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NCJ Number: 62647 Find in a Library
Title: TERRORISM - THE PROBLEM OF THE PROBLEM OF DEFINITION
Journal: CHITTY'S LAW JOURNAL  Volume:26  Issue:3  Dated:(MARCH 1978)  Pages:105-108
Author(s): H H A COOPER
Corporate Author: Jonah Publications Limited
Canada
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 4
Sponsoring Agency: Jonah Publications Limited
Downsview, Ontario, Canada
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: DIFFICULTIES IN DEFINING TERRORISM ARE ATTRIBUTED TO THE INAPPLICABILITY OF A SIMPLISTIC REPRESENTATION FOR A SET OF HIGHLY COMPLEX FACTORS.
Abstract: THE TERM 'TERRORISM' IS JUDGMENTAL BECAUSE IT NOT ONLY ENCOMPASSES EVENTS PRODUCED BY HUMAN BEHAVIOR BUT ALSO SEEKS TO ASSIGN AND ASCRIBE A VALUE AND QUALITY TO THAT BEHAVIOR. THE IMPLICATIONS OF 'GOOD' OR 'BAD' TO BEHAVIOR HAVE ENORMOUS CONSEQUENCES FOR THOSE SEEKING A WORKABLE DEFINITION OF TERRORISM. HOWEVER, A PREARRANGED, GENERAL UNDERSTANDING OF TERRORISM IS REQUIRED FOR THE FACILITATION OF LEGAL AND SOCIAL TRANSACTIONS. PROPER DEFINITION REDUCES THE POSSIBILITY OF MISUNDERSTANDING AND CONFLICT. THE ALTERNATIVE PRACTICE OF USING AD HOC DEFINITIONS, OR 'KNOWING TERRORISM WHEN IT IS SEEN,' WOULD CREATE CONFUSION. ALTHOUGH THE LEGAL PROFESSION MAY APPLY PARTICULAR TERMS TO SUIT THE SPECIAL NEEDS OF THE LAW, THE COMPLEX TASK OF DEFINING TERRORISM MUST NOT BE UNDERESTIMATED. THE PROBLEM IN DEFINITION IS MORE THAN SEMANTIC FOR IT CONTAINS A RANGE OF PSYCHOLOGICAL, POLITICAL, AND PRACTICAL COMPONENTS. NEVERTHELESS, BY ACKNOWLEDGING THE COMPLEXITY OF THE DEFINITION, INTERESTED COUNTRIES CAN DEVELOP A FRAMEWORK THAT COMPROMISES THE OTHERWISE IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN NATIONS. IT MAY BE POSSIBLE TO SECURE AGREEMENT AND UNDERSTANDING ON SOME OR MOST OF THE CONSTITUENT ELEMENTS OF TERRORISM, WHILE STILL RESPECTING DIVISIONS OF OPINION. MOST PEOPLE SHOULD AGREE UPON THE EVIL OF SPECIFIC ACTS OR AT LEAST THE AGGREGATION OF ENUMERATED ACTS. A PRACTICAL DEFINITION MAY BE FORMED FROM SUCH AGREEMENT. FOOTNOTES ARE PROVIDED.
Index Term(s): Definitions; International cooperation; Jurisprudence; Legal doctrines; Terrorism/Mass Violence
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=62647

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