IX Edición, II semestre 2018
In 2015, Spain and Romania initiated consultations
on the creation of an international court against ter-
rorism. Two years later, at the opening of the 72nd
session of the United Nations (UN) General As-
sembly, the Romanian President reiterated his
country’s commitment to the creation of this court.
While the idea of creating an international court
against terrorism is not completely new and has
even been the object of academic debate, it “re-
gained momentum as a result of [the] joint Roma-
nian-Spanish initiative”, as noted by Luca Pantaleo
and Olivier Ribbelink.
It is uncertain whether the Spanish-Romanian pro-
posal will succeed. Yet, even if this proposal does
not gain support within the international commu-
nity, it is of great relevance to analyse the added
value of an international court against terrorism.
Since 2001, terrorism has been a major issue in the
public debate and in international relations, and the
discussion on international or quasi-international
alternatives to the prosecution of acts of terrorism
has been present for too long to be ignored. Addi-
tionally, the scale and frequency of terrorist attacks
point to the likelihood of a search for a more effec-
tive response, including at the Judiciary level.
Luca Pantaleo. Olivier Ribbelink (2016) “The Establish-
ment of a Special Court against Terrorism”. EJIL: Talk!
In this context, the present article aims to answer
whether there is an added-value in establishing an
international court against terrorism, instead of re-
lying exclusively on the prosecution for terrorist
acts at domestic courts, with the assistance of inter-
national cooperation. Section 2 of the paper will
present the legal basis for the exercise of domestic
jurisdiction over acts of terrorism and introduce
some advantages and disadvantages of prosecution
for these acts at the national level. Section 3 will
conduct the same analysis with regards to an inter-
national court against terrorism. The final section
will reach a tentative conclusion on whether there
is an added value on establishing an international
court against terrorism. Throughout this analysis,
the paper will engage in a constant discussion of
human rights law. This is justified by the under-
standing that counterterrorism and human rights
are two sides of a same coin, and any separation of
the two is artificial and does not contribute to an
effective counterterrorism strategy.
While defining terrorism is not the purpose of the
paper, it is necessary to introduce the definition that
is used as a basis for the analysis here conducted.
After all, how can the reader comprehend the dis-
cussion on prosecution for acts of terrorism, with-
out knowing what the author understands as con-
Cf. Karima Bennoune (2008) “Terror/Torture”, 26 Berkeley
Journal of International Law.