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Issues of ISIS and International Laws

Info: 8496 words (34 pages) Coursework
Published: 7th Jun 2019

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Jurisdiction / Tag(s): International Law


The Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (also known at ISIL and Da’ash) raises important questions of international law. It remains clear that it fails to meet the international law criteria for statehood but nonetheless is bound by the obligations of international law.”



The main discussion of this essay is resultant from the title of the essay itself, specifically the Legal Situation of the Islamic State in International Law – Legitimacy of the Use of Force in self-defence against the Islamic State. A number of subtopics will be addressed, on the essay such as the question of statehood and the hierarchy among the criteria involved. Other underlying research question deals with the onset of rights entitled to a state in accord with (UN Charter articles 2.4 and 51) by a non-state actor.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria

The group is formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (‘ISIL and previously by other names,[1] conquered swaths of land in Central and Northern Iraq. Building on the Sunni dissatisfaction with Iraq’s Shia government and on instability in Syria, ISIS expanded now controls parts of Syria and Lebanon. ISIS militants have beheaded people on video. [2]They have ransacked cities and villages. Also, they have murdered or threatened to kill everyone who dissents from their opinion of Islam.

Meanwhile, the chaos in Syria, which began as protests against the Assad regime in 2011 and escalated to full out civil war by 2014, presented ISIS an opportunity to seize territory across the border.[3] 2014 ISIS established its capital in the captured Syrian city of Al-Raqqah and changed the group’s name up till now again to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.[4] Soon afterward, ISIS seized nearby Syrian oil wells and refineries, providing it with huge financial resources.[5] ISIS then turned its sights on (Mosul), the second-largest town in Iraq, which fell to ISIS in (2014).[6] Following this, ISIS had access to hundreds of millions of dollars from banks, as well as tanks and arms that it taken from the Iraqi military which escaped Mosul city with almost no fight.[7] With these vast financial and military resources, ISIS started to capture town after town in Iraq and Syria with effortlessness.

Hereinafter ISIS, is attracting attention from the international community. They have carried out operations in the name of this organisation as well as closely affiliated names for roughly a decade, primarily from Iraq and Syria. In the backdrop of activities conducted by ISIS, the international community has shaped their legal policies accordingly. The U.S., for one, is carrying out airstrikes in Iraq and Syria and supplying and training the local forces with material to combat ISIS. The U.S. itself refers to intervention as part of a counterterrorism strategy[8].

ISIS’s systems of fighting involve the infliction of severe damage to human life, physical integrity, and property resultant in systematic desecrations of human rights[9]. This increases serious alarms within the international community and calls for a strong reaction counter to the Islamic State. Islamic State (ISIS) captured media headlines when it was suspect of committing acts of murder, kidnapping, expulsion, rape, and other more human rights abuses against the (Yazidi) minority in Iraq.[10] The difficult situation of the Yazidi, who found temporary refuge on a mountain in the (Sinjar) region, encouraged the United States to attack strategic targets of the organisation. These attacks were also planned to stop the Islamic State ISIS advance into further areas in Iraq in which American citizens are present.

ISIS has quickly established a robust judicial authority over its dawla based on its hard-line clarification of Islam and mainly sharia law. This branch controls the daily lives of all civilians living under ISIS rule. In the VICE News in-depth documentary on the organization, one of the ISIS’s administrators highlighted the scope of the group’s penetration into civil life by stating that ISIS is a ‘’state and not a group’’. Also stating that ISIS purpose to build an Islamic State to cover all aspect of life[11]. Under its judicial system, there are numerous courts that redress minor and major crimes, as well as more mundane neighbour disagreements[12].

ISIS and Statehood in International Law

The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham ISIS is rejected as an official, self-governing, and sovereign state under international law.[13] Its territorial core of Iraq and Syria has allowed it to create political backgrounds, it has a de facto administrative capital, Al Raqqah; the imposing of its own legislation of Islamic Sharia Law and the organisation of a potent military force. Even though it exhibits certain state like abilities and characteristics known by the Montevideo Convention, the international community has not given it recognition as a legitimate political entity. ISIS brutal use of force to establish overriding power has morally delegitimised its claims to statehood in the eyes of the rest of the world.

