The Legal Status of Terrorists from the Subject of International Relations to the field of International Humanitarian Law
Oana-Elena Brânda

The aim of the present paper is to analyze the legal status of terrorists depicting on various perspectives. Thus, the larger framework of analysis is provided both by the “global war on terrorism” and the plethora of academic communities discussing the topic and attempting to define the very phenomenon it generated. Defining terrorism as a concept has not reached a consensus, and, just as the motto says it, what one considers to be a terrorist, another admires and praises as a “freedom fighter”. In light of the exhaustive work of scholars on what “terrorism” and “terrorists” are, the present paper aims to approach strictly the matter of the legal status of terrorists, not in an attempt to offer a definition, but rather to comprehend the inner mechanisms of the concept and the contemporary manners of tackling it. Thus, the paper shall have three main parts: a first one, dealing with the theoretical framework of analysis offered by the humanitarian law, followed by a debate on the common grounds on the topic offered by humanitarian law, human rights law and international criminal law and finally, a part that will be in fact, a case study, discussing the “illegal combatant” status of Taliban and Al-Qaeda members.

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