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Peace, Terrorism, Armed Conflict and War Crimes

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Terrorism has often been associated with armed conflict. The so-called Islamic State is the most prominent example of a group that rose to power amidst armed conflict. Against this backdrop, it sounds rather strange to associate terrorism with peace. Terrorism, however, has also been called, “the peacetime equivalent of war crimes”. This raises the question how the concepts of terrorism, peace, armed conflict and war crimes relate. This article defines these concepts and applies them in the context of International Humanitarian Law, which is also known as the law of armed conflict. It also discusses today’s fight against IS in light of the November 2015 Paris Attacks, thereby questioning the consequences and desirability of a war paradigm.

Affiliations: 1: Researcher, Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA), Leiden University; research fellow, International Centre for Counter Terrorism (ICCT)


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