The recent rush in “ Terrorism ” as a phenomenon has been unparallel in modern history. It now features as one of the top precedences in authorities dockets for most of the states around the universe. It is problematic whether it has been hyped up to some extent but undisputedly has been one of the most unfortunate tendencies that have made considerable impact on the manner of life for all.

The security bureaus, spiritual caputs, community leaders, experts and such, are all confronting a gigantic undertaking of undertaking the threat. It is bing authoritiess one million millions of lbs in loss of lives, belongingss, trade and significantly assurance. Due to sensitive nature of the issue, engagement of varied drivers, the deadly cocktail of domestic and international political relations, the deficiency of political will to place root causes, bungled intelligence information and significantly its geographical spread covering all continents are some of the lending factors that has left the modern universe exasperated.

The importance of differentiating and specifying the legitimate and improper has become academic and a affair of legislative act. This unluckily has non helped the bigger cause of undertaking the issue in a just mode therefore go forthing lives of common people at increasing hazard. The argument about values of civil society and rights of the oppressed has blurred and can be argued, to such an extent that no common consensus exists in relation to what is acceptable and what is non, go forthing ordinary people confused and doing rift between different communities. This nevertheless does non decrease the importance of making an amicable definition, the demand for it is more than of all time before, particularly to continue the values of autonomy, equity and democracy in a volatile society.

The treatment will evade to some relevant issues in the context of background, causes, and statute law and will endeavor to get at a satisfactory definition that hopefully would separate the ‘freedom combatant ‘ from the ‘terrorist ‘ . This treatment would take into history both national and international scenarios on the footing that the phenomenon is non restricted to UK entirely and so the definitional jobs it poses worldwide, as by the way does the menace of force from it.


The Freedom Fighter:

To let this treatment to germinate and explicate, it is imperative to specify and distinguish between a ‘freedom combatant ‘ and a ‘terrorist ‘ . The term freedom combatant can be defined as being for those engaged in a battle to accomplish political freedom for themselves or obtain freedom for others[ 1 ]. The common construct of a ‘freedom combatant ‘ is that it is person who opposes a cruel or unjust authorities by contending against it, utilizing arms normally as a portion of an organized group[ 2 ]or even person who uses violent action, or menaces of violent action, for political intents[ 3 ]. These general definitions provided from varied faculty members, saturate an country which is already filled with many positions and sentiments on the definition of such word and how it should be classified.

The Terrorist

The term ‘terrorist ‘ has besides been attempted to be defined as being the systematic usage ofA terrorA particularly as a means ofA coercion[ 4 ]. It has besides been classed as person who use force in order to accomplish political purposes[ 5 ]or a individual who uses violent methods to seek to take a authorities from power[ 6 ]. A ‘terrorist ‘ in a definitional sense connotates Acts of the Apostless of force being carried out, in order to carry through purposes.

The opposition motion can be clearly termed as activities affecting struggle of some nature. The struggle chiefly against the governments as the above definitions seems to assume. The intent of accomplishing ‘political freedom or purposes ‘ indicates opposing some political constitution. It besides nevertheless signifies limitation of autonomy and free will and either a violent or non-violent attack to interrupt these limitations to do inroads for the administrations willing to make something about it.

Peoples who are described as “ freedom combatants ” are frequently besides called in popular civilization asA bravos, A Rebels, insurrectionists, or evenA terrorists. This leads to theA pronouncement “ one adult male ‘s terrorist is another adult male ‘s freedom combatant ”[ 7 ], which poses the trouble that authoritiess are faced with when seeking to specify it. A ‘freedom combatant ‘ could be meant to dwell of person who will contend for the cause of freedom but as we thoroughly discuss, traditional usage of such nomenclature in popular media is confined to those who are engaged in violent behavior and those who ‘fight for freedom ‘ peacefully are disregarded for the ground that force by other groups whom claim to be ‘freedom combatant ‘ , cast a shadow over them. This besides poses the cogency of utilizing term ‘armed rebellion ‘ as it is linked to violence outside the domain of traditional terrorist act. Nelson Mandela and Yasar Araafat were ab initio branded terrorists merely to be recognised as diplomats and freedom combatants, even though the cabals they were linked to were straight responsible for the loss of legion lives and making societal upset. In petroleum comparing even Osama bin Laden was encouraged and supported by US to contend Russia to protect their strategic involvement in the country[ 8 ]. It is dry that he is now the most wanted adult male on the Earth. The sensed transmutation of terrorist to freedom combatant and frailty versa in context of their functions blurs the definition even further. The term ‘terrorist ‘ and ‘freedom combatant ‘ has become distorted with the altering times. It is interesting to observe that Seymour above has no scruple in doing those bleary boundaries more outstanding. His accent on differing cosmopolitan values attached to the activities alternatively of the cover definition is deserving observing and he suggests that they are the same entity and the difference between them both is merely a affair of a sentiment and a subjective position.

