discussion terrorism as an international crime


The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established in 2002. According to its mandate, the ICC has jurisdiction over some of the most serious crimes under international law, including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. During the negotiations for its creation, it was considered whether the court would have jurisdiction over terrorism. However, failure to come to an agreement on the definition of terrorism prevented its inclusion in the court’s scope of jurisdiction.

While terrorism is not specifically included under the ICC’s mandate, some have argued that some terrorist acts may fall within one of the crimes already listed under the ICC’s jurisdiction, namely crimes against humanity. If a major terrorist act has been committed as “part of widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population” then it could be viewed as an act against humanity and fall under the jurisdiction of the ICC. Some argue that the acts of 9/11 would fall under that definition, allowing the ICC to take jurisdiction over the perpetrators.

Prosecuting Terrorists at the International Criminal Court: Re-evaluating an Unused Legal Tool to Combat Terrorism (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.


  • Do the acts of 9/11 qualify as a crime against humanity?
  • Assuming the acts so qualify, should the U.S. seek justice in the ICC?
    • Why or why not?
    • Would doing so aid in the universal criminalization of terrorism?
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