The adoption of the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Terrorism by the League of Nations in 1937 marked the entrance of terrorism in the field of international law. The present-day international legal framework for the prevention and combatting of terrorism started in the 1960’s with the adoption of the 1963 Convention on Offences and certain other Acts committed on Board Aircraft. This framework now consists of various multilateral treaties and protocols relating to specific categories of terrorist acts as well as several regional conventions on international terrorism in general. However, a comprehensive multilateral convention on terrorism is still lacking. This is mainly due to the continuing lack of agreement within the United Nations on a common definition of international terrorism.
This Guide is intended as a starting point for research on Terrorism. It provides the basic legal materials available in the Peace Palace Library, both in print and electronic format. Handbooks, leading articles, bibliographies, periodicals, serial publications and documents of interest are presented in the Selective Bibliography section. The Library's systematic classification → Terrorism and subject heading (keyword) Terrorism are instrumental for searching through the Catalogue. Special attention is given to our subscriptions on databases, e-journals, e-books and other electronic resources. Finally, this Research Guide features links to relevant websites and other online resources of particular interest.
- Bates, E.S. (et al.) (eds.), Terrorism and International Law: Accountability, Remedies, and Reform, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2011.
- Bianchi, A. and Naqvi, Y., International Humanitarian Law and Terrorism, Oxford, Hart, 2011.
- Bianchi, A. and Keller, A. (eds.), Counterterrorism: Democracy's Challenge, Oxford, Hart, 2008.
- Hoffman, B., Inside Terrorism, New York, NY, Columbia University Press, 2017.
- Martin, J.C., Les règles internationales relatives à la lutte contre le terrorisme, Bruxelles, Bruylant, 2006.
- Salinas de Frías, A.M., Samuel, K.L.H., and White, N.D. (eds.), Counter-Terrorism: International Law and Practice, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012.
- Saul, B. (ed.), Research Handbook on International Law and Terrorism, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 2014.
- Walker, C., Terrorism and the Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2011.
- Alimi, E. Y., Demetriou, C. and Bosi, L., The Dynamics of Radicalization: A Relational and Comparative Perspective, New York, Oxford University Press, 2015.
- Badde-Revue, M. and M. Ruffo de Calabre, Ethics in counter-terrorism, Leiden, Brill Nijhoff, 2018.
- Bayefsky, A.F. and L.R. Blank, Incitement to terrorism, Leiden, Brill Nijhoff, 2018.
- Bergkamp, L. (et al.), Civil Liability in Europe for Terrorism-Related Risk, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2015.
- Chermak, S.M, and Freilich, J.D. (eds.), Transnational Terrorism, Farnham, Ashgate, 2013.
- Combs, C.C., Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century (7th ed.), Boston, MA, Pearson, 2013.
- Duffy, H., The ‘War on Terror’ and the Framework of International Law, (2nd ed.), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2015.
- Hamm, M.S., and R.F.J. Spaaij, The Age of Lone Wolf Terrorism, New York, Columbia University Press, 2017.
- Hanhimäki, J.M., and Blumenau, B. (eds.), An International History of Terrorism: Western and Non-Western Experiences, London, Routledge, 2013.
- Hegemann, H., International Counterterrorism Bureaucracies in the United Nations and the European Union, Baden-Baden, Nomos, 2014.
- Herik, L. van den, and Schrijver, N. (eds.), Counter-Terrorism Strategies in a Fragmented International Legal Order: Meeting the Challenges, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013.
- De Londras, F. (ed.), The Impact, Legitimacy and Effectiveness of EU Counter-Terrorism, London, Routledge, 2015.
- Lynch, O. and Argomaniz, J. (eds.), Victims of Terrorism: A Comparative and Interdisciplinary Study, Abingdon, Routledge, 2015.
- Roach, K. (ed.), Comparative Counter-Terrorism Law, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2015.
- Ryder, N., The Financial War on Terror: A Review of Counter-Terrorist Financing Strategies Since 2001, London, Routledge, 2015.
