SCL lecture: Book launch ‘Defining International Terrorism - Between State Sovereignty and Cosmopolitanism’

14 October 2019
  • Starts at: 19:00h
  • Fee: free
  • Venue: T.M.C. Asser Instituut
  • Organiser: T.M.C. Asser Instituut, International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague (ICCT) and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon
  • Address: R.J. Schimmelpennincklaan 20-22
    2517 JN The Hague
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Terrorism is a widespread and serious phenomenon, but at the same time a highly contested term: there is no internationally recognised definition. During a book launch on Monday 14 October 2019, author Dr Stella Margariti (Oxford Reports on International Law/Oxford International Organizations), Judge Sir David Baragwanath (Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL)) and Dr Alex Schmid (International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague (ICCT)) will discuss Margariti’s book Defining International Terrorism - Between State Sovereignty and Cosmopolitanism (T.M.C. Asser Press) and delve into this complex but important topic.

This SCL Lecture, co-organised with the STL and the ICCT, will equip you with an understanding of the reasons behind the lack of an international definition for terrorism and with ideas of how a definition could take shape.


In her book, Margariti writes that a universal definition of international terrorism not only will enhance the fight against terrorism, but it will also offer a universally acceptable legal framework for the fight against international terrorism.

Margariti believes that the most workable way to get to a definition is by striving for ‘due balance between the two driving forces of international law developments: state sovereignty interests and cosmopolitan ideals’. In the book, she explains these driving forces, and how they have influenced the development of international law in general and international criminal law in particular.

Margariti uses the example of defining international crimes by explaining how the ‘state sovereignty’ and ‘cosmopolitanism’ dynamics have also been of relevance throughout the drafting process of the definition of the crime of aggression for the purposes of the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court. Margariti further discusses relevant UN Charter provisions, the Rome Statute and the principle of complementarity, the Kampala amendments on the crime of aggression, the paradigms of aggression and terrorism, and prominent anti-terrorist Security Council Resolutions such as Resolution 1368 and Resolution 1373.

Both the book and the free event are for academics, practitioners and students with an interest in international criminal law and the international criminal justice system, international law and security, and people with an interest in transnational crime and counter-terrorism.

Further reading
Defining International Terrorism - Between State Sovereignty and Cosmopolitanism’ (T.M.C. Asser Press) by Dr Stella Margariti (Oxford Reports on International Law/Oxford International Organizations).

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