TRIALS BY FIRE - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

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TRIALS BY FIRE - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

• Other transnational groups, such as Lashkar-e-Tayyiba in Pakistanand the Mujahidin-e-Khalq Organization in Iraq, have perpetratedattacks on foreign (albeit neighboring) soil.• State-sponsored terrorist groups can fall under this definition as well.Hezbollah—which holds seats in Lebanon’s parliament—is considereda terrorist group by the Department of State because it has committedattacks outside its home country. In addition, if the Secretary of Stateasserts that a country has “repeatedly provided support for acts of internationalterrorism,” US foreign aid will be cut off to the country. 40Interestingly, most terrorist groups are not ‘international’ terrorist groups butare rather local organizations with parochial concerns. For example, of the 45groups the State Department officially designates as FTOs, only a handful havecommitted attacks outside of a specific geographical region, or have clearlydefined internationalist designs.Definitions of Terrorism Under International LawVarious international conventions since the 1960s have attempted not only todefine and combat terrorism, but also to establish legal mechanisms to punishterrorist offenses. Efforts to comprehensively define terrorism under publicinternational law have met with the same frustrating difficulties that have bedeviledUS agencies. Since 9/11, the most important mechanisms crafted byinternational bodies to approach the threat of international terrorism are:• United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1373: Passed inSeptember 2001, this resolution decreed that States should, “preventthose who finance, plan, facilitate or commit terrorist acts from usingtheir respective territories for those purposes against other countriesand their citizens.” It also decreed that terrorist acts should be establishedas “serious criminal offences” under each state’s domestic law. 41• UNSCR 1566: Passed in 2004, this resolution builds on UNSCR 1373by calling upon member States to, “extradite or prosecute any personwho supports, facilitates, participates or attempts to participate in thefinancing, planning, preparation or commission of terrorist acts orprovides safe havens.”26 Trials by Fire: Counterterrorism and the Law

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