Research studies

The phenomenon of terrorism in international humanitarian law, the problem of expansion and the ability to contain – the Algerian experience as a model


Prepared by the researcher

  • Hacini Omar University of Algiers 2 (Algeria)
  • PhD student Birech Ahmed University of Algiers 2 (Algeria)

Democratic Arab Center

Journal of Afro-Asian Studies : Seventeenth Issue – May 2023

A Periodical International Journal published by the “Democratic Arab Center” Germany – Berlin

Nationales ISSN-Zentrum für Deutschland
ISSN  2628-6475
Journal of Afro-Asian Studies

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This research paper aimed at agitating a dangerous phenomenon centered on the topic related to: “The phenomenon of terrorism in international humanitarian law, the problem of expansion and the ability to contain – the Algerian experience as a model -“, and this by addressing the reality of the phenomenon of terrorism within international humanitarian law and addressing this phenomenon through Addressing two important aspects of this subject, as researchers have been studying this dangerous phenomenon through two important directions, namely expansion and containment.


: It is clear in the current international reality that the phenomenon of international terrorism has become one of the serious and complex security challenges due to the reasons for its spread and the multiplicity of its actors and manifestations, which calls for building a global strategy to combat global terrorism.

The international trend calling for the need for international cooperation to combat terrorism was crystallized at the Summit Conference of the Member States of the UN Security Council held on January 31, 1992. This conference addressed the importance of collective action in combating terrorism of all kinds and the prevailing regimes with all repressive means, including diplomatic, economic and even military sanctions. At first glance, it may seem that this is an objective measure, but the discourse adopted by this summit deliberately confuses terrorism as a criminal act with the exercise of the right to legitimate self-determination.

Thus, any act of violence against the West, even if it is within the framework of self-defense, is included in the list of terrorist acts, while any act that uses violence as a means to achieve Western interests is classified as a legitimate act even if the most heinous international crimes were committed in it, as happened in Palestine, Iraq, Sudan and Afghanistan.. (Idris Lakrini, Muhammad Al-Hazat, 2004, pg. 74)

In this context, Algeria’s role in combating  terrorism and the originality of its approach should be commended, which is the result of its bitter experience with the terrorist phenomenon and its confrontation with it on its own, which enabled it to build an actual perception of the phenomenon of terrorism. he :

What is the role of the Algerian experience in containing the phenomenon of terrorism and limiting its expansion? How can the international community build a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy?

Study questions:

– What are the implications of terrorism from the perspective of international humanitarian law?- – What are the forms of terrorism in international humanitarian law?

– What are the foundations and implications of the Algerian approach in combating terrorism?

Study assignments:

– There are implications for terrorism from the perspective of international humanitarian law.

– There are multiple forms of terrorism in international humanitarian law

– There are foundations and indications for the Algerian approach in the fight against terrorism.

Study objectives: They can be summarized as follows:

– Knowledge of the implications of terrorism from the perspective of international humanitarian law.

-Knowledge of multiple forms of terrorism in international humanitarian law.

– Knowledge of the foundations and indications of the Algerian approach in the fight against terrorism

the importance of studying:

1- Theoretical importance:

– Contribute to enriching one of the areas of political and legal studies in the field of combating terrorism from the perspective of international humanitarian law, by showing the importance of the Algerian experience in combating terrorism.

2- Practical importance:

Draw the attention of specialists in the field of sociology, legal and political sciences, and all those working in this field, to the difficulties faced by the international community in the field of combating terrorism by highlighting the role of the Algerian approach in combating terrorism locally and internationally, and then working to overcome the difficulties faced by the process of combating terrorism internationally. .

Define the terms of the study:

1 Phenomenon:

Phenomenon is any event that can be observed. In general usage, phenomenon often refers to an unusual event. In scientific use, a phenomenon is any event that can be observed, monitored, and monitored, and scientific observation and monitoring of the phenomenon may require the use of specific devices to monitor and record or collect data related to this phenomenon.” (https://ar.wikipedia.or.2022/)

2 -Terrorism:

The Political Encyclopedia defines it as “the use or threat of illegal violence in its various forms, such as assassination, mutilation, torture and sabotage, in order to achieve a specific political goal such as breaking the spirit of resistance and commitment of the individual, demoralizing organizations and institutions, or using it as a means to obtain information or money, in a way The general use of coercion by subjugating an opposing party to the will of the terrorist party.