Many functionaries of international law do not recognise ISIS as a state. This is partly owed to the criteria on the definition of a state in article 1 of the Montevideo Convention[14].

The emergence of new non-state actors such as ISIS, who by some, are considered capable of carrying out the sort of armed attack mentioned in UNC article 51, raises the question of whether non-state actors by themselves and alone can cause the activation of the rights in UNC article 2.4 and 51. This question is important because it allows to evaluating if intervention by victim states to combat non-state actors in a not guilty host state at the expense of UNC article 2.4 concords with international law. The host state’s right to continue to be protected by the provisions of UNC article 2.4 vis-à-vis the victim state’s rights are at stake here.[15]

ISIS clearly fails in establishing its case for statehood in constitutive theory. It does, however, come close to meeting the requirements of the Montevideo convention. It fails, however, since its capacity to enter agreements with other nations is unlikely while no nation recognises it as sovereign and while it fails to recognise any other country. The difficulty with this conclusion is that by disavowing ISIS of its rights of statehood, the attached obligations are also disavowed. It is noteworthy to mention that ISIS does not claim the basis for its state to be founded in international law but rather in the dated concept of legitimism, that is that a sovereign is divinely or otherwise entitled to rule.

Another term that is used to describe ISIS, especially in the terminology of the UNC is that of a non-state actor. At first sight, this means that the rights and responsibilities that stem from statehood cannot be instituted upon ISIS. A not so far consequence of this could be said to be that the activities of ISIS cannot be attributed either to the Iraqi or Syrian state.

Naturally then, if ISIS, who despite being a non-state actor is the cause of the attack in UNC article 51, then the use of force against it could, as a starting point, be considered lawful.

Clearly that non-state actors have IHL and international criminal ICL responsibilities, for example, at the International Criminal Court. Specified that ISIS is not about to adhere to any international human rights standards, why request IHRL in the first place? First, these other sections of law have alike jurisdictional matters. International Criminal Law, which mainly covers IHL violations, could only be invoked based on a situation, which would include all parties to the conflict, or at least all parties in which conflict was situated. This would nearly certainly have to be done also by the state involved, or over the UN Security Council. In the situation of Syria, President Assad is not about to create a court that will find him accountable for violations, and Russia will not let this to be approved by the Security Council. It is clear that ISIS is aiming precisely at making governance outside of conflict; ideally, making a proto-state in which heinous IHRL violations are possible to continue. This ‘proto-state’ might never emerge, nevertheless as states will have to consider, it might be better to provide a possible source of international responsibility if it does, framed as a formal version of the overwhelming moral condemnation of ISIS’s actions that currently exists.

Since ISIS declared itself a caliphate on June 2014[16], the group has received extensive attention in the media, and numerous efforts have been made to describe the goals of ISIS and its role in the world. Though, ISIS claims to statehood are illegal and misguided. While organisations such as the U.S. Bureau of Counterterrorism consider ISIS a terrorist organisation[17], some have ventured to claim that ISIS is not a terrorist group. Ruddy, (the US Editor in) Chief of News max Media, Inc. and scholar of public policy rejects the former President Obama’s statement that ISIS would be considered a violent radical group rather than a state.[18] The scholar, reasons that ISIS is a state and can logically be considered a traditional military opposition due to its regulator and governance of big areas of territory, available tax revenue, and the existence of training grounds functioned by ISIS. Also, when observing at the Global Policy Forum’s classification of a state, it initially seems that ISIS meets the standards of statehood. The Global Policy Forum explains a state as an entity distinct from a government and is a means of rule over a defined or sovereign region. Built on this classification[19], a state contains of institutes such as courts, bureaucracy, and an administrative, nevertheless also collects taxes and manages a police and military force. According to study analysts at the (Institution for the Study of War), ISIS has established many cities with wide-ranging of governmental programs, such for example judicial, educational and security service area, including its capital city Raqqa.[20] Furthermore, ISIS has established both administrative and service-oriented programs and provides essential structure services, as well as water and electricity. Based on these points, it seems that ISIS should be considered a state. Nevertheless, the issue of statehood is complex, and there exists no conclusive definition of statehood. As such, it is essential to more examine the common interpretation and idea of statehood, and to evaluate ISIS’ position as a state accordingly. Joe Boyle, a BBC News reporter, understands the complication of the idea of statehood, nonetheless compiles common explanations and understandings of the term that can be used when evaluating the statehood of a specific body of people.[21] For example Boyle indications, the requirements for becoming a state consist of obtaining membership in the United Nations (UN), or alternatively gaining recognition from as several other states as possible if UN membership is not approved, and engaging in trade with other states. Built on this definition, ISIS has not gained statehood, as the Islamic State has not been recognised or legitimised by either the United Nations or many other states.[22]

