Terrorism as a legal concept

Authored by: Ben Saul

Routledge Handbook of Law and Terrorism

Print publication date:  July  2015
Online publication date:  July  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415870375
eBook ISBN: 9780203795835
Adobe ISBN: 9781134455096

10.4324/9780203795835.ch2

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Abstract

There is a long and contested history of moral and political disapproval of ‘terrorism’. It is only fairly recently, however, when concepts of terrorism have taken legal form. From the mid-nineteenth century, the problem of what is often now regarded as terrorism was framed quite differently in national law. Political violence was variously prosecuted as ordinary crime or offences against public order or state security, supplemented in exceptional situations by special regimes of martial and emergency law. Highly variable national extradition laws struggled, however, to deal with political offenders who fled across borders, eventually precipitating efforts to improve transnational cooperation.

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