- El-Said, H., New Approaches to Countering Terrorism: Designing and Evaluating Counter Radicalization and De-Radicalization Programs, Houndmills, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
- Saul, B., Defining Terrorism in International Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2006.
- Weimann, G., Terrorism in Cyberspace: The Next Generation, Washington D.C., Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2015.
- Zusman, L. K. (ed.), The Fundamentals of Counterterrorism Law, Chicago, American Bar Association, 2014.
- English, R., "The Future Study of Terrorism", European Journal of International Security, 1 (2016), No. 2, pp. 135-149.
- Boylan, B. M., “Sponsoring Violence: A Typology of Constituent Support for Terrorist Organisations”, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 38 (2015), No. 8, pp. 652-670.
- Byman, D. L., “ISIS Goes Global: Fight the Islamic State by Targeting Its Affiliates”, Foreign Affairs, 95 (2016), No. 2, pp. 76-85.
- Choi, S.-W., ‘Does Restrictive Immigration Policy Reduce Terrorism in Western Democracies?’ Perspectives on Terrorism, 12 (2018) No. 4, pp. 14-25. [PDF]
- Gal-Or, N., “The Formation of a Customary International Crime: Global Terrorism Human (In)Security”, International Criminal Law Review, 15 (2015), No. 4, pp. 665-699.
- Gaub, F., “The Cult of ISIS”, Survival, 58 (2016), No.1, pp. 113-130.
- Grimm Arsenault, E. and Bacon, T., “Disaggregating and Defeating Terrorist Safe Havens”, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 38 (2015), No. 2, pp. 85-112.
- Heupel, M., “Security Council Legislation in Counter-Terrorism”, in V. Popovski and T. Fraser (eds.), The Security Council as Global Legislator, London, Routledge, 2014, pp. 124-142.
- Hunter, L. Y., “Terrorism, Civil Liberties, and Political Rights: A Cross-National Analysis”, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 39 (2016), No. 2, pp. 165-193.
- Kouroutakis, A., “Islamic Terrorism: The Legal Impact of the Freedom of Religion in the United States and Europe”, Boston University International Law Journal, 34 (2016), No. 1, pp. 113-148.
- Macdonald, S., “The Role of the Courts in Imposing Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures: Normative Duality and Legal Realism”, Criminal Law and Philosophy, 9 (2015), No. 2, pp. 265-283.
- Moir, L., “Action against Host States of Terrorist Groups”, in M. Weller (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Use of Force in International Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2015, pp. 720-736.
- Moreno Catena, V., “Judicial Cooperation and Protection of Fundamental Rights in the Prevention and Prosecution of Terrorism”, in S. Ruggeri (ed.), Transnational Inquiries and the Protection of Fundamental Rights in Criminal Proceedings, Heidelberg, Springer, 2013, pp. 139-165.
- Otis, P., “Terrorism and Ethics”, in J. Turner Johnson and E.D. Patterson (eds.), The Ashgate Research Companion to Military Ethics, Farnham, Ashgate, 2015, pp. 189-200.
- Saul, B., “Old and New Terrorist Threats: What Form Will They Take and How Will States Respond?”, in M. Cherif Bassiouni, Globalization and Its Impact on the Future of Human Rights and International Criminal Justice, Cambridge, Intersentia, 2015, pp. 281-307.
- Saul, B. and Heath, K., “Cyber Terrorism”, in N. K. Tsagourias and R. Buchan (eds.), Research Handbook on International Law and Cyberspace, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2015, pp. 147-167.
- Zekulin, M., “Endgames: Improving Our Understanding of Homegrown Terrorism”, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 39 (2016), No. 1, pp. 46-66.
- Addicott, J.F., Terrorism Law: Materials, Cases, Comments (7th ed.), Tucson, AZ, Lawyers & Judges, 2014.
- Cherif Bassiouni, M. (ed.), International Terrorism: Multilateral Conventions (1937-2001), Ardsley, NY, Transnational Publishers, 2001.