The Islamic State has, despite its large territorial losses in Iraq after the start of the allied (bombing campaign), been exercising effective control over a certain core territory already before it had stated the restoration of the Caliphate in June 2014. The remaining question is whether it lacks permanence. In this regard, it must not be forgotten that several states were recognised immediately after their declaration of independence during the de-colonisation period.

The Islamic State can be said to have a government. It is independent from other states and upholds law and order whereas fulfilling all those roles usually associated with a state: A documentary[23] shows an elaborated administrative apparatus as well as a prison system, authorities doing their everyday work, or police officers patrolling the streets. It also entertains social-welfare programs and even claims to matter its own gold coins to bring back the gold standard.

Arguing that the Islamic State doesn’t have a territory or a population would need a restrictive application that runs counter to many historical examples of the making of states. From the legal perspective applying the statehood-requirements differently depending on the political circumstances appears arbitrary. One likely solution is to need a higher standard of governance than mere effective control, i.e. that usually associated through the notion of good governance, in all events.

While an effective government is required for country status, international law doesn’t dictate a preferred form of governance. That is, together a democratic government and a dictatorial government can also meet the requirement of effective government. From the perspective of international law, if the ruling entity exercises governmental authority within the territory, for example, by collecting taxes and regulating the judicial system, this requirement is met.

ISIS uses rough and brutal means to create its governmental authority in the region it controls. These include killing opponents and using dangerous violence against those who refuse to accept the Islamic belief. The caliphate exercises governmental authority over wide-ranging facets of life in the territory it controls, ranging from regulating local commerce to impacting personal position. In addition, there are reports that in certain cases, the Islamic State lets non-Muslims living under its rule to pay a poll tax[24]( jizya in Arabic) that allows them to continue living in the caliphate, although as second-rate citizens. It is reasonable to assume that the Islamic State also collects other taxes from the general population.

Declarative theory

The declarative theory of statehood supports the idea that when a political entity achieves standards of statehood, such for example the Montevideo Convention 1933, it’s considered a state.[25] The guidelines, as presented to the Convention, claim that a state requirement has a permanent population, a clear territory, a government and an ability to enter into relations with other states.[26] It is therefore reliant on inside sovereignty, the supreme authority over a territory, rather than the global claim of the legality of the state in question. It clearly states in article 3 of the Convention, the political being of the state is self-governing of recognition through the other states.[27] In this light, ISIS encapsulates the four norms of the Convention to a strong amount.

First, a permanent population can be demarcated as citizens who reside inside the territory claimed by the political entity. Inside ISIS controlled Syria and Iraq, there certainly is a population that exist under its authority. [28] The Montevideo Convention does not, nevertheless, clearly articulate that the population must be freely willing to live under a certain law. Those inside ISIS’ territory is forced to obey and identify with the group.

Second, a state needs a defined territory over which it exercises active political regulator, which can be describe by the legal theory of inter alia: the capacity to reject others from using force on its territory. Permanently contested land, hence, can be considered legally defined territory.

How ISIS has developed its territory in (Iraq and Syria), nevertheless, violate (Article 11 of the Montevideo Convention), thus eliminating the legality of ISIS’ territorial growth. The Article reads that there can be no acknowledgement of territory obtained through force, including the employment of armaments in intimidating diplomatic representations or any other active coercive measure.

Third, a state must have a regime: a ruling entity that exercises governmental authority inside the territory[29]. At present, ISIS meets this requirement, for example there are a clear running governmental authority and administrative system inside the ISIS regulated territory.

[30] ISIS’ reliance on terror and military force could probably make ISIS a state at the utmost fundamental behaviour level. However, that the use of force must be legitimate, which possibly poses a dilemma as to the level of ISIS’ conduct.

