Essay: Causes of terrorism

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The absence of a situation cannot exist as a known opposite to the situation. An absence of off light is darkness. There could not have been an opposite because light can be measured by its intensity while darkness cannot be measured. This idea can be applied to an absence of good is bad and an absence of love is hate. If there were to be the presence of love, there might not have been religious discrimination and extremism, abject poverty, unjust social system and structure, corruption, political causes, extreme exploitation, systematic violation of human rights, ill judgement, economic marginalization and cultural alienation as a result of globalization in any society. It is in human nature to develop hate and take advantage of the weaker ones in any society. And till present date, hate has dominated the minds of people so much that they have lost the reasoning that life is sacred and should be spared instead of destroying. To check this human nature, from the past till moment, law has been a powerful instrument to achieve this. It must be stated again that the absence of love streams the cause of root cause of terrorism.

Lack of Freedom and Human Rights: From expert analysis, one of those things that was thought to have caused terrorism is lack of freedom and human rights. In other words, a country that practices true democracy is believed to be free of terror while the ones that are autocratic and totalitarian are pregnant with aggrieved people that can cause terror due to fact that they are mostly deprived of their human rights and freedoms. It is not true because from all perspectives, terrorist have always and mostly attacked countries that are democratic such as U.S., Britain, Nigeria, etc.

Poverty: Can the idea be correct that poverty is one of the causes of terrorism? This sounds controversial but one truth is that, according to a quotation credited to the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, “you can never win a war against terror as long as there are conditions in the world that make people desperate – poverty, disease, ignorance.” This may be truthful. While taking a brief analysis of why it may not be correct, a report from scholars has shown that in 96 countries between 1986 and 2002, there were no links between its economic measures and terrorism. On a live Summit, President Barack Obama said “Poverty alone does not cause a person to become a terrorist, any more than poverty alone causes somebody to become a criminal.” Anwar Awlaki, the American cleric who took on a leadership role in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, was the son of a major Yemeni political figure and Zachary Chesser, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for trying to join Al Shabaab and threatening the creators of South Park over their depiction of Mohammed, born to a well off family in the Virginia suburbs. These connections between poverty and terrorism seems to disconnect at the point but does that mean poverty has no connection at all? In 2011, it was discovered that there is a significant connection between unemployment and right wing extremist crimes committed in Germany. In Somali, a lot of citizens living in poor conditions have been mobilized to join Al-Qaeda from statistics. In Northern Nigeria, most Boko Haram members are illiterates with little or no education and poor living conditions. If education were at normal level in these two countries, there may be economic growth, improved health care system and social advancement which may bring terrorism to a mode of extinction. Any connection between poverty and terrorism is indirect, complicated, and probably quite weak and unnecessary moves to relate poverty and terrorism together may distract policy makers and international bodies from getting the root causes of terrorism

Ethno-nationalism: when a sect or ethnic groups desires to secede from a government, this happens rarely by peaceful means. It would mostly lead to the violence through terrorism. Fighting the government that has that organized military strength may be difficult but using terrorism can be fatal which would not only shake the government but would take lives of innocent citizens. Ethno-terrorism can be dated back to years before World War II started. Ethnicity and race are two different things and cannot be said to be the cause of terrorism. According to Smith, An ethnic group is defined as a human population whose members identify with each other, usually on the basis of a presumed common genealogy or ancestry. Within an ethnic group lies the same culture, religious practice, language and styles. Ethnic identity may contain some genealogical components, but more often, it develops in response to the migration of different groups. Nationality, on the other hand, according to the Law Dictionary refers to “that quality or character which arises from the fact of a person’s belonging to a nation or state. Nationality determines the political status of the individual, especially with reference to allegiance; while domicile determines his civil status. Nationality arises either by birth or by neutralization.” On legal terms, an individual can become a nationality either through birthright (jus soli), blood (jus sanguinis), or neutralization.

The combination of ethnicity and nationality gives birth to ethno-nationality and can be defined as a particular strain of nationalism that is marked by the desire of an ethnic community to have absolute authority over its own political, economic, and social affairs. This can pose a threat to the regime in power and to the international community. Hamas is an example of ethno-nationalist groups that runs their own quasi-state (the Palestinian Authority) that carry out suicide attacks and bombings to fight for a Palestinian states, and Hezbollah can be said to operate a state-within-a-state (southern Lebanon). Another terrorist organization is the Chechen which is also ethno-nationalists for their attacks against the government and people of Russia in the attempt to form their own state.

