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Part III The Prohibition of the Use of Force, Self-Defence, and Other Concepts, Ch.32 Action Against Host States of Terrorist Groups

Lindsay Moir

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Use of Force in International Law

Edited By: Marc Weller

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 05 October 2023

Terrorism — Terrorism, financing — Self-defence — Armed conflict, international — UN Charter — Armed attack — International peace and security

This chapter examines the problems that could arise when a state invokes self-defence to justify action against terrorist groups in another state. It first considers indirect armed attack against armed groups and the controversy surrounding the use of self-defence where armed groups are controlled by a foreign state, with particular reference to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) jurisprudence. It then discusses the possibility that an armed attack could occur, permitting a forcible response in the context of international law, without attribution to a state by citing the Nicaragua case in which the ICJ pronounced that self-defence is permissible against a host state in effective control of an armed group. The chapter also looks at the case of Afghanistan and its relationship to Al Qaeda as an example of a state’s claims of self-defence against terrorism.

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