Last of all, (the Montevideo Convention) argues the essential for a state’s ability to involve in foreign relations. This poses the greatest challenge to the acknowledgement of ISIS’s declarative statehood, as states international refuse to give legality to a state that functions so far beyond the boundaries of international convention and standards

The conception of legality in the Montevideo Convention is pragmatic, a political entity must simply fulfil the norms to be deemed a state, and no moral or social consequences are measured. The declarative theory, nevertheless, is a partial explanation, not a definition’ of statehood, and therefore the constitutive theory must be entirely examined against (ISIS) statehood claims [31].

 Constitutive theory

The constitutive theory is dependent on the idea that a state can only occur if it is admitted as legal by other sovereign states. Exterior sovereignty is considered as the only means of compliant a state as a member of the international sovereign state system. Under existing international law, nevertheless, both external and interior recognition of the state’s authority would be essential, the people inside the territory should also desire self-government.

Regarding ISIS, the constitutive theory rejects its claims as a legal sovereign state. Global recognition of ISIS will be denied due to its well-publicised violation of international law. therefore, it is not a state in the present modern idea as it is an enemy of all state in the region – and, certainly, the world. Even though international acknowledgement might not be possible, ISIS adheres to Islamic law and hence deems itself a legal and theocratic state.

Use of force in self-defence

In 2014, a militant organisation describing itself the (Islamic State) rapidly took over more than (30%) of the territory of (Syria and Iraq).[32] In the process, it captured billions of dollars’ worth of oil fields and refineries, bank assets and antiquities, tanks and arms, and turn out to be one of the greatest threats to peace and security in the Middle East.[33] In an attempt to degrade and defeat ISIS, start in August 2014, the United States, supported by a handful of other Western and Arab countries, launched several of bombing attacks and cruise missile attacks against ISIS bull’s eye in Iraq and Syria.[34] Even however, the Iraqigovernment has agreed to foreign military action against ISIS in Iraq, the Syrian regime didn’t.[35] Rather, Syria protested that the air strikes in Syrian territory were an unjustifiable violation of international law.[36]The United States initially claimed the airstrikes against ISIS were justified variously by a right of humanitarian intervention, a right to use force in the territory of unsuccessful states, and a right of pursuit, before settle down on the argument that the airstrikes in Syria were legitimate acts of collective self-defence on behalf of the government of Iraq.[37] Use of force in self-defence has traditionally not been seen as legitimate against non-state actors in a third state except they are under the active control of that state, nonetheless the United States has claimed that since the ( 9/11) attacks such force can be justified where a government is unable or unwilling to suppress the danger postured by the non-state actors operating inside its borders.[38] This view wasn’t, however, accepted by (Russia, China) or even the UK, which firstly rejected to join the U.S.A in bombing ISIS targets in Syria.[39] ‘’Article 51 of the UN Charter’’ provides for protection of a State’s inherent right of self-defence.[40] Reference to an inherent right means the question is not one of treaty clarification but rather discerning whether the evolving customary international law principles leading self-defence support the U.S. position. Normally, customary international law changes slowly over many decades.[41] But sometimes, world actions are such that customary international law develops quite fast.[42]

The suggestion of this newly accepted change in the international law of self-defence is that any nation can now lawfully use force against non-state actors in another state if the government of that state is unable or unwilling to suppress the threat inside its boundaries. Nevertheless, use of force under this new method is still subject to limits forced by what is recognised as customary international law, or the practices that the international community of states customarily follow from a sense of legal obligation.

Whereas, this new authority will surely show useful against ISIS, there is a possibility that it will eventually be used against a much wider group of threats. Such threats could include a variation of terrorist groups, as well as rebels, pirates, or drug cartels.

The Islamic State ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria are a threat not only to Iraq and Syria but also to many other states, including the US. States must be able to protect themselves, in accordance with the inherent right of individual and collective self-defence, as per reflected in Article 51 of the UN Charter as is the case now, the regime of the State where the threat is situated is unwilling or unable to stop the use of its territory for such attacks. The Government of Syria regime has shown that it cannot and will not confront these safe-havens effectively itself.

