Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


Jordan J. Paust


Traditional international law generally condemns acts of terrorism and violations of human rights. The United Nations also condemns such actions. This Article first examines the legal responsibility of all nations to respect and protect human rights within their borders. It then discusses the legal responsibility of all countries to protect human rights outside their own borders. Under both the United Nations Charter and general principles of customary international law, every state has a duty to refrain from assisting or even tolerating known terrorist activities. The author analyzes United States precedent and points out that this duty has been acknowledged by the United States since colonial times. The author concludes that all countries must also take steps to enact and enforce necessary legislation, to promote cooperative investigation and prosecution, and to provide effective civil and criminal sanctions when offenses occur. These actions will significantly aid in preventing and punishing individual and governmental terrorism.