3 International humanitarian law:

Prof. Dr. Amer Al-Zamali defines international humanitarian law as “a branch of public international laws whose customary and written rules aim to protect the affected persons in the event of an armed conflict, including the resulting pain from that conflict, and also aim to protect funds (notables) that are directly related to military operations.” (Amer Al-Zamali, 1997, p. 07). 3-Expansion:

  Expansion or scale is the image resulting from enlarging or minimizing a given shape. It is an image that is similar to the original and the dimensions in it are symmetrical with it. The ratio of the dimensions of the image to the dimensions of the original shape is called the coefficient of expansion. The center of expansion is one of the points of the original shape that we fix when measuring with the aim of Modify the dimensions of the original shape. (en.wikipedia.2022 (

4 – containment :

The ‘containment’ strategy is defined as the Cold War foreign policy of the United States and its allies to prevent the spread of communism after the end of World War II. As part of the Cold War, this policy was a response to the Soviet Union’s movement to increase communist influence in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America…” . (en.wikipedia.2022)

The concept of terrorism in international texts1-

               The first collective attempt at the international level to define the concept of terrorism was during the first conference to unify the Penal Code that was held in Warsaw in the year 1927 AD, and political terrorism was included in its agenda within the crimes of people’s law, then another opportunity came on the occasion of the third conference in Brussels in 1930 AD, which emphasized the That political terrorism is represented in crimes that oppose the social organization of all countries of the world, and at the Fourth Conference in Paris in 1931 AD, the detonation of bombs and other similar devices that would cause great loss of life and property were considered among the terrorist acts targeted through the use of a legal committee to prepare a draft agreement on the subject, and in the twenty-eighth session and after amendments, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Targeted Offenses was approved Against persons enjoying international protection, including diplomatic envoys, and signed in New York on December 14, 1973, to become effective on February 20, 1977..              At a later stage, the International Convention against Hostage Taking was issued, signed in New York on December 17, 1979. This agreement comes as an outcome and a direct result that transforms into the form of terrorism. The killing of many innocent people, although the phenomenon cannot be separated from the conflict in the context of the Cold War.

Federal Germany was previously the first country to take the initiative to include the issue of drafting an agreement against the taking of hostages on the agenda of the United Nations during the thirty-first session of the year 1976 AD, according to which a committee was established to draft an international agreement against the taking of hostages after the occupation of its embassy in Stockholm on 04/24/1975 AD, from A party is a terrorist organization, and despite the divergence of opinions, the members unanimously ratified the International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages on December 17, 1977.

These international agreements constituted an important step in the framework of international cooperation in the crimes of terrorist operations targeting air and sea navigation, while the issue of extradition and punishment was left to the discretion of the state on the legality of the act and not the act itself because what a country considers a legitimate act may be seen by another state as an illegal act. A project, and therefore all the aforementioned agreements were concluded within the framework of specialized organizations. (Makhlouf Sahel, 2014, Diss-).

2 The efforts of the United Nations in defining terrorism:

The United Nations Organization has taken an active interest in the issue of combating terrorism after the exacerbation of the terrorist phenomenon at the international level and its impact on international peace and security, especially with the increase in financing and hijacking operations in the mid-nineties of the twentieth century and the targeting of diplomats in terrorist operations, which has become negatively affecting commercial exchanges and air navigation, and causes losses Considerable material and human resources. Therefore, the international international organization has made the terrorist phenomenon one of its priorities, by trying to find a comprehensive definition of terrorism and researching its causes that are capable of combating it. (Makhlouf Sahel, previous reference, CD)

