General Assembly Sixth Committee - LEGAL


Edward Candy

Cite as


General Assembly Sixth Committee – Legal

A. Redefining the Legality of Measures in the Age of Stateless Aggressors

The crux of the issue is whether an act of terrorism, launched from abroad by non-State actors, can be subsumed under the heading of an armed attack in the sense of Article 51 of the UN Charter (namely, as a trigger to the target State’s exercising counterforce in self-defense). When a terrorist act originates out-side the borders of the target State, a foreign State must somehow be implicated. The reason is that it is indispensable for the terrorists to have a base of operations as a springboard for their attack. It is true that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) enunciated: “Article 51 of the Charter thus recognizes the existence of an inherent right of self-defense in the case of armed attack by one State against another State.”[1] However, there is, with respect, nothing in the text of Article 51 that thus stipulates that self-defense is available only when an armed attack is made by a State. Afghanistan believes that the absence of a universal definition of terrorism, what constitutes stateless aggressor, self-defense, and ‘imminent threat’, and the fact that non-state actors don’t fit into current international system are some of the problems that should be addressed by States.

In Afghanistan, terrorism, including stateless aggression, remains our prime concern. In 2001, the...