Cecilia Polizzi

The Crime of Terrorism: An Analysis of Criminal Justice Processes and Accountability of Minors Recruited by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham


This Article expounds the legal dilemma of minors involved in terrorist acts and related offenses in the Islamic State ranks. By acknowledging the international discourse on terrorism as encompassed by legal concerns on the legitimacy of unlawful killings, military tribunals and absence of due process, the Article provides a detailed analysis of the consistency and inconsistency between the rule of law provisions related to minors in combat and counter-terrorism practices. Departing from a classification of the conflict in Syria and in consideration of its implications on the scope of application of international law to it, the Article examines the existing legislative gaps to the extent to what such fractures expose minors to a system of human rights abuses. The lack of monitor on counter-terrorism activities, in conjunction with an excessive deference to the executive in Syria and the United States, supports the emergence of a climate of impunity for actions committed by state officials in counter-terrorism operations. The security imperative to combat terrorism ultimately causes derogation from the very rule of law and influences the performance of the criminal justice system. The Article illustrates how the failure to address terrorism and terrorism-related offenses at the international level provides for nation-states to issue anti-terrorism treaties which disrupt principles of juvenile justice as they orient on the infliction of punishment and do not envisage rehabilitation and reintegration