Efforts of minority groups in countries pushing for the move to become independent always constitute a cause for terrorism where most will not stop this act of terrorizing until they get what they want.

Alienation: Several authors on terrorism have addressed the way individuals in foreign land feel about alienation, which push them to becoming brains behind terrorism especially those living in Europe. Times without number, these people have witnessed discrimination within the countries they reside, resulting in feelings of isolation. They normally migrate from poorer countries, to better off ones to get standard education or get jobs for survival. The moment they get to this new environment, especially the Muslims in Europe, they start to feel alienated. The new host nation seems to totally look well different from where they left in terms of culture and community organization. This causes the alienated people to start considering the communities with cultures like their home countries or others like themselves. Due to these, these foreigners try to move to another community that has similar culture with where they came from so as to feel not discriminated. Growing ill opinions of discrimination always or can frustrate these people to get close to embracing conservative and eventually, extremist ideologies. In the book title Europe’s Angry Muslims, points to every foreigners Muslims who immigrated for academic reasons or for asylum and insiders, second or third generation Muslims in Europe and noted that these set of people are subjected to discriminatory social policies, like the headscarf law in France, which makes them to become radicalized.

The biggest problem here is that most foreigners who have got stay or work permit especially in Europe who have become radicalized owing to alienation they have suffered in this society hold European passports. This can easily allow them to get access to U.S. and other European countries thus creating a threat to not only Europe, however, to the U.S. as well.

Religion: The most typical way of thinking today is that terrorism is brought about by religion. In spite of the fact that it is not the fundamental driver for terrorism, religion does assume a huge part in driving a few types of it. It was pointed out in Inside Terrorism, that from the Thugs of ancient India that executed to terrorize for the sake of the god Kali to the Jewish Zealots who cut the throats of Romans openly to battle their occupation of Israel, religion (in combination with political/ethno-nationalist actors) has long been a influence of terrorism.

Today religion as a factor that motivates terrorism has been primarily ascribed to Islamic fundamentalism (however different illustrations, for example, the Aum Shinrikyo cult that completed the 1995 sarin gas assaults in Tokyo, additionally exist). As Sageman depicts that the global Salafi jihad is a general religious revivalist movement with the objective of restoring past Muslim glory in a great Islamist state extending from Morocco to the Philippines, wiping out present national boundaries.

As a driver of terrorism, the genuine threat that religious regulation stances is its consolation of assaults that are more brutal in nature than different sorts of terrorism. By being guaranteed an afterlife gifts in the eternal realm, terrorists are more prone to complete suicide bombings and hit hard via strategies that are harder to protect against.

Socio-Economic Status: Terrorists might likewise be driven by a feeling of relative denial and absence of increasing convenience in the society they dwell. Globalization and the current media have given ‘those who lack wealth’s an intense consciousness of their circumstance contrasted with ‘the wealthy’. “Globalization creates an acute awareness about opportunities available elsewhere. This leads to frustration, victimization, and humiliation among growing cohorts of urbanized, undereducated, and unemployed Muslim youth who are able to make comparisons across countries.” Considering the economic differences in the middle of themselves and the Western world can make angry some in undeveloped nations, intensifying strain and threats. This permits terrorist links to pick up consideration and section to social orders that have felt wronged by these apparent social inequality or discrimination.

Sadly the main genuine approach to diminish this is through economic advancement of the State, nation, and area, yet that requires some serious time consuming interventions. For a long time to come there will consistently be those that are displeased by the obvious results of the comparisms between the state of the wealthy people and their own which inevitably opens the ways to disappointment and resentment. Along these lines, this cause of terrorism is strikingly difficult to battle as globalization considers more instruments of relationship between unstable global socio-economic levels.

Political Grievances: An absence of political completeness in States or protests against a certain political request may bring about people to join or make terrorist gangs. Left and right wing terrorists regularly look for a political framework. In fact, in countries with dictator administrations, most loopholes to create conflict are hardly seen. Angry articulations of political will can swing to savagery as another option for special political frameworks. While to some degree like ethno-nationalist/separatist causes, these political grievances are not conceived from the yearning to make another state yet to change the existing structure inside of the present one.

According to Taspinar, this is also known as a political dimension to relative deprivation; in regards to Tespinar, political Islam is a response to tyrannical governments and its Western supporters. With the information that other individuals around the globe live in representative governments, the resentment just develops among the individuals who live without such political representation, driving disappointed people into the arms of terrorism.