ISIS and International Law

ISIS has broken several international law provisions by its conduct in Syria and Iraq, and in terrorist attacks more overseas. First, the ISIS has breached many of its IHL responsibilities as a non-state actor involved in the conflict happening in Syria and Iraq. Common Article 3 of the Geneva[43] Conventions offers minimum rules to be observed throughout conflict such as the protection of citizens and medical workers, the medical treatment of the wounded or ill, the humane treatment of captured opponents, fair trials and the protection of cultural property. ISIS has barely complied with such regulations. The group’s violent and inhumane treatment of citizens. ISIS has also breached rules against captivating hostages and the recruitment of individuals under 18 years of age into armed forces. Under IHL, whereas ISIS members who directly take part in hostilities in Syria and Iraq might be legally targeted by military actions, interestingly they might also be prosecuted for their involvement in the conflict because they are considered to be unlawful combatants.

Second, ISIS has committed crimes under ICL, i.e. genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. A report through the UN (Independent International Commission) of Inquiry on the (Syrian Arab Republic), issued in June 2016, determined that ISIS committed genocide as well as several crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Yazidis.[44] ISIS’s widespread attacks against civilians, sexual slavery, pillaging and participation of youngster children in armed conflict and destruction of historical monuments also possible amount to war crimes. These acts and others committed outside the setting of an armed conflict might also constitute crimes against humanity.

Third, ISIS might have contravened many provisions of (IHRL). The applicability of (IHRL) to non-state actors remains argumentative since IHRL is traditionally observed as referring to responsibilities between a state and its people. Clapham identifies two main worries underlying this view: the unintended enhancement of non-state actors lawfulness, and undermining the value of IHRL by imposing on groups obligations that they do not have the ability to fulfil.[45] (Bellal) argues that IHRL however applies to armed groups that have reached a de facto authority with state like functions.[46] By creating its own courts, police forces and tax system in the territory it controls, ISIS has presented itself as such a de facto authority. It might, therefore, have committed several IHRL violations, such as the forced sexual slavery of women and very young girls, attacks against religious and racial minorities, reported arbitrary torture and imprisonment.

ISIS claims to be following Islamic laws of armed conflict. The group has published guidelines and legal opinions authored by affiliated clerics, so the group can claim that its fighters are acting lawfully according to the group’s own rules, even if manifestly they do not comply with international law. The guidelines notably specify’ the conditions under which enemy combatants may be targeted, tortured, mutilated, or killed as well as rules governing the ransom of non-Muslim hostages. ISIS also has laws for the provision of security guarantees, called’ aman documents, for journalists and humanitarian workers seeking access to ISIS-controlled area. Rules for the treatment of prisoners and slaves do include certain limitations, such as a prohibition on separating a mother from her young children, but they also permit sexual slavery as a legally permissible alternative to adultery.[47]Clearly, these rules can hardly be reconciled with IHL and HRL.

Prohibit of terrorism by international law Acts of terror against citizens are prohibited by (international human rights law), (international humanitarian law) (international criminal law) and probably, (customary international law CIL). However, despite attempt since (1920s), the international community has been powerless to agree on a universal definition of terrorism. Nevertheless, 19 sectoral conventions and numerous UN Security Council resolutions afford supervision by describing acts constituting terrorism. These international agreements all forbid the use of violence against civilian populations with intending to cause terror. Nevertheless, an examination of to each area of law is needed to understand the extent to which international law is appropriate to the activities of ISIS.

The current joint Spanish-Romanian proposal for the creation of an international counterterrorism court represents a promising step towards encouraging international collaboration and developing international law to deal better through the matter of terrorism.

International law must be developed to improve its efficiency in addressing groups like ISIS. Numerous ideas have been put forward to this effect, utmost notably the joint (Spanish Romanian proposal) for the making of an international counterterrorism court. For example, the Foreign Affairs Ministers of Romania and Foreign Affairs Ministersof Spain presented the proposal at a peripheral meeting to the UN General Assembly conference in 2015[48]. As stated by to these ministers, the (ICTC) wouldn’t violate on the criminal jurisdiction of either states or the ICC, since the jurisdiction of the planned new court would be restricted to conditions in which a state or the ICC was unable or unwilling to sue. The (Foreign Affairs Minister Aurescu) as well outlined that the proposed (ICTC’s) prosecutorsand judges would be representative of the world’s main legal systems and geographical areas[49]. Additional details of the proposed structure of the ICTC are not yet accessible since the initiative is still under development. However, the proposal has acknowledged large support, as well as from UNCTED director (Jean.Paul) and thedirector- of the (United Nation Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force Office), (J. Khan). For example, the American NGO Coalition for the ICC claims; In the future, there will undoubtedly be several events in which the positive and most rapid route for the prosecution of terrorists will be before an international tribunal with extensive international support and legality.[50]