- Cherif Bassiouni, M. (ed.), International Terrorism: A Compilation of U.N. Documents 1972-2001 (2 vols), Ardsley, NY, Transnational Publishers, 2002.
- Elagab, O., and Elagab, J. (eds.), International Law Documents Relating to Terrorism, London, Routledge-Cavendish, 2007.
- Europol, European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend Report, 2014.
- Saul, B. (ed.), Terrorism, Oxford, Hart, 2012.
- Van den Herik, L., and Schrijver, N., Leiden Policy Recommendations on Counter-terrorism and International Law, Leiden University, 2010.
Periodicals, serial publications
- Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression: Table of Contents
- Combating Terrorism Center Sentinal: Table of Contents
- Critical Studies on Terrorism: Table of Contents
- International Journal of Cyber Warfare and Terrorism: Table of Contents
- International Studies on Terrorism (Published irregularly)
- Journal for Deradicalization: Table of Contents
- Journal of Terrorism Research: Table of Contents
- Perspectives on Terrorism: Table of Contents
- Studies in Conflict and Terrorism: Table of Contents
- Terrorism: An International Journal (Publication ceased in 1991)
- Terrorism and Political Violence: Table of Contents
- Terrorism Monitor: Table of Contents
- Kost, I., and Thyssen, H., "Terrorism and International Law: Selected Bibliography", in M.J. Glennon and S. Sur (eds.), Terrorism and International Law, Leiden, Nijhoff, 2008, pp. 699-784.
- Price, E., "Bibliography on Single Issue Terrorism", Perspectives on Terrorism, 8 (2014), No. 6.
- Price, E., “Bibliography: Foreign Fighters of Terrorism”, Perspectives on Terrorism, 9 (2015), No. 1.
- Tinnes, J., "Bibliography: Terrorism and the Media (including the Internet)(Part 2)", Perspectives on Terrorism, 8 (2014), No. 6.
- Tinnes, J., "Literature on Terrorism and the Media (including the Internet): An Extensive Bibliography”, Perspectives on Terrorism, 7 (2013), No. 1.
Systematic classification → Terrorism
The Peace Palace Library has a collection of over a million publications. Each week, about six hundred new titles are added to our collection: books, articles, documents, online publications, etc. On this page, access is provided to this week’s new titles on Terrorism and related subjects.As we are right in the middle of moving to a new library system, it is not yet possible to automatically collect new titles for this Research Guide.
Badde-Revue, M. and M. Ruffo de Calabre, Ethics in Counter-Terrorism, Leiden, Brill Nijhoff, 2018.European armed forces have frequently had to participate in counter-terrorist operations while abroad. For many, however, counter-terrorist operations in their home country are a relatively new phenomenon. Armed and uniformed soldiers can now be seen doing work which is, in some respects, comparable to that of the civilian security forces. What are the ethical implications of this phenomenon? To what extent does it change the relationship between the soldier and the democratic state? Do emerging technologies encroach on democratic freedoms? Does the phenomenon re-define the relationship between the police and the military? Under what conditions can soldiers be trained to achieve victory by force of arms, be used effectively in crowded city centres? Conversely, do we also risk over-militarising our police?
Bayefsky, A.F. and L.R. Blank, Incitement to terrorism, Leiden, Brill Nijhoff, 2018.Incitement to terrorism connects the dots between evil words and evil deeds. Hate precedes terror. History has already taught us that incitement to genocide and to crimes against humanity unchecked will inevitably bring devastation to humankind. Incitement is an affront to the dignity of its victims, and poses a dire threat to all people of good will. However, combating incitement to terrorism poses operational, constitutional and human rights challenges on many fronts, both domestically and internationally. What is incitement? Where should the line be drawn between protected speech and incitement that should be criminalized? Does war change the calculus of what are appropriate and lawful measures to contain and respond to such incitement? And, how does social media and the nature of communication and engagement in our virtual world change or complicate how we think about, and can respond to, incitement?