International Position:

The history of opposition motion goes back to from 1 AD to 6 AD harmonizing to assorted historiographers, even though no concrete grounds exists as to when the use of the word ‘terrorism ‘ came into being[ 9 ]. Assorted surveies have found over 100 definitions of “ terrorist act ”[ 10 ]and this coupled with the fact that the term is politically and emotionally chargedA greatly compounds the trouble of supplying a precise definition[ 11 ]. Throughout the 1970 ‘s and 1980s, the United Nations ( UN ) strived to sort ‘terrorism ‘ , but the execution of such definition concluded to neglect as member provinces found it hard to verify it, in respects to the usage of force for national release and ego finding[ 12 ]. This was chiefly due to Palestine motion which was non merely whole heartedly supported by the Middle-East but states in South Asia, Russia, China and Africa besides provided tactical support to the cause as and when it was required. The solidarity groups across the universe staged peaceable presentation on regular footing, chiefly to maintain the impulse traveling. The active ‘freedom combatants ‘ or companions of the motion besides got involved in violent activities inside and outside of the mainland Palestine. This ever posed jobs for the states that hosted such groups and they refrained from doing any back uping statements when the activities resulted in loss of lives and devastation of belongingss. This showed how freedom combatants can instantly go terrorists or undesirables through the actions they undertake. The United Nations General Assembly uses the normally agreed ‘political ‘ definition of terrorist act when reprobating such Acts of the Apostless[ 13 ]. The declaration reads:

Condemnable Acts of the Apostless intended or calculated to arouse a province of panic in the general populace, a group of individuals or peculiar individuals for political intents are in any circumstance indefensible, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, cultural, spiritual or any other nature that may be invoked to warrant them[ 14 ].

The absence of term ‘violence ‘ in the above declaration and it ‘s trust on general criminalism of the Acts of the Apostless makes it less influential and renders it incapable to cover with modern twenty-four hours tendency, which is more complex and extraordinary. It is safe to presume that the condemnable Torahs of any state, irrespective of their political construction must be rather effectual in covering with condemnable Acts of the Apostless and the declaration ignores assortment of internal and external menaces the states may confront, such as hazard to substructure, public-service corporations, national financial officers, engineering and others.

Due to badness and the new world that has dawned following 9/11 onslaughts, so Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, described the terrorist onslaught on USA as “ an onslaught on humanity as a whole, without definition, all terrorist act to be condemned whatever the political beginnings ”[ 15 ]. This was a progressive measure frontward and highlighted the demand for strict definition and a ‘zero tolerance ‘ attack. There was besides an recognition and implicit in message of non acquiring excessively wrapped up with the legal lucidity about the definition and alternatively to undertake the issue at manus in a non-negotiable but effectual mode. It is besides deserving observing the use of term ‘whatever the political beginnings ‘ , as a struggle of any political nature was considered as a trigger point that may ensue in terrorist act and a conflict for self finding.

It must be observed that since the rise of ‘terrorism in the West ‘ , the Patriot Act 2001 was enacted in the United States of America ( USA ) , which attempted to specify terrorist act as being “ premeditated, politically motivated force perpetrated against non-combatant marks by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, normally intended to act upon an audience ”[ 16 ]. This definition has no consideration of the societal factors for the cause of terrorist act and efforts to deduce that political force per unit area is the lone purpose. The Act was described as “ a pendulum reaction to 9/11 event by Lord Carlile[ 17 ]. The act was scrutinised by both major parties in the USA as it encroached upon and showed light respect for autonomies of the person[ 18 ].