The suggestion here is that governments of the Western world, in their backing of harsh tyrant administrations for their own national gain, have basically made themselves focuses of terrorism of an annoyed and displeased people being governed by these administrations, speaking violence as the only language as an alternative for political expression.

2.2.2.3. The objectives of terrorism

While trying to state the objectives of terrorism, it is import to separate the old time terrorism from the newest generation terrorism. Terrorist groups with secular ideology and non-religious affiliations must not be put alongside with religiously oriented and millenarian groups even though the ‘newest’ terrorism group have religious inclination which makes them similar to the religiously oriented and millenarian terrorist groups. Two most common factors that influence terrorists’ objectives are the strong ideology of the forming of the terror group and their overt motivation. According to the meaning of terrorism given by Dr. James M. Smith, the Ex-Director of U.S. Air Force Institute for National Security that “terrorism is a physical attack intended to produce a psychological effect”, and corroborated by Gorski that terrorism aims to cause a long-lasting state of psychological weakness and insecurity in the targeted population, it can be seen that terrorism is staged to weaken or kill the will of masses and control there mindset in rebellion against the incumbent government coupled with rendering such government incapable of performing its fundamental duty of protecting the lives and property of its citizens. This will happen when the government formulate policies in reaction to the terrorist attacks, for example, all airports and seaports in U.S. got the responsive attention of the government after the September 11, 2001 attack which provoked some unions such as the American Civil Liberties Union to lamenting that the blatant discrimination and state-sanctioned bigotry to outright physical brutality which allegedly targeted the people of Arab-descent living in United States.

Addressing the objectives of the ‘older’ terrorism from 1960s to 1980s, it was a worldwide revolution and transformation where the battle was between capitalism (USA) and Communism (Union of Soviet Socialist Republic) and between Israel and Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Liberation organization that used terrorism as a form of weapon to fight against its target government-enemy with no history of toppling a government to get power. They are known to kill people and not use themselves to kill themselves and others. While the ‘newest’ terrorism groups of the present day that features the likes of al-Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah, Boko Haram, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have a very different set of objectives. For example, what the Islamists-terrorists want is to kill unbelievers and thrash all that symbolizes Christianity and Western civilization. Al-Qaeda’s objective is to avenge the wrongs committed by Christians and Jews against Muslims over the ages, to re-shape the Muslim world, replacing secular states with a single Islamic political leadership and to drive Americans and other non-Muslims from Saudi Arabia, the home of Islam’s holiest sites. Boko Haram stated their objectives clearly that they want Nigeria to become an Islamic state. These groups see killing of unbelievers as a calling, and they are completely desperate to pierce terror into the society they target in total dishonor for human lives. The non-religious terrorists’ objectives will frequently endeavor extremely discriminatory demonstrations of violence to accomplish a particular political point. This frequently aids them to maintain losses of lives and property while still realizing their goals.

2.2.2.4. Authorized methods investigation and prosecution of terrorism offences

The main role of doing an investigation is to examine all evidence in a manner, which is reasonable or just for the accused and which must also be admissible in a court of law. In the case of Fowler v. Padget (1798) 101 ER 1103 (1798), it was stated that “It is a principle of natural justice, and of our law, that actusfacit reum nisi mens sit rea. The intent and the Act must both concur to constitute the crime.” This is the most essential element, which must be known by the investigator while gathering the evidence. His evidence must strongly reveal the individuality of the accused as a prime suspect of a terrorism act. This evidence must show the intent behind the committal of the act which constitutes the mens rea of the accused. The evidence must not fail to give a right location where and time when the act of terrorism was committed. All the movements of the suspects before and after the act must be included in the evidence. The modus operandi employed by the accused must be featured in the evidence which explains the way the act was planned. All this evidence can be collected through testimony, documentary, physical, digital, exculpatory, scientific, and genetic. While collecting information through digital means, such as using of bugs, wiretaps, the authority involved must have legal justification for this means, the reasonable grounds to do so and must as well consider the right to privacy of the accused.

Investigation needs to be carried out with a warrant issued by the court when there is a need for search so as to gather evidence admissible in court. It can sometimes be carried out without warrant if it is a matter of urgency so that the evidence may be gotten without delay. The highest ranking police officer or depending on the State of concern may apply for warrant from the court or for example in U.K., an officer with the rank of assistant chief constable or above can also give permission for searches in an area in order to prevent acts of terrorism.

When there is a reasonable ground to believe that a person would commit a terrorism offence or is about to commit such offence, authorities can make an arrest of such person whether he has committed the act or he is about to. Warrant may be applied for before the arrest is made but in a situation where the terrorist may escape, then such arrest can be carried out without warrant.