This compilation offers expert analysis on incitement to terrorism across these challenging issues and questions. The contributors bring expertise from a range of countries and operational experiences, providing an illuminating and thought-provoking examination of domestic and international law, comparative approaches, and emerging trends with respect to incitement to terrorism.
Hoffman, B., Inside Terrorism, New York, NY, Columbia University Press, 2017.View this title in our discovery service
Bruce Hoffman's Inside Terrorism has remained a seminal work for understanding the historical evolution of terrorism and the terrorist mindset. In this revised edition of the classic text, Hoffman analyzes the new adversaries, motivations, and tactics of global terrorism that have emerged in recent years, focusing specifically on how al Qaeda has changed since 9/11; the reasons behind its resiliency, resonance, and longevity; and its successful use of the Internet and videotapes to build public support and gain new recruits. Hoffman broadens the discussion by evaluating the potential repercussions of the Iraqi insurgency, the use of suicide bombers, terrorist exploitation of new communications media, and the likelihood of a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear terrorist strike.
Closer to home, Hoffman reconsiders the Timothy McVeigh case and the threats posed by American Christian white supremacists and abortion opponents as well as those posed by militant environmentalists and animal rights activists. He argues that the attacks on the World Trade Center fundamentally transformed the West's view of the terrorist threat. More relevant and necessary than ever, Inside Terrorism continues to be the definitive work on the history and future of global terrorism.
Wasserstein, D.J., Black Banners of ISIS: the Roots of the New Caliphate, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2017.View this title in our discovery service
With tremendous speed, the Islamic State has moved from the margins to the center of life in the Middle East. Despite recent setbacks, its ability to conquer and retain huge swaths of territory has demonstrated its skillful tactical maneuvering, ambition, and staying power. Yet we still know too little about ISIS, particularly about its deeper ideology.
In this eye-opening book, David J. Wasserstein offers a penetrating analysis of the movement, looking closely at the thousand-year-old form of Islamic apocalyptic messianism the group draws upon today. He shows how ISIS is not only a military and political movement but also, and primarily, a religious one with a coherent worldview, a patent strategy, and a clear goal: the re-creation of a medieval caliphate. Connecting the group’s day-to-day activities and the writings and sayings of its leaders with the medieval Islamic past, Wasserstein provides an insightful and unprecedented perspective on the origins and aspirations of the Islamic State.
Hamm, M.S., and R.F.J. Spaaij, The Age of Lone Wolf Terrorism, New York, Columbia University Press, 2017.View this title in our discovery service
The lethality of lone-wolf terrorism has reached an all-time high in the United States. Isolated individuals using firearms with high-capacity magazines are committing brutally efficient killings with the aim of terrorizing others, yet there is little consensus on what connects these crimes and the motivations behind them. In The Age of Lone Wolf Terrorism, terrorism experts Mark S. Hamm and Ramón Spaaij combine criminological theory with empirical and ethnographic research to map the pathways of lone-wolf radicalization, helping with the identification of suspected behaviors and recognizing patterns of indoctrination.
Reviewing comprehensive data on these actors, including more than two hundred terrorist incidents, Hamm and Spaaij find that a combination of personal and political grievances lead lone wolves to befriend online sympathizers—whether jihadists, white supremacists, or other antigovernment extremists—and then announce their intent to commit terror when triggered. Hamm and Spaaij carefully distinguish between lone wolves and individuals radicalized within a group dynamic. This important difference is what makes this book such a significant manual for professionals seeking richer insight into the transformation of alienated individuals into armed warriors. Hamm and Spaaij conclude with an analysis of recent FBI sting operations designed to prevent lone-wolf terrorism in the United States, describing who gets targeted, strategies for luring suspects, and the ethics of arresting and prosecuting citizens.
