The attacks on the United States of America, executed by mostly Saudi-born terrorists on 11 September 2001,led to the present so-called “war on terror” by the United States of America and its allies. The magnitude of those attacks caused some confusion among legal scholars in terms of the categorisation of the attacks: were these attacks to be treated as acts of terrorism (that warranted a domestic criminal justice response), or were they to be treated as crimes under international law? Some commentators have suggested that the scope and nature of the attacks amounted to crimes against humanity. Gill points out that the scale and magnitude of the attacks warranted their categorisation as an “armed attack by conventional means” on the USA, while Dinstein does not leave any doubt that it falls within the ambit of armed conflict by denouncing the terrorist actions as “a flagrant breach of the law of armed conflict” as such. While the legal categorisation of the attacks was the subject of debate, the response of the United States was unequivocal: war.
|Number of pages||22|
|Journal||Journal of South African Law|
|Publication status||Published - 2010|