A proliferation of UN Security Council Resolutions in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks have encouraged strong, sometimes repressive, counter-terrorism measures around the world. Yet, despite efforts dating back to the 1920s, there remains no internationally agreed definition of the crime. A sound definition would help to distinguish political from private violence and would curb the potential overreach of anti-terrorism treaties.
In 2007, the UN Security Council issued Resolution 1757, which established the first internationalised tribunal to prosecute terrorism. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon has jurisdiction over the bombing that killed 23 people, including ex-Premier Rafik Hariri, and injured many others in Beirut on 14 February 2005. Steps towards the development of a single international definition were taken on 16 February 2011 by the STL Appeals Chamber, in a decision which defined terrorism as “an act intended to spread terror”. The jurisprudence of the STL will be followed with interest.
9 Bedford Row International has great experience in cases involving allegations of international terrorism, and our Counsel have advised on issues arising from the assassination of Rafik Hariri since 2005. David Young has been selected to represent one of the accused in the first trial to be held at the STL. Many complex legal issues are expected to arise during this trial, not least because the court has made a decision to hold the trial in absentia.