Freedom Fighter or Terrorist?

  •  Bahman Akbari    


In certain cases, making a distinction between freedom fighters and terrorists is a matter of dispute between states. This article describes the main reason for this disagreement and suggests some criteria for separating these two concepts. By referring to the practice of states as well as some regional counter-terrorism conventions, this article argues that the root cause of the issue arises from the legal interpretation of self-determination at the present postcolonial epoch. Therefore, permissions and limitations arising from the right to self-determination determine the main differences between freedom fighters and terrorists. Finally, the article concludes that a freedom fighter is someone who fights for legal rights in conformity with the law of armed conflict; while a terrorist is someone who fights to achieve illegal advantages by means of targeting civilian populations, civilian objects and other protected persons and objects.

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