Terrorism has been around for some time. How long exactly, is the subject of academic debate and revolves not in the least around the question how terrorism is defined. 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. 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.
Sources of international law
- 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.
- Friedlander, R. A. and others (eds.), Terrorism : Documents of International and Local Control, Dobbs Ferry, Oceana Publications, 1979 <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.
- 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.
Selected books and articles
- 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.
- Chermak, S.M, and Freilich, J.D. (eds.), Transnational Terrorism, Farnham, Ashgate, 2013.
- Choi, S.-W., ‘Does Restrictive Immigration Policy Reduce Terrorism in Western Democracies?’ Perspectives on Terrorism, 12 (2018) No. 4, pp. 14-25. [PDF]
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Weimann, G., Terrorism in Cyberspace: The Next Generation, Washington D.C., Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2015.
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.
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.
Hale-Ross, S., Digital Privacy, Terrorism and Law Enforcement : The UK's Response to Terrorist Communication, London, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2019.View this title in our discovery service
This book examines the UK's response to terrorist communication. Its principle question asks, has individual privacy and collective security been successfully managed and balanced? The author begins by assessing several technologically-based problems facing British law enforcement agencies, including use of the Internet; the existence of `darknet'; untraceable Internet telephone calls and messages; smart encrypted device direct messaging applications; and commercially available encryption software. These problems are then related to the traceability and typecasting of potential terrorists, showing that law enforcement agencies are searching for needles in the ever-expanding haystacks. To this end, the book examines the bulk powers of digital surveillance introduced by the Investigatory Powers Act 2016. The book then moves on to assess whether these new powers and the new legislative safeguards introduced are compatible with international human rights standards.
The author creates a `digital rights criterion' from which to challenge the bulk surveillance powers against human rights norms. Lord Carlile of Berriew CBE QC in recommending this book notes this particular legal advancement, commenting that rightly so the author concludes the UK has fairly balanced individual privacy with collective security.
The book further analyses the potential impact on intelligence exchange between the EU and the UK, following Brexit. Using the US as a case study, the book shows that UK laws must remain within the ambit of EU law and the Court of Justice of the European Union's (CJEU's) jurisprudence, to maintain the effectiveness of the exchange. It addresses the topics with regard to terrorism and counterterrorism methods and will be of interest to researchers, academics, professionals, and students researching counterterrorism and digital electronic communications, international human rights, data protection, and international intelligence exchange.
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.
- 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
- 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
- Centre for Terrorism and Counterterrorism, Leiden University
- 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