The rights and responsibilities afforded under international law depend on right application of legal classifications. IHL requires the accurate classification of ’the status of the conflict and those involved.[51] The distinction among IACs and NIACs remainders intertwined through the nature of the actors involved (state or non-state), instead of the territory in which a conflict occurs.[52] In other words, the conflicts in Syria and Iraq should be viewed as NIACs, since ISIS is a non-state actor. If ISIS’s attacks in France were recognised as constituting an armed conflict, this also would be considered a NIAC among a state and a non-state actor. Another negative legal implication would also follow. For example, if extremists took French army personnel captive, such personnel would be considered as prisoners of war under Common (Article 3) of the Geneva Conventions. Even though (PoW) status requires humane treatment which terrorists are doubtful to adhere to, such a classification would permit the terrorists to lawfully hold the French army personnel till the end of hostilities which would be hard to identify in a terrorism situation. Important questions, therefore, arise as to the risks and rewards of increasing the legal principles that govern the battlefield to states that have experienced several terrorist attacks.

Although international law encompasses several conventions that deal with acts of terrorism and violence throughout armed conflict, issues with the claim of these laws hinders its efficiency. Therefore, international law must be developed more to provide a further effective legal framework to deal with contemporary conflicts, especially the activities of ISIS. These activities establish the nuanced and mixture nature of this terrorist group, mostly its actions in Syria and Iraq and its attacks against citizens in other states. An analysis of the application of international law to ISIS reveals numerous issues. Even though international law comprises important legal provisions relevant to ISIS’s conduct, several complications exist that undermine its efficiency. The joint (Spanish-Romanian proposal) for the creation of a new international counter terrorism court is a possible means of improving international law’s competence to deal with terrorism. Eventually, however, the burden will endure on states to work cooperatively to strengthen and implement the international legal framework.


At the practical level, since the Islamic State’s activities violate international law, other States shouldn’t collaborate through the organisation in a way that would legitimize its wrongdoings.

It appears that the correct and right course of act would be for any international intervention to be assisted by a resolve of the UN Security Council, which is commended with keeping peace and security in the world. The Security Council is approved to determine that the Islamic State is a threat to peace, and therefore, to enforce economic sanctions on the organisation and even support the use of armed force against ISIS in the name of the (international community). Against the background of the severe harm and damage to life and property and together through the organisation’s increasing military strength due to its successes and the swelling ranks of those who wish to join it, it appears that the threat posed by the ISIS exceeds boundaries, religions, and cultures and is becoming more serious daily. Therefore, decisive and united international response ought to be taken against it.

As a recently created, quickly expanding entity, ISIS remains a problem for both the individuals in the territory and the international system. Its ultimate state like qualities mostly approve with the international norms of the (Montevideo Convention), it has a permanent population although transitional, a roughly defined territory, a planned governmental system, and the capacity to gain access to state relations. About the constitutional theory, ISIS holds no legitimate grounds for state-creation as it is not recognised by any states or political institutions (such as the United Nations) universal. Even though not fully satisfying either state-defining theories, were ISIS to embrace a morally adequate means of creating and keeping power, such as through a referendum, it might be on its way to making a justified claim for legal statehood.

 There is no question of them earning UN membership, or being approved by any other international organisation.