The UN has made several declarations to let unvarying acceptance of counter terrorist act steps. The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373[ 19 ]( 2001 ) was seen as a response to 9/11 and since as become a pillar of the ‘global legal model for the bar and suppression of terrorist act ‘ .[ 20 ]The debut of such declaration meant that states such as Japan took stairss in order to stop dead the assets of many persons[ 21 ]. However it must be noted that although the counter terrorist act step in this declaration were adopted, the declaration failed to specify terrorist act and persisted to include Al-Qaida and Taliban within the model of specifying terrorist act. Further efforts have been made from the UN to understand the turning menace of terrorists. UN Security Council Resolution 1566 defined terrorist act as being: –

“ condemnable Acts of the Apostless, including against civilians, committed with the purpose to do decease or serious bodily hurt, or taking of sureties, with the intent to arouse a province of panic in the general populace or in a group of individuals or peculiar individuals, intimidate a population or oblige a authorities or an international organisation to make or to abstain from making any act. ”[ 22 ]

This definition takes into consideration of the broad range of amendss that terrorist act could do such as in taking the lives of civilians and does non curtail it to merely political purposes or in times of war. The farther demand for a rigorous definition was attempted besides by Tamar Meisels whom advocates a consistent and rigorous definition of terrorist act, which she defines as “ the knowing random slaying of defenseless non-combatants, with the purpose of transfusing fright of mortal danger amidst a civilian population as a scheme designed to progress political terminals[ 23 ]. This definition seems in include an purpose once more and shows that force and inculcation fright are the cardinal constituents of the behavior of a terrorist.

The history of Palestine Liberation Organisation ( PLO ) and African National Congress ( ANC ) is riddled with force, snatch, civil upset, menaces, incitation in order to accomplish the purposes of these administrations, which in consequence was self-government, freedom, justness, equality, equity and so on, similar purposes of the ‘freedom combatant ‘ . The rights of the Palestinian people to self finding has been recognised by the many administrations around the universe including the security council and the international tribunal of justness and most significantly even by Israel every bit good. About 100 states recognize Palestine as a province[ 24 ]. In 1990, the successfulA dialogues between the authorities and ANC resulted in stoping apartheid, climaxing in multi-racial democratic elections in 1994, which were won by theA African National CongressA underA Nelson Mandela[ 25 ]. In both the above instances the rebellion was internally and externally supported by persons, administrations and authoritiess across the universe. The run highlighted the unfairnesss, segregation, and want of basic human rights of autochthonal people that became magnet for people to protest against it. It besides gave platform for other people and groups internally and sometimes externally to take part in the battle in a non-violent manner. The justification of methods within an administration is met with the internal wrestle between the political arm and the subdivision that trades with rebellion by manner of force. This has meant that differences within groups stagnate farther development for their cause. There has been an increasing involvement at the international degree in supplementing traditional human rights rules with rights for minorities within in each group. For illustration, the Conference on Security and Cooperation inA EuropeA adopted a declaration on the Rights of National Minorities and established a High Commissioner on National Minorities in 1993[ 26 ], this being important as within the international model, the rights of minorities are being protected in reaction to terrorism thining their rights in certain provinces.

Similarities and Differences

The above definitions and backgrounds provide utile information on doing an informed determination on the similarities and differences between the two. The imbrication of some triggers and factors are inevitable and readers are urged to be cautious when taking a base for and against the issue. Most of the formal definitions of terrorist act and freedom combatant have some common features chiefly a cardinal motivation to do political or social alterations through usage of force or illegal force.

The footings have stark differences every bit good. The usage of force perpetrated by terrorist is random and does non take into history the devastation of lives and belongingss of guiltless people. The freedom combatant on the other manus, marks governmental and military installings with a position to convey them to the negotiating tabular array. This is in contrast to terrorists ‘ who aims to make fright and panic and alternatively issues orders and demands to give up and may miss diplomatic channels, ensuing in the attack taken by activists, both can command support. The terrorist ‘s support comes from cloak-and-dagger administrations and rouge provinces. The freedom combatant cause is celebrated and may acquire support from all subdivisions of the society including democratic establishments.

