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Browsing by Author "Tahvanainen, Tanja"

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  • Tahvanainen, Tanja (2020)
    The purpose of this Master’s thesis is to analyse state-sponsored terrorism from the perspective of the doctrine of state responsibility. The aim of this work is to assess whether it is possible to hold a state responsible for the acts of non-state terrorist actors which originate from its territory. The term “state-sponsored terrorism” is used in this work to refer to situations where a state provides support to a terrorist organisation for the purpose of carrying out acts of international terrorism. State terrorism, which can be understood as terrorism practiced by states, falls outside the scope of this study. The methodology followed in this thesis is doctrinal research. As such, this thesis utilises international conventions, custom, academic literature and case law as sources. Particular attention is given to the International Law Commission’s 2001 Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts which are utilised to conceptualise international responsibility and highlight some of the shortcomings of the existing state responsibility rules in the context of state-sponsored terrorism. The starting point of this research has been the view expressed in academic literature that the rules of state responsibility are unable to respond to challenges posed by state-sponsored terrorism. Thus, this thesis also considers the customary obligation of states to refrain from activities that may cause harm to the territory of other states as an alternative to state responsibility. The use of terrorist organisations as proxies has become more attractive for states seeking to avoid the increasing costs of traditional warfare and the risk of nuclear war. States support terrorist groups to evade international responsibility and deny their role in terrorist activities. Attributing responsibility for terrorist acts is imperative if states are to prevent international terrorism. State sponsorship of terrorism therefore poses a significant challenge to the international community. This study finds that establishing responsibility for state sponsorship of international terrorist organisations is often difficult, if not impossible, because the evidence linking the wrongful act to the actions or omissions of the state is lacking. Even if an injured state can show that another state has provided some logistical support, financing or sanctuary to the terrorist organisation that committed a terrorist act this is not enough to hold the state sponsor responsible for the consequences of wrongful private conduct that it has helped bring about in many cases.