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Action against host states of terrorist groups

Moir, Lindsay



Marc Weller


This chapter examines the problems that could arise when a state invokes self-defence to justify action against terrorist groups in another state. It first considers indirect armed attack against armed groups and the controversy surrounding the use of self-defence where armed groups are controlled by a foreign state, with particular reference to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) jurisprudence. It then discusses the possibility that an armed attack could occur, permitting a forcible response in the context of international law, without attribution to a state by citing the Nicaragua case in which the ICJ pronounced that self-defence is permissible against a host state in effective control of an armed group. The chapter also looks at the case of Afghanistan and its relationship to Al Qaeda as an example of a state’s claims of self-defence against terrorism.


Moir, L. (2015). Action against host states of terrorist groups. In M. Weller (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of the use of force in international law (720-736). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Publication Date Jan 15, 2015
Deposit Date May 16, 2019
Pages 720-736
Series Title Oxford Handbooks
Book Title The Oxford handbook of the use of force in international law
Chapter Number 32
ISBN 978-0-19-967304-9
Keywords Self-defence; Terrorist group; Armed attack; Armed group; International Court of Justice; International law; Nicaragua; Afghanistan; Al Qaeda; Terrorism
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