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Weisburd, A. Mark, Failings of the International Court of Justice, 2016 <https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=xgwHCwAAQBAJ&pg=PT364&lpg=PT364&dq=North+Sea+Continental+Shelf+(Ger.+v.+Den.,+Ger.+v.+Neth.),+Merits,+1969+I.C.J.+3,&source=bl&ots=vS4FwwsO29&sig=CFGkNUoD_gAIWFH4mC0cyLDzJ3I&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiOgeLOv67UAhWEtxQKHex_C> [accessed 8 June 2017]

‘What Is a “State”?’ <https://www.globalpolicy.org/nations-a-states/what-is-a-state.html> [accessed 8 June 2017]

[1] [accessed 2 June 2017] The Debate over What to Call Iraq Terror Group – The Washington Postu2019 <https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/06/18/isis-or-isil-the-debate-over-what-to-call-iraqs-terror-group/?utm_term=.f267e17569e9>

[2] ‘ISIS or ISIL? The Debate over What to Call Iraq’s Terror Group – The Washington Post’.

[3] Smith, supra note 5, at 9. 21.

[4] ibid

[5] ibid

[6] ibid at 17

[7] Smith, supra note 5, at 16-17


[9] Iraqi Yazidis Stranded on Isolated Mountaintop Begin to Die of Thirst – The Washington Post [accessed 9 June 2017].”, <https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/iraqi-yazidis-stranded-on-isolated-mountaintop-begin-to-die-of-thirst/2014/08/05/57cca985-3396-41bd-8163-7a52e5e72064_story.html?utm_term=.f87ab4cdd884>

[10] ibid

[11] Vice News, ‘The Islamic State (Full Length) | VICE News’ <https://news.vice.com/video/the-islamic-state-full-length> [accessed 11 June 2017]

[12] How Islamic State Runs Affairs of Territory It Controls East Syria SYRIA NEWS | ZAMAN ALWSL [accessed 11 June 2017].<https://en.zamanalwsl.net/news/6745.html>

[13] ‘ISIS Applies Its Own Laws in Raqqa’ http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/security/2014/02/isis-islamic-rule-raqqa-syria.html [accessed 9 June 2017].

[14] Thomas Grant, ‘Defining StatehoodThe Montevideo Convention and its Discontents’ (1999) 37 Colombia Journal of Transnational Law 403, 403.

[15] UNC article 2.4

[16] ‘Isis Rebels Declare “Islamic State” in Iraq and Syria – BBC News’ <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28082962> [accessed 9 June 2017]


[18] ‘ISIS Is Not a Terrorist Organization’ http://www.newsmax.com/Ruddy/ruddy-isis-not-terrorist/2015/11/16/id/702383/ [accessed 8 June 2017].

[19] ‘What Is a “State”?’ https://www.globalpolicy.org/nations-a-states/what-is-a-state.html [accessed 8 June 2017].

[20] ‘State Fragility Around the World: Fractured Justice and Fierce Reprisal – Laurie A. Gould, Matthew Pate – Google Books’ https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=mPUbDAAAQBAJ&pg=PT108&lpg=PT108&dq=http://www.understandingwar.org/report/isis-governance-syria&source=bl&ots=2QuMSkRf30&sig=AuQ6H14RjlLXLsnFjbRh_sNgeo4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwif8bniza7UAhWEXBoKHRq1BucQ6AEIXTAJ#v=onepage [accessed 8 June 2017].

[21] ‘Boyle, J. (2015). Islamic State and the Idea of Statehood – BBC News’ <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-30150681> [accessed 8 June 2017].

[22] ibid

[23] ‘The Islamic State (Full Length) | VICE News’ <https://news.vice.com/video/the-islamic-state-full-length> [accessed 9 June 2017].

[24] ‘The Islamic State’s Treatment Of Christians | MEMRI – The Middle East Media Research Institute’ https://www.memri.org/reports/islamic-states-treatment-christians [accessed 9 June 2017].

[25] James, A. (1999). The Practice of Sovereign Statehood in Contemporary Global system. 47(3), pp.459.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Montevideo Convention on the Rights and States, December 20, 1933, http://www.cfr.org/sovereignty/montevideo-convention-rights-duties-states/p15897# [Accessed 25June. 2017].

[28] Yashar, A. (2014). ISIS Issues a ‘Passport’ for its ‘Caliphate’. [online] Arutz Sheva. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/182646 [Accessed 25June. 2017].

[29] Wood, G. (2015). What ISIS Really? http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/02/what-isis-really-wants?/384980/ [Accessed 25 June. 2017].

[30] O’Donoghue, A. (2014). Isis, the Caliphate, http://international-lawinternational-human-rights/isis-the-caliphate-and-new-states/ [Accessed 25June. 2017].

