nationale Strafverfolgung völkerrechtlicher Verbrechen 191.

97 For full text, see Art. 4 of the Torture Convention, as described in note 93, supra.

98 Prosecutor v. Furunzija, Judgement of 10 December 1998, Case No. IT-95-17/1-T, paras. 153–157.

99 Case Concerning the Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro), Judgment of 26 February 2007, ICJ, para. 161, with further references.

100 See Art. I of the 2009 Institute's Resolution on Immunity and International Crimes according to which torture belongs, besides genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, to the ‘serious crimes under international law’ (quoted in Bellal, A., ‘The 2009 Resolution of the Institute of International Law on Immunity and International Crimes’, (2011) 9 JICJ 227, at 233); concurring Cassese, supra note 73, at 12; cf. Gaeta, supra note 88, at 68–9.

101 In the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, UN Doc. A/RES/59/290 (2005), 2445 UNTS 89 (‘Nuclear Terrorism Convention’), the acts are considered a ‘threat to international peace and security’. In some conventions, they are considered ‘a matter of grave concern to the international community as a whole’ (Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, UN Doc. A/RES/584 (1988), 1678 UNTS 201 (‘Maritime Convention’); International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, UN Doc. A/RES/54/109 (1999), 39 ILM 270 (‘Terrorism Financing Convention’)) or ‘a matter of grave concern (to the international community)’ (Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft, 16 December 1970, 860 UNTS 106 (‘Hijacking Convention’); Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation, 23 September 1971, 974 UNTS 178 (‘Civil Aviation Convention’); Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts of Violence at Airports Serving International Civil Aviation, supplementary to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation, 23 September 1971, 1589 UNTS 474 (‘Airport Protocol’); Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, 14 December 1973, 1035 UNTS 168 (‘Diplomatic Agents Convention’); Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, 26 October 1979, 1456 UNTS 125 (‘Nuclear Materials Convention’); International Convention against the Taking of Hostages, of 17 December 1979, 1316 UNTS 206 (‘Hostages Convention’). All terrorism conventions can be found at www.un.org/terrorism/instruments.shtml.

102 Cf. Art. 5(2) of the Hostages Convention, ibid.; Art. 6(4) of the Maritime Convention, ibid.; Art. 6(4) of the Terrorist Bombing Convention, supra note 91; Art. 7(4) of the Terrorism Financing Convention, ibid.; Art. 9(4) of the Nuclear Terrorism Convention, ibid.

103 Hijacking Convention, supra note 101, Art. 7 (prosecution by the apprehending state, forum deprehensionis, in case of no extradition, independent of a prior extradition request and denial by the state with jurisdiction).

104 Cf. Kress, supra note 88, para. 8.

105 In this sense, critically of a pure treaty approach, Gaeta, supra note 88, at 70.

106 See also Kress, supra note 88, para. 8: ‘true test . . . whether States agree to the internationalization of the criminal law rule and hereby create a crime under international law.’

107 Cf. Cassese, supra note 73, at 11–12 (four requirements); Werle, supra note 89, at 29 (three requirements); too broad: M. Ch. Bassiouni, Introduction to International Criminal Law (2003), at 114–15 (omitting the actual criminal responsibility). See also implicitly Cryer and Wilmshurst, supra note 88, at 4 ff.

108 See discussion by the STL Appeals chamber and its explanations regarding the development of international crimes as referred to in notes 82 ff., supra, and the main text around those footnotes.

109 Cassese, supra note 73, at 11–12.

110 See note 80, supra.

111 Werle, supra note 89, at 29; Cassese, supra note 73, at 11 (focusing on international customary law).

112 Cf. Cassese, supra note 73, at 11, requirements nos. 2 and 3; Bassiouni, supra note 107, at 114–15 (especially peace and security); Werle, ibid., at 31–2; Kress, supra note 88, paras. 10, 11; Cryer and Wilmshurst, supra note 88, at 6–7; Wilmshurst, supra note 73, at 335; Gaeta, supra note 88, at 66.

113 See Decision, para. 103; Werle, supra note 89, at 29; Kress, supra note 88, para. 10; Cryer and Wilmshurst, supra note 88, at 8; and main text

114 See Werle, supra note 89, at 29; Kress, supra note 88, para. 10; Gaeta, supra note 88, at 65, 69–70; and main text.

115 Cf. Cassese, supra note 73, at 11, requirement nos. 2 and 3; Decision, para. 91: ‘needs to be regarded by the world community as an attack on universal values . . . or on values held to be of paramount importance in that community.’

116 Decision, paras. 88–89 (international and multilateral instruments), 92 (SC resolutions, also para. 110), 93–97 (national legislation), 99–100 (national case law); and main text.

