The Russian perspective.

Author:Tuzmukhamedov, Bakhtiyar
Position:Proceedings of the One Hundred Second Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law: The Politics of International Law
 
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The panel was convened at 10:45 a.m., Saturday, April 12, by its moderator Suzanne Spaulding of the National Terrorism Commission, who introduced the panelists: Charles Dunlap ([dagger]) of the U.S. Air Force; Jack Tomarchio ([dagger]) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Professor Bakhtiyar Tuzmukhamedov of the Russian Association of International Law.

THE RUSSIAN PERSPECTIVE

By Bakhtiyar Tuzmukhamedov *

These remarks will comment on several Russian legislative responses to terrorism and official views on applicability of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) to certain levels of those responses.

My first point is that while Russia has not unequivocally adhered to the concept of the "Global War on Terror," it has accepted a militarized mode of response to terrorism in which traditional law-enforcement means and ways of dealing with that crime often play a secondary role. The second point was prompted by a claim made by some respectable writers that "the Russian government has refused to recognize the existence of an armed conflict in Chechnya." (1) I shall submit that such statements are, mildly speaking, imprecise. Various branches of the Russian Government have acknowledged the existence of a non-international armed conflict on Russian soil which in turn, albeit by implication, may be construed as the recognition of the applicability of IHL.

As to the In, st proposition, at a certain point Russia has entertained a notion of the "Global War on Terror," when the Annual Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly made reference to the "War on International Terrorism." That being an isolated episode, the term that is more commonly used in official statements is the "Aggression of International Terrorism." I shall abstain from the discussion of the accuracy of the use of the term "aggression" in this context. Suffice is to say that I am a proponent of a more pure international legal meaning of the term.

That having been said, the use of the term "aggression" is, in my opinion, a reflection of a militarized mode of response to terrorism in which traditional law-enforcement means and ways of dealing with that crime often play a secondary role. Unlike the British Army that deployed to Northern Ireland in support of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, under the Federal Law "On Counteracting Terrorism" the Russian Armed Forces may be assigned to front-line missions in fighting terrorists. Of course, I am not too naive and am aware that the British Army used armored vehicles, machine guns and even helicopters in various combat roles in Ulster. My British friends with whom we worked together in the United...

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