Terrorism is an international crime, and, in that capacity, it needs the international community to act to prevent terrorism and the sanction of people executing demonstrations of terrorism. With an international war on terrorism apparently being endorsed by the United Nations (UN), it is the ideal time for the crime of terrorism to turn into a piece of the widespread obligation of countries, with that obligation further assigned to an international institutions, for example, the International Criminal Court, for prosecution and approval.

Under the Article 7 ICC Statute, the ways in which terrorism can be prosecuted is stated clearly. Terrorism can be prosecuted as sub-category of “crimes against humanity”; and the other way of prosecution is as an inhumane act.

1. When terrorism is prosecuted as a sub-category of crimes against humanity, Article 7(1)(a) ICC is invoked in which the major element is murder. The terrorist must have killed or caused the death of person(s). Meaning that it does not have to be aimed at one person, and according to Article 7, it can be systematic involving a lot of targets who are civilian population. Civilian means a non-military target with no armed hostilities. The 9/11 attack is appropriate for this type of prosecution since the acts were multiple and coordinated, causing the death of thousands of people who were performing official duties, in furtherance of Al Qaeda’s terrorist policy against the United States. Suicide bombing attacks could be viewed as forming part of a widespread and systematic attack which falls under crimes against humanity. In addition, according to Article 7(1)(e) ICC, hostage-taking which is a form of deprivation of physical liberty with widespread and systematic attack directed against person(s) is under crime against humanity, an example is the Dubrovka Theatre hostage taking in October 2002, together with the Beslan school attack in September 2004, perpetrated in furtherance of the Chechenian battle for independence.

According to Article 7(1)(f) and (k) ICC, terrorism can be prosecuted under torture if it inflicts a grave injury to the mental health of the person. This article is based on the Torture Convention of 1984 which omits the requirement of a connection to a public official.

Also, as its stated in Article 7(1)(h) ICC:

“Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court.”

Following Article 7(2)(g) ICC, which states that:

“Persecution means the intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law by reason of the identity of the group or collectivity; which the person is a party to.”

It requires oppressive intent in view of political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, also, different grounds universally perceived as impermissible under international law. However, there must be a connection between the persecutory act and any crime or those crimes stated in Article 7(1) ICC which must be within the jurisdiction of the court.

2. When terrorism is prosecuted as inhuman act, Article 7(1)(k) ICC is invoked in which the terrorist must have inflicted grave injury to body or to mental or physical health via inhumane act with intent in which the act was of a character similar to any other act referred to in article 7(1) ICC.

2.3. Historical Development of International Humanitarian Law

The development of IHL had been influenced by religious concepts and philosophical ideas. Customary rules of warfare are part of the first rules of international law altogether. In this process, the development from the first rules of customary law to the first written humanitarian principles for the conduct of war was also accompanied by setbacks. Some rules which imposed restrictions on the conduct of war, the means of warfare and their application can even be traced back to ancient times. The Sumerians considered art of war as a state run by the law, which was taking place with a pronouncement of war and was finished by a peace treaty. War was subject to specific rules which inter alia, guaranteed immunity to enemy negotiators.

Hammurabi, king of Babylon, wrote the “Code of Hammurabi” for the protection of the week against oppression by the strong and ordered that hostages be released on payment of a ransom. Furthermore, the law of Hittites also provided for a declaration of war and for peace to be concluded by treaty as well as for respect for the inhabitants of an enemy city which has capitulated. The war between Egypt and Hittites for instance was thus terminated by a peace treaty.

In the 7th Century B.C., Cyrus I, king of Persians, ordered the wounded Chaldeans to be treated like his own wounded soldiers.

To buttress the understanding of this development, the Indian epic Mahabharata and the Laws of Manu already contain provisions which prohibit the killing of an adversary who is no longer capable of fighting and surrenders, forbid the use of certain means of combat, such as poisoned or burning arrows, and provide for the protection of enemy property and prisoners of war.

The Greeks, in the wars between the Greek city-States which considered each other as having equal rights, but also in war led by Alexander the Great against the Persians, respected life and personal dignity of war victims as a prime principle. They did not touch the Holy places, consulate offices, ministers of God, and ambassadors of the conflicting side and swap over POWs. For instance, the poisoning of sources of water was illegal in conflict.

The Romans also accorded to their prisoners of war the right to life. However, the Greeks and Romans distinguished between those peoples whom they regarded as their cultural equals and people whom they considered to be barbarians.

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