- Country Reports on Terrorism, USA Department of State
- Database of Worldwide Terrorism Incidents, Research and Development Corporation
- Electronic Legal Resources on International Terrorism, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
- Foreign Fighters and European Responses, European Parliamentary Research Service
- Foreign Terrorist Organizations, USA Department of State
- Global Terrorism Database
- International Counterterrorism Efforts, Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict
- Proscribed Terror Groups or Organisations, UK Government
- Research Database Terrorism, Counterterrorism and Radicalization, Leiden University
- Terrorism, Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (Access through PPL Database)
- Terrorism Guide Website, USA National Counterterrorism Center
- Terrorism Publications, Council of Foreign Relations
- Text and Status of the United Nations Conventions on Terrorism, United Nations Treaty Collection
- Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism Database, Monterey Terrorism Research and Education Program
Targeted Killing of European Foreign Terrorist Fighters in Syria and Iraq
In recent years, a significant number of European nationals have travelled to Syria or Iraq to train and fight with terrorist groups such as the Islamic State (IS). This flow of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) has posed serious security concerns for Europe, in particular with regards to the threat posed by FTFs returning to Europe to carry out terrorist attacks. In this context, it appears that a number of States have resorted to targeted strikes against their citizens in Syria and Iraq.Read more
Are Syria and Iraq the Middle Eastern Bloodlands?
Deir az-Zor is a sleepy town on the banks of the Euphrates in the Syrian desert, and did not ring much of a bell for most non-Syrians. Except for Armenians. During the 1915 Armenian Genocide, the Ottoman government deported hundreds of thousands of Ottoman Armenians to Deir az-Zor, where they were left to die or were killed outright. A German diplomat who was stationed in that area wrote that the Armenians were “slaughtered like sheep”. To the casual observer this looked allegorical or even hyperbolical, in any case unreal, removed far away in geography, time, and culture. Until recent times, when ISIS videos surfaced online. And again the desert soil of Deir az-Zor shone red with blood, and once more the word ‘Deir az-Zor’ served as a symbol of bloodshed.Read more
The ‘US Travel Ban’ from an International Law Perspective
On January 27th, 2017, American President Donald Trump signed ‘Executive Order 13769’ titled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorists Entry into the United States’. The purpose of this order is to place a limit on the number of refugees to be admitted into the United States in 2017. The order suspends the entry of foreign nationals from seven Muslim majority nations namely, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for a period of 90 days after which an updated list will be put in place. The order also indefinitely suspends nationals from Syria. This blog will briefly highlight the international legal implications.Read more
Aleppo, Ankara and Berlin: Atrocities, Violence and Terror
Humanitarian Crisis in Syria. In the eastern part of Aleppo, a Syrian city held by rebels, thousands of civilians were trapped. People were being executed in those parts of Aleppo that had been retaken by Assad forces. Recently the trapped residents that were stuck in a small area with no safe zones posted final “goodbye” messages, pictures and tweets on social media. They have thanked supporters, and questioned how the world allowed the situation in Aleppo to happen. The situation in Syria has been described as a “stain on the world’s collective conscience”.Read more
Preventing Bioterrorism, Risk and Legal Instruments
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention a bioterrorism attack is the deliberate release of viruses, bacteria, toxins or other harmful agents used to cause illness or death in people, animals, or plants. In both the popular imagination and among lawmakers and national security experts, there exists the belief that with sufficient motivation and material resources, terrorist groups can produce bioweapons easily, cheaply, and successfully. Some scholars disagree. Legal measures offer no guarantee for preventing bioterrorism, but nonetheless affect bioterrorism. What are the legal instruments addressing prevention?Read more
Coalition against Islamic State: Too Many Obstacles?
