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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Hostis humani generis : piracy, terrorism and a new international law Burgess, Douglas Richard II


In order to facilitate the pursuit and prosecution of terrorists worldwide, and to ensure upon capture that they receive equitable treatment under the law, a new international law of terrorism must be created. This law must provide a universal definition of terrorism, include a list of terrorist offences, offer guidelines for international pursuit and capture by states, and give the parameters of domestic and international jurisdiction. This thesis argues that the crime of terrorism be based on the existing international crime of piracy, most particularly with regard to pirates' definition as hostis humani generis, enemies of the human race. Such definition would also allow universal jurisdiction over terrorist crimes, as well as distinguishing terrorists as international criminals from legitimate, politically-motivated persons such as insurgents and revolutionaries, and from crimes committed by the state itself. Moreover, this thesis demonstrates that piracy and terrorism are not separate crimes under the law, but inextricably bound in both legal and historical precedent. A recognition of terrorism as a crime of piracy not only has felicitous effects in determining future prosecutions, it also gives terrorism its correct definition in international law.

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