It should be noted that in September 1972, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kurt Waldheim, requested the inclusion of an item in the agenda of the General Assembly at its twenty-seventh session under the title “Measures to prevent terrorism and other forms of violence that claim innocent lives or endanger fundamental freedoms and human rights.” (Muhammad Muhyiddin Awad, 1999, p. 883)

 -3 Regional efforts to combat terrorism:

3-1 Arab efforts:

  • The Arab region is considered one of the regions that have been most affected by the phenomenon of terrorism, whether it is national or international, and for this reason, it has unanimously agreed to unify its efforts in order to combat this phenomenon by ratifying the Arab Convention on Combating Terrorism, which was ratified by the Ministers of Interior and Justice in Cairo in 1998 AD, and the most important thing I included it. (Agreement No. 43/98, 1998, d.p.).
  • Enhancing cooperation among them to combat terrorist crimes.
  • The commitment of states to lofty religious principles and morals, especially the denunciation of not linking terrorism to monotheistic religions, given that terrorism has no religion
  • Advocating for the protection of human rights
  • Affirming the right of peoples to struggle against foreign occupation and external aggression.
  • Commitment to the Charter of the League of Arab States and the United Nations.

3-2- -The European Union and the fight against terrorism:

The European Convention on Combating Terrorism is considered one of the most important strategies for combating international terrorism through the decision of the Council of Ministers issued in 1974 AD, according to which they emphasized the necessity of handing over terrorists to the concerned countries and the need to protect their external borders, especially from illegal immigration as a potential source for the movement of terrorists.

The issue of combating terrorism received very great attention in the partnership agreement concluded between Algeria and the European Union, as this is evident through the preamble to the agreement, which emphasized that the partnership to be established will not be possible to achieve unless terrorism and organized crime are combated, then the agreement highlighted the importance of combating terrorism in its Article 90 Stressing the need for cooperation through exchanging experiences with regard to ways and means of combating terrorism. (Presidential Decree No. 1519/05, 2005, Dr). 

4– Algeria’s role and experience in combating terrorism on the African continent:

  It should be recalled that the African efforts to combat terrorism within the framework of the Organization of African Unity became clear in 1992, with the issuance of a resolution emphasizing cooperation and coordination between African countries in order to combat terrorism. The Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism, which was concluded in Algeria in 1999, In the preamble to the treaty, the phenomenon of terrorism was referred to as a security threat that affects the cohesion of the international community and greatly threatens human rights. The treaty also stipulated the necessity of coordination between African countries in the field of security, the exchange of information and expertise, and standing without the access of any financial resources or weapons to terrorist groups and not allowing their lands to be taken as a base. For planning by these groups (OAU Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism, 2000, d).

  • And according to the transformation of the Organization of African Unity into the African Union in 2002 AD, on the occasion of the Durban Summit in South Africa, the issue of security cooperation was one of the main objectives, as it was approved by its constitutive law on March 02, 2001 AD as part of the objectives of the Union and general principles such as:
  • Respect for existing borders and non-interference of any country in the internal affairs of another country.
  • The right to unite in a member state in the grave circumstances of war crimes and genocide and to develop a common defense policy for the African continent

This summit also constituted an opportunity to establish the African Peace and Security Council to replace the Organization of African Unity in the future for the prevention, management and settlement of African conflicts, which is the beginning of activating the African architecture for peace and security.

In the context of the efforts supervised by the African Union, an African plan was drawn up in Algeria on preventing and combating terrorism on 09/11/2002, which included appropriate strategies for preventing terrorism and border control, in addition to coordination at the regional, continental and even global levels.

In 2004, a governmental meeting was held in Algeria, supervised by the African Union, to present an evaluation report on the developments related to the development path of the “action plan” and other international commitments in the field of combating terrorism. On the sidelines of this meeting, the “African Center for Studies and Research on Terrorism” was inaugurated, with its headquarters in Algiers. To handle the issue of training in every field related to combating terrorism, defining the operational dimension, combating money laundering and financing terrorism, and training judges and jurists and their specialization in the field of combating terrorism.