After weeks of fighting, Islamic State succeeded in taking over the Iraqi city of Ramadi and it currently controls large parts of the al-Anbar province, which borders on Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia. Almost 25,000 residents have fled Ramadi. This week Islamic State also overran Syrian government troops to seize Palmyra (Homs province, Syria), home to the ruins of a 2,000-year-old city that was one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world.The U.N. human rights office in Geneva said a third of Palmyra’s 200,000 residents may have fled the fighting in the past few days.Read more
Nuclear security: Dangers and Achievements
Nuclear security is generally accepted to mean “the prevention of, detection of, and response to, criminal or intentional unauthorized acts involving or directed at nuclear material, other radioactive material, associated facilities, or associated activities”. In short it is about preventing terrorists from acquiring radioactive material or attacking nuclear facilities. Since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, nuclear security concerns have been heightened, but how real is the danger and what are the legal instruments to combat nuclear terrorism?Read more
Homeland, Zero Dark Thirty and Jack Bauer: Rendition, Torture and the Demise of American Values
The latest in a series of Hollywood productions which reopened a debate about torture and extraordinary rendition is Zero Dark Thirty. Real life variations of Hollywood-scenarios have been unfolding as the US government has engaged in a program of extraordinary rendition since the Clinton Administration and which became widespread under the Bush Administration following the September 11 terrorist attacks.This blog examines Obama’s policy towards torture and (extraordinary) rendition.Read more
Colombia: At Last Peace with the FARC?
Columbia’s fourth attempt at peace with the Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) started formally last month in Oslo and will continue the 15th of November in Havana, Cuba. The earlier attempts- starting in 1984, 1990 and 1998- to end one of Latin America’s longest and bloodiest armed conflict all failed. Why would the outcome of the peace talks this time be different?Read more
New Institute for Counter-terrorism in the Hague
Three Hague-based organizations, T.M.C. Asser Institute, the Centre for Terrorism and Counterterrorism of the University of Leiden/Campus Den Haag and the Dutch Institute for International Relations ‘Clingendael’, announced to join forces to set up an independent institute that will contribute to the study and policy-making in the field of counter-terrorism. The institute is financed by […]Read more
International Conference on Afghanistan, The Hague, 31 March 2009
On 31 March 2009, the Dutch government is hosting the ´International Conference on Afghanistan: a Comprehensive Strategy in a Regional Context´ at the World Forum in The Hague. Building on the achievements of previous Conferences in Bonn, London and Paris, this Conference should reaffirm the solid and long-term commitment of the international community to supporting […]Read more
Hostages rescued in Colombia
Terrorism in the jungle. Colombian armed forces rescued 15 hostages, including former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Ms Betancourt was held prisoner for six years in the Colombian jungle.Read more
- Centre for Terrorism and Counterterrorism, Leiden University
- European Union Counter-Terrorism Strategy
- Global Center on Cooperative Security
- Global Counterterrorism Forum
- G8 Counter-Terrorism Action Group
- Inter-American Committee against Terrorism
- International Centre for Counter-Terrorism
- International Institute for Counter-Terrorism
- North Atlantic Treaty Organization
- Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
- Terrorism Prevention Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
- United Nations Action to Counter Terrorism
- United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force
- United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee
- 100 Core and Periphery Journals for Terrorism Research, Perspectives on Terrorism Journal (Last updated: Spring 2013)
- Cases and Materials on Terrorism, Hauser Global Law School Program (Last updated: May, 2006)
- Counter-Terrorism, United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library (Last updated: December 8, 2015)
- Terrorism, Military Education Research Library Network (Last updated: November 4, 2015)
- Terrorism, New England School of Law Library (Last updated: May 11, 2015)
- Terrorism, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Last updated: December 8, 2015)
- Terrorism Bookshelf: Top 150 Books on Terrorism and Counterterrorism, Perspectives on Terrorism Journal (Last updated: Spring 2012)
- Terrorism Prevention, United Nations Library (Last updated: October 19, 2015)
Research and Academia
- Center for Terrorism and Security Studies, UMass Lowell University
- Combating Terrorism Center
- Global Terrorism Research Centre, Monash University
- The Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence
- International Terrorism and Security Research
- Internet Websites and Links for (Counter-)Terrorism Research, Perspectives on Terrorism Journal
- Maritime Terrorism Research Center
- National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, USA Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence
- Society for Terrorism Research
- Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium
- Terrorism Research Center
- Terrorism Research Initiative