UK Context

There is no individual definition of terrorist act that commands full international blessing. It remains the topic of go oning argument in international organic structures[ 27 ]. Lord Carlile arrived at this decision after carefully researching the current terrorist act Torahs that exists in 60 states. The bulk of states selected for the survey had either excessively wide or excessively narrow range of definition and significantly were designed to reflect specific political state of affairs and menace of the single state. Merely few European states had some similar characteristics to UK statute law and context. The Terrorism Act 2000 was aimed to set up a sound definition of terrorist act in the jurisprudence with a position to present wholly new set of constabulary and investigatory powers to cover with incidents that would be deemed beyond the ordinary violent offenses. It besides superseded and repealed some of the old Acts of the Apostless and commissariats. Since 2000, the UK has enacted five chief pieces of statute law to cover with terrorist act[ 28 ]. Following the events of 9/11, statute law and security steps from the Government were under menace of non traveling far plenty to cover with the issues raised by force, such as terrorist act. Following the events of 9/11, statute law and security steps from the Government were under menace of non traveling far plenty to cover with the issues raised by force, such as terrorist act. In response to this the authorities initiated CONTEST ( I and II ) as the chief authorization for counterterrorism scheme for the UK. It was designed to ‘take history of the development of the menace and of our apprehension of the factors which are driving it ‘[ 29 ]. The latest construct of CONTEST efforts to cover with issue that foreign policy concerns breed violent extremism[ 30 ]. It endeavoured to specify how foreign policy in the UK could move as a accelerator for people to turn to extremism.

‘Real or perceived grudges, some international and some local, including in peculiar: a perceptual experience that UK foreign policy in the Muslim universe ( notably military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan ) is hostile to Islam ; the experience of wider struggle in the Muslim universe and struggle affecting Muslims ( frequently attributed either to western intercession or to western indifference ) ; and a scope of domestic issues, including racism, inequalities and the experience of criminalism and migration. ‘[ 31 ]

This brings the self-contradictory statement that, grudges such as the foreign policy of a state could take to the radicalisation of those aggrieved, who in bend could ensue in contending for the cause, and finally for the minority the sensed ‘freedom combatant ‘ could go an instrument of terrorist activities. It must be mentioned that he describe conducted by Lord Carlile[ 32 ]where he defined terrorist act and reviewed all statute law in relation to this subject, has now become a cardinal portion of terrorist act statute law

Terrorism Act 2000

The debut of the Terrorism Act 2000 signified a immense measure in the right way in the efforts to specify such violent Acts of the Apostless. The act defined it as being an action which is designed to act upon the authorities through a menace or to intimidate the populace and menaces made for the intent for advancement of a political, spiritual or ideological cause can be seen as terrorist act, for the intents of the act. These efforts show that the UK authorities had stretched the boundaries and attempted to specify it. The act besides cleared up disagreements in respects to what type of harm or menaces are caused. Section 2 of the Act besides defines what type of actions can be inferred to be that of terrorists and includes actions which involve serious force or serious harm to belongings. An action which endangers a individual ‘s life or a title which creates serious hazard to the populace can be besides be deemed as actions of terrorist act. The act besides attempted to cover the rise of technological warfare by including efforts to interrupt electronic systems can besides fall under the header of terrorist activities. It is imperative to advert that the act besides considered terrorist activities committed outside of the UK would still be classified as terrorist actions for the intent of the act. This is of import as the range for ‘actions ‘ is broad therefore leting such actions to be classed as terrorist activities.

However, this act even with the efforts and inroads it has tried to do in respects to specifying terrorist act, has been met with unfavorable judgments chiefly from Lord Carlile ‘s paper. He suggested that the act should include ‘ the usage or menace is made for the intent of progressing a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, cultural, spiritual or other similar instance ‘[ 33 ]. If the subdivision 1 ( 1 ) ( degree Celsius ) was to be amended in the 2000 act, it would supply a positive message by heightening the legal lucidity of the act. The Terrorism Act 2006 besides extends the scope of offenses which can be classed as terrorist act and included the term ‘glorifies ‘[ 34 ], which can be meant as a novel word for a condemnable offense. The amendments made by the 2006 Act, such as, glory and mere sermon can non be seen as terrorist actions, Lord Carlile was content with the protection that was in topographic point in respects to the misusing of the clause ‘preaching and glory ‘[ 35 ]. Like the Patriot Act in the United States, the current UK jurisprudence has been scrutinised due to the slow disintegration of cardinal human rights such as right to privateness which allows the constabulary inordinate powers, which could ensue in abuse of them. The Terrorism Act has been wrongly exploited by governments such as the Police force and Customss as they have frequently cited the Terrorism Act when battling terrorist act when in fact in assorted instances these events are non connected to those of terrorist act.

