International Court of Justice Michelle Gowka 04/26/01 PL SC 14H S. Bremer Overview The issue of international terrorism is one that has engulfed the global community. With terrorism on the increase, we have seen that its importance has increased. Whether domestic or international in nature, terrorism is having an ever-increasing impact upon the international community. The United States has fallen victim to acts of terrorism recently, most notably the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P.
Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK, and the 1998 bombings of U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Upon investigation, it was revealed that the embassy bombings were linked to Osama Bin Laden, a former Saudi Arabian National whose excessive bank accounts fund a worldwide terrorist operation. Further investigation revealed that Bin Laden was living in Afghanistan in a camp protected by his own 200-man private army and a sub-unit of the Taliban, a quasi-religious organization operating within Afghanistan’s borders (MSNBC, 10/12/99). The United States, backed by other nations who have had terrorist attacks related to Bin Laden, appealed to the United Nations Security Council to call for the extradition of Osama Bin Laden for trial. In response to the request, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1267 on October 15, 1999. The resolution called for sanctions to be placed on Afghanistan effective November 14, 1999 unless the Taliban turned over suspected terrorist Osama Bin Laden to the appropriate authorities. Bin Laden is currently a suspect in financing terrorist activities in nation-states such as Algeria, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Kenya, and even the United States of America.
Worldwide intelligence networks have been attempting to maintain constant surveillance of him in order to help deter further acts. However, he is still free, protected by the Taliban, who share many of the same fundamentalist beliefs with him. International Law has established several procedures for the extradition and trial of international terrorists. Currently, there are eleven documents of international law, which address the issue states’ responsibility for combating terrorism (USIA, Feb. 1999).
Bearing in mind the precedence established in international law as well as the nature of these activities that have been associated with Osama Bin Laden, it is appropriate to impose sanctions upon the Taliban for the surrender of Osama Bin Laden to the proper authorities. I. History of International Terrorism International terrorism has changed in structure and design over the centuries. Jewish zealots conducted campaigns against the Romans in the first century AD, and the Hashshashin, a Shi’ah Muslim group who gave us the word assassin, systematically murdered those in positions and leadership during the 19th century (CSIS, July 1999). The modern age of terrorism began in the 1960’s.
International terrorism in its current form began in 1968. As the 1970’s passed by, the explosion of extremist groups and related incidents sparked a new awareness of the dangers of terrorism. In the 1980’s, Canada was the victim of several terrorist attacks carried out by Armenian and Sikh extremists, including a bombing of an Air India flight originating in Toronto, which exploded off the coast of Ireland, killing 329 people (CSIS, July 1999). The 1995 Sarin gas attack by the Aum Shinrikyo Cult in a Tokyo subway marked a new threshold in international terrorism. For the first time, people began to realize that similar groups could use weapons of mass destruction or plan attacks to inflict maximum casualties. The long-term effects of exposure are yet to be determined, but preliminary tests of eighteen victims conducted in January 1998 showed that their sense of balance was affected by the nerve gas (ACOEM, January 1998).
II. Status of Bin Laden At present, Bin Laden controls a comprehensive international terrorist network, all financed through Bin Laden’s personal fortune. His headquarters are located in Afghanistan, and are protected by numerous Taliban soldiers. While tensions between Bin Laden and Taliban members have become strained since August 1998, he nonetheless has remained free from capture to this point. However, Security Council Resolution 1267 does indeed call for Afghanistan to turn him over to the proper international authorities.
Bin Laden is officially a man without a country, as Saudi Arabia pulled his passport in 1994 amidst allegations of financing subversive activities in Egypt, Algeria, and Yemen. Bin Laden fled to Sudan, where he began working with the National Islamic Front (NIF), led by Hassan al-Turabi. While in the Sudan, he financed three terrorist training camps in cooperation with the NIF (ERRI, June 1998). After May 1996, his exact whereabouts have been unknown, with rumors placing him in places such as Yemen, in Saudi Arabia with a false passport, even captured by the Afghanistan government. Bin Laden issued three Fatwas calling for a Holy War against U.S. Forces in April 1996, February 1997, and February 1998.
He is currently suspected in acts including the World Trade Center bombing, a Saudi Arabian National Guard base in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (MSNBC, 10/12/99). III. Applicability of International Law Current international law, even precedence established by this very court, indicates that the process of bringing Osama Bin Laden to trial is legal. Numerous conventions and treaties support this action, both globally and regionally as well.
The first convention which applies is the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Internationally Protected Persons, Including Diplomatic Agents, brought into effect on February 20, 1977, with 26 signatories and 126 parties to it. This convention can be applied specifically to the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Article I of the Convention defines “internationally protected persons” as “any representative or official of a State or any official or other agent of an international organization of an intergovernmental character who, at the time when and in the place where a crime against him, his official premises, his private accommodation or his means of transport is committed, is entitled pursuant to international law to special protection from any attack on his person, freedom or dignity, as well as members of his family forming part of his household.” Bearing in mind the fact that these bombings did occur at official buildings, these acts fall under this convention. Article 7 further states that the nation-state which houses the alleged offender shall either extradite him for trial or hold a trial on their own soil. This treaty lays out the definition of “protected persons” and establishes a code of conduct for bringing such criminals to trial.
The next convention that holds precedence in this situation is that of the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings. The convention provides for one exemption: if the alleged act occurs within a state in which the offender and the victims both reside and the alleged offender is still in the state. For example, the bombing of the U.S. Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is an example of an act that is exempt from the provisions of the convention. However, Osama Bin Laden does not fall under this exemption. Therefore, Articles 5, 6, and 7 directly apply to the situation at hand. Furthermore, Article 9 supplements Article 7 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Internationally Protected Persons, Including Diplomatic Agents.
Bearing in mind that both of the conventions are entered into force, nation-states are to be held accountable to them, including Afghanistan. Finally, the Convention on the Organization of the Islamic Conference on Combating International Terrorism, ratified in Tehran in December 1997 at a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, can be directly be applied to Afghanistan, as they were one of the principal signatories to it. This convention not only reiterates support for the previous conventions mentioned here, but for numerous others as well. This convention uses all previous international treaties regarding terrorism as precedence, and then builds on them. Furthermore, this Convention does not call for the application of Islamic law over Anglo-Saxon law. Since the OIC Convention does not conflict with international law conventions previously established by the United Nations, Afghanistan is further bound to this convention. IV.
Summary The primary responsibility of the UN Security Council is to maintain international peac …