Faculty Profiles

Khaled Abou El Fadl

Khaled M. Abou El Fadl

Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Professor of Law
B.A. Yale, 1986
J.D. University of Pennsylvania, 1989
Ph.D. Islamic Studies, Princeton, 1999
UCLA Faculty Since 1998

LAW 367 - Law and Terrorism

This course will provide a systematic study of the legal definition and responses to terrorism. In this course, we will discuss the causes and consequences of international and domestic terrorism, and explore the responses of international law and certain national legal systems to the practices of terrorism. The course will start with a historical overview of practices that could be identified as terroristic in nature, such as assassinations, piracy, kidnapping, and banditry. We will then focus on terrorism as a theoretical concept and the efforts to formulate legal definitions of terrorism in international law. In this context, we will analyze the discourses on the right to self-determination, both in domestic and international contexts. Part of this inquiry will focus on the history and theory of political crimes, and whether such crimes are distinguishable from common criminal acts. A significant part of understanding the idea of political crimes will be to discuss the theories of the economic and social reasons for terrorism, and what some have called the "pathologies of terrorism" of the psychology of terrorism. We will also study the arguments for and against the idea of state terrorism (the idea that states can commit the crime of terrorism by economic or military warfare). The second half of the course will focus on international and national responses to terrorism. In examining the international responses to terrorism, we will analyze several international instruments, such as the hijacking convention and the convention for the protection of diplomats, which seek to combat specific acts of terrorism. We will also study the liability of states for state-sponsored terrorism and rights of victims to compensation.

Grading will be based on a final examination and class participation.