Another combative issue originating from the act is section 44. This subdivision involves the mandates available to senior constabulary officers if they believe that it is ”expedient for the bar of Acts of the Apostless of terrorist act ” , they can confabulate powers to other constabulary officers to seek people and there is no demand that the officers to make so on sensible evidences. Stop and hunts have been taken advantage of as those with no connexion in terrorist act can be targeted, such as dissenters[ 36 ], nevertheless the constabulary must hold ‘reasonable intuition ‘ that the individual pursued is runing as a terrorist, harmonizing to the Home Office[ 37 ].

In many provinces across the universe which breed terrorist administrations, the experience that they have such as poorness and hardship lead to the radicalisation of the multitudes. Recent research suggests that poorness and illiteracy every bit good as the struggle in Afghanistan and Iraq are cardinal factors taking to spiritual extremism[ 38 ]. This has led to the school of idea that freedom combatants and terrorist have non ever derived out of the same background and it is the political orientation that they pursue which is different from one another.


The treatment on the said subject was approached with a position to specify “ Terrorist ” and “ Freedom Fighter ” , and includes researching assorted apprehension of these footings and the positions as expressed by national and international experts, including relevant statute laws. The alone features or commonalty that compares and distinguishes both footings are critical in critically sing its legitimacy and legal position. The quickly decreasing boundaries of terrorist and freedom combatant has non merely left ordinary people confused but governments fighting to supply legal lucidity every bit good. The treatment besides ask the inquiries to chew over on the necessity to specify these footings to the hilt at the disbursal of disregarding such a sensitive issue and in bend giving secondary penchant to undertaking the issue.

The Terrorism Act 2000 and subsequent statute law that followed like the Terrorism Act 2006 which made amendments to the 2000 act such as making new offenses in mention to the encouragement of terrorist act which deals with the root cause of it[ 39 ], provides an penetration into the UK ‘s context and how counter-strategy with all it ‘s teething jobs and failings remains at the bosom of supplying protection and stableness to UK.


The exclusion of spiritual causes from the definition of terrorist act is controversial and there is no discourse as it stands that political cause may be excluded from the definition, this besides applies to an ideological cause. Can at that place be a spiritual cause which is neither political nor ideological? If so, should it be under the terrorist act umbrella?[ 40 ]

The above inquiries bring the argument about ‘root cause ‘ to the bow. The counter-terrorism scheme identifies the importance of the function specific community should be playing. The Prevent strand aims to undertake the issue through community engagement. It is hoped that by placing the underlying issues such as foreign policy, favoritism, want etc the governments would be in better place to turn to the issue through assorted community based and led enterprises. This nevertheless must non undervalue the importance of incorporating and extinguishing the threat of terrorist act through policing and judiciary agencies chiefly via statute law.

The international community it seems are still divided over specifying the term freedom combatant. The thin line that separates it from terrorist is excessively hazardous to be crossed. It besides depends on single state ‘s foreign policy, e.g. The Middle East whole heartedly supports Palestine motion and some states besides give tactical support in signifier of support, publicity etc. The statement with some of the western states is that the financess can be easy channelled to terrorist causes and openly advancing the cause can hold inauspicious consequence on their relationship with Israel, non to bury the incorrect message it would direct to those elements who could fall back to force and derail the run.

The current definition of terrorist act as it stands now in UK has been strictly designed and implemented through proper policy doing mechanism. The built-in failings and the lessons learnt of maltreatment of powers since 2000 have either been amended or eliminated. The procedure of handling each instance on virtue and seeking to place the root cause can merely exacerbate the state of affairs. The reasonable attack path nevertheless would be to look at the terminal consequence. Make the activities result in illegal and random force? Did it do loss of lives of guiltless people and devastation of belongingss? Have the culprits got legitimate concerns that can be resolved through dialogues? Is the issue of persecution, human rights seeable and quantifiable?

The construct of Freedom Fight is foreign to current UK scenario. The robust Torahs and statute laws in topographic point, the mechanism of transparence and execution of these Torahs, the equality and human rights, democratically elected local and cardinal authorities, rights of citizen, cheques and balances of political and judiciary system etc are antithesis to the way of violent battle for freedom. It is besides every bit true that any widely accepted and legitimate ‘freedom battle ‘ outside UK such as Burma, Palestine etc must non be underrated. The UK citizens should hold right to protest within the boundaries of UK jurisprudence, including marching, promotion, consciousness run, funding raising etc.

Word Count- 4, 265