117 Decision, para. 91.

118 See note 96, supra, and main text.

119 Report of the Ad Hoc Committee Established by General Assembly Resolution 51/210, A/58/37 (2003); Decision, para. 88, with footnote 138.

120 This is also the dominant view in the literature; see Werle, supra note 89, at 30; Cryer and Wilmshurst, supra note 88, at 4–5; Wilmshurst, supra note 73, at 338. The Institute of International Law, supra note 100, also does not include terrorism in its (albeit not exhaustive) list of ‘serious crimes under international law’. Cf. Cassese, supra note 73, at 12, 162 ff., arguing that ‘some extreme forms of international terrorism’ are international crimes (at 12) and that terrorism is ‘a discrete international crime perpetrated in time of peace’ (at 177, emphasis in original). Leaving it open, Gaeta, supra note 88, at 69, on the one hand including terrorism under the crimes that are not international, on the other hand perceiving ‘a clear trend’ towards the supranational criminalization in peace time.

121 Decision, para. 105; and main text.

122 Decision, paras. 104, 110; and main text.

123 See Kress, supra note 88, para. 37, who sees ICL of the first generation ‘inextricably linked to the existence of war’ (para. 23) and the second generation in the criminalization of serious violations in non-international armed conflict (para. 25) brought about by jurisdictional decision in Tadić (supra note 30) and completed by the codification of aggression (para. 37).

124 Decision, paras. 83 ff. See also Ambos Brief, supra note 5, paras. 6 ff. (referred to in the Chamber's Decision at para. 84).

125 Decision, para. 88, with footnote 135.

126 Decision, para. 88, with footnote 136.

127 Decision, para. 88, with footnote 137. Subsequent resolutions do not provide exact definitions but only declare that terrorism constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security (e.g., Res. S/RES/1617 (2005)). Sometimes, a particular attack, such as the one in London, is characterized as ‘terrorist’ (Res. S/RES/1611 (2005)).

128 Terrorism Financing Convention, supra note 101, Art. 2(1) (referring, as underlying acts, to the acts of the other terrorist conventions (lit. (a)) and to ‘[A]ny other act intended to cause death or serious bodily injury’ (lit. (b))); referred to in Decision, para. 88, with footnote 139.

129 Decision, para. 88, with footnote 138. See thereto also David, supra note 73, at 1125 ff.

130 Para. 1 of the respective Article of the Draft Convention, supra note 119, states: ‘Any person commits an offence within the meaning of this Convention if that person, by any means, unlawfully and intentionally, causes (a) death or serious bodily injury to any person; or (b) serious damage to public or private property’ (emphasis added). See also Art. 2(1)(b) of the Terrorism Financing Convention as quoted in note 128, supra.

131 Para. 2 of the respective Article of the Draft Convention, supra note 119, speaks of a ‘credible and serious threat’ to commit such an act.

132 Art. 2(2) of the Terrorist Bombing Convention, supra note 91, Art. 2(3) of the Terrorism Financing Convention, supra note 101, Art. 1(a) of the Hijacking Convention, supra note 101, Art. 2(1)(d) of the Diplomatic Agents Convention, supra note 101, Art. 1(2) of the Hostages Convention, supra note 101, Art. 7(1)(f) of the Nuclear Materials Convention, supra note 101, and Art. 3(2) of the Maritime Convention, supra note 101, criminalize the attempt to commit the respective acts.

133 Decision, para. 88.

134 Decision, paras. 91 ff., especially at 97.

135 Either national systems provide for a general punishability of attempt in case of serious offences (felony, crime, Verbrechen) and qualify terrorism as such a serious offence (e.g., Sections 12(1), 23(1), 129a German Strafgesetzbuch (‘StGB’); Arts. 121(4), 421(1) French Code pénal (‘CP‘); Arts. 15, 571 ff. Spanish Código Penal; Arts. 29, 30, 205 Russian Criminal Code) or they directly punish attempted terrorist acts (e.g., Chapter C-46(2) terrorism offence (d) Canadian Criminal Code; §2332(b) USC, USA; Chapter 11 Part 1 Terrorism Act 2006, United Kingdom).

136 See Decision, para. 89, with footnotes 140 ff.

137 Hostages Convention, supra note 101, Art. 1: ‘seizes or detains and threatens to kill, to injure or to continue to detain another person.’

138 Hijacking Convention, supra note 101, Art. 1(a): ‘unlawfully . . . seizes, or exercises control of, that aircraft.’

139 Civil Aviation Convention, supra note 101, Art. 1(1): ‘violence against a person on board an aircraft in flight’ ‘destroys an aircraft in service.’