It should also be noted the important experience of the field countries in the African Sahel, in which Algeria had a pivotal role. Preparatory and consultative meetings were held that brought together the foreign ministers of the field countries (Algeria, Mali, Niger and Mauritania) between 2008 and 2010, and the Operational Staff Committee was established during The meeting that took place on August 12 and 13, 2009 AD, and includes Algeria, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and its headquarters in Tamanrasset in southern Algeria, followed by a council of chiefs of staff of the concerned countries on September 26, 2010 AD, with the aim of assessing the security situation in the context of combating terrorism and organized crime. (Ali Lubuch, 2013, p. 122)

5- Factors that impede efforts to combat terrorism and the requirements for overcoming them:

There are several factors that impede efforts to establish a global strategy to combat terrorism, as these obstacles can be identified in the following main points:

– The absence of a comprehensive and consensual definition by the international community, noting that there is a global condemnation of terrorism in all its forms.

– The failure of the international community to reach a conviction of the need to develop a joint plan in connection with the necessity of developing a comprehensive and multidimensional vision to combat terrorism.

With regard to the requirements for overcoming these obstacles, the internationalcommunity must be convinced of the need to build a global consensus around some structural variables, namely:

  • The need to activate coordination and integration between the various international and regional efforts.
  • The necessity of issuing a regulation by the Security Council criminalizing the payment of ransoms and emphasizing that it is a dangerous source of financing global terrorism.
  • The need to reach consensus on a comprehensive definition of terrorism.

– The need to clearly distinguish between terrorism as a criminal act and the right of resistance of the colonized peoples.

: Recommendations

  • The needs to intensify efforts to absorb the various sources of support for terrorism, fight them, and restrict them until they are completely finished.
  • The need to include the colonization and occupation of peoples among terrorist acts, as there is no difference between the term colonialism and the term terrorism, as both are illegal acts.
  • The need to stop interfering with states and peoples by using human rights issues, which have become a pretext taken by some international powers to carry out their colonial terrorist acts against those states and peoples.

   –     The enactment of an international law that will hold accountable the colonial countries for committing serious terrorist acts against the colonial countries without right.


In this study, we sought to address an important and dangerous topic, which is the phenomenon of terrorism in international humanitarian law, the problem of expansion and the ability to contain – the Algerian experience as a model, as this phenomenon is a crime that crosses borders and continents, and the phenomenon of terrorism did not exclude a particular society, a particular country, or a certain religion, so everyone is concerned With this dangerous phenomenon, which necessitated the international community to unite as a single bloc to combat this phenomenon and limit its spread. Algeria was the first country in this through its pioneering experience in the world, which has become a role model.

List of references:

  • OAU Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism, Presidential Decree of Algeria No. 79/2000, dated April 09.
  • Idris Lakrini and Muhammad Al-Hazat, (2004), Combating Terrorism in the Post-Cold War World, Arab Journal of Economics and Comparative Law, No. 2.
  • Presidential Decree, (2005), including the ratification of the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement to establish a partnership between the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria on the one hand and the European Community on the one hand and its member states on the other hand, signed in Florence on April 22, 2002, Official Gazette No. 31.
  • Presidential Decree (1998), No. 98/412 of December 7th.
  • Muhammed Muhyiddin Awad, (1999), Defining Terrorism (Anti-Terrorism Legislation in the Arab World), Center for Studies and Research, Fifty Scientific Session, Naif Academy for Security Sciences, Saudi Arabia.
  • Makhlouf Sahel, (2014), the problem of building a global strategy to combat terrorism, an intervention delivered on the occasion of the international study day on “the problem of the legal framework for combating international terrorism, Faculty of Law and Political Science, University of Bejaia
  • Abdel-Wahhab Al-Kayyali and others, (1985), The Political Encyclopedia, Second Edition, The Arab Foundation for Studies and Publishing, Beirut.
  • – Amer Al-Zamali, (1997), Introduction to International Humanitarian Law, Publications of the Arab Institute for Human Rights, Tunisia.
  • 202217/11/. en.wikipedi.a-
  • 17/11/2022 ar. wikipedi.-
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