140 Diplomatic Agents Convention, supra note 101, Art. 2(1): ‘murder, kidnapping or other attack’, ‘violent attack upon the official premises.’

141 See, e.g., Art. 3 of the Terrorist Bombing Convention, supra note 91: ‘This Convention shall not apply where the offence is committed within a single State, the alleged offender and the victims are nationals of that State.’ See also Decision, paras. 89–90; Bassiouni, supra note 107, at 115; Wilmshurst, supra note 73, at 344; Cassese, supra note 73, at 165.

142 See Art. 3 of the Terrorist Bombing Convention, supra note 91: ‘Convention shall not apply.’ Such a transnational element is a prerequisite for supranational competence; see the most far-reaching competence of the EU (European Parliament and Council) to ‘establish minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and sanctions in the areas of particular serious crime with a cross-border dimension’, Art. 83 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Official Journal of the EU C 83/47 of 30 March 2010 (emphasis added).

143 Decision, para. 89 in fine.

144 The Chamber states that this transnational element goes to the ‘character [of the offence] as international rather than domestic’ (emphasis in original), that is, it is not clear on the jurisdictional nature of the element explained in the text.

145 Decision, paras. 85, 111; and main text.

146 Even more explicitly, Decision, para. 111: ‘The crime of terrorism at international law of course requires as well that (ii) the terrorist act be transnational.’

147 Decision, para. 97.

148 Cf. European Council, Framework Decision on Combating Terrorism, 13 June 2002, (2002/475/JHA), Art. 1: ‘Each Member State shall take the necessary measures to ensure that the intentional acts . . . where committed with the aim of: . . . seriously destabilising or destroying the fundamental political, constitutional, economic or social structures of a country or an international organisation, shall be deemed to be terrorist offences’ (emphasis added). Several states, e.g., Austria (§278c StGB), Belgium (Art. 137(1) CP), Germany (§129a(2) StGB), the Netherlands (Arts. 83 ff. Wetboek van Strafrecht) and Denmark (§114(1) CC) have adopted this definition almost literally.

149 Cf. Decision, para. 95.

150 Concurring and stressing the seriousness of the act, Wilmshurst, supra note 73, at 344–5; too broad for any criminal act provided for in national law, Cassese, supra note 73, at 165, 166, 177.

151 Decision, paras. 85, 111; and main text.

152 Critically also David, supra note 73, at 1100–1.

153 Decision, paras. 85, 111; concurring Cassese, supra note 73, 166 ff., especially at 168, 177.

154 Ambos Brief, supra note 5, paras. 6 ff., especially at 19.

155 Concurring Wilmshurst, supra note 73, at 347 (mentioning ‘spreading terror’ as the general special intent).

156 Cassese, A., ‘The Multifaceted Criminal Notion of Terrorism in International Law’, (2006) 4 JICJ 933, at 957.

157 Decision, para. 106, with footnotes 204–7.

158 Decision, para. 106.

159 Decision, para. 106 in fine (emphasis in original); see also Cassese, supra note 73, at 165 (‘politically or ideologically motivated’).

160 Decision, para. 98.

161 Cf. Ambos Brief, supra note 5, paras. 20 ff.; concurring Wilmshurst, supra note 73, at 347.

162 Ambos Brief, ibid., paras. 4–5, with further references (here omitted) in the corresponding footnotes.

163 The irrelevance thesis is not affected by the scholarly debate on a possible ground for excluding responsibility for the ‘délinquant par conviction’ (‘Gewissenstäter’); see Ambos Brief, ibid., para. 5.

164 See, e.g., Council Framework Decision, supra note 148, Art. 1: ‘committed with the aim of: . . . (iii) seriously destabilising or destroying the fundamental political, constitutional, economic or social structures of a country or an international organisation.’

165 Cassese, supra note 73, at 167 ff., clearly recognizes the distinction between intent and motive, the irrelevance of the latter (at 168) and the difficulty to prove motive (at 169); yet, he still thinks that motive should be an element of the offence (also at 177), although ‘by itself [it] may not suffice for the classification of a criminal act as terrorist’.

166 Cf. Ambos, supra note 58, §7, mn. 275, with further references; see also Wilmshurst, supra note 73, at 349 ff.; Cassese, ibid., at 171 ff., especially at 177; critically Kress, supra note 88, para. 37.

* Professor of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Comparative Law and International Criminal Law at the Georg-August Universität Göttingen; Judge at the District Court (Landgericht) Göttingen []. I am grateful to stud. iur. T. Anina Timmermann (Göttingen) for her most valuable assistance and to Ousman Njikam, ICTY, for language revision.

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Leiden Journal of International Law
  • ISSN: 0922-1565
  • EISSN: 1478-9698
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