[31] Bunck, J and. Fowler, M. 1996. What constitutes the sovereign state? 22(04), p.381.

[32] ‘NatioNal Terrorist FiNaNciNg Risk assessmeNt 2015’ <https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/terrorist-illicit-finance/Documents/National Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment – 06-12-2015.pdf> [accessed 8 June 2017].

[33] ‘How Does ISIS Fund Its Reign of Terror?’ http://www.newsweek.com/2014/11/14/how-does-isis-fund-its-reign-terror-282607.html [accessed 10 June 2017].

[34] Elizabeth Quintana and Jonathan Eyal, ‘Inherently Unresolved: The Military Operation against ISIS’ https://rusi.org/sites/default/files/op_inherently_unresolved_-_the_military_operation_against_isis.pdf [accessed 8 June 2017].

[35] Ben Smith and Rob Page, ‘ISIS and the Sectarian Conflict in the Middle East’ http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/RP15-16 [accessed 8 June 2017].

[36] ibid

[37] ‘The War Powers Resolution and Article 51 Letters Concerning Use of Force in Syria Against ISIL [UPDATED to Add Statement of the U.N. Secretary-General] | Just Security’ https://www.justsecurity.org/15436/war-powers-resolution-article-51-letters-force-syria-isil-khorasan-group/ [accessed 8 June 2017].

[38] Ashley S Deeks, ‘” Unwilling or Unable “ : Toward a Normative Framework for Extraterritorial Self-Defense’ http://www.vjil.org/assets/pdfs/vol52/issue3/Deeks_Post_Production.pdf [accessed 8 June 2017].pp 483,487

[39] ‘Chapter VII | United Nations’ article. 51. http://www.un.org/en/sections/un-charter/chapter-vii/ [accessed 8 June 2017].

[40] ibid

[41] Vincy Fon and Francesco Parisi, ‘International Customary Law and Articulation Theories: An Economic Analysis Recommended Citation INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMARY LAW AND ARTICULATION THEORIES: AN ECONOMIC ANALYSIS*’, & Mgmt. R, 201 (2006) http://digitalcommons.law.byu.edu/ilmr [accessed 8 June 2017].

[42] “A. Mark Weisburd, Failings of the International Court of Justice, 2016  [accessed 8 June 2017]2016 <https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=xgwHCwAAQBAJ&pg=PT364&lpg=PT364&dq=North+Sea+Continental+Shelf+(Ger.+v.+Den.,+Ger.+v.+Neth.),+Merits,+1969+I.C.J.+3,&source=bl&ots=vS4FwwsO29&sig=CFGkNUoD_gAIWFH4mC0cyLDzJ3I&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiOgeLOv67UAhWEtxQKHex_C>

[43] Article 3 of the Geneva

[44] OHCHR | Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic [accessed 8 June 2017 <http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/IICISyria/Pages/IndependentInternationalCommission.aspx>

[45] G. de Burca, F. Francioni and B. de Witte, (2016) (eds), Human Rights Obligations of Non-state Actors in Conflict Situations, Human Rights Obligations of Non-state Actors, New York, Oxford University Press, 2016.

[46] Bellal, Engaging the Islamic State on International Humanitarian Law, Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law, April 2016.

[47] ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape – The New York Times [accessed 10 June 2017]<https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/14/world/middleeast/isis-enshrines-a-theology-of-rape.html>

[48] Does the World Need an International Court Against Terrorism? | World Economic Forum<https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/11/does-the-world-need-an-international-court-against-terrorism/>

[49] ibid

[50] The Challenge For The International Criminal Court: Terrorism [accessed 8 June 2017].”, <http://www.legalserviceindia.com/article/l247–International-Criminal-Court—Terrorism.html>

[51] M.P. Scharf, “How the War against ISIS Changed International Law”, Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, Vol.48, p.52.

[52] When Does the Use of Force Against a Non-State Armed Group Trigger an International Armed Conflict and Why Does This Matter? accessed 12 June 2017] <https://www.ejiltalk.org/when-does-the-use-of-force-against-a-non-state-armed-group-trigger-an-international-armed-conflict-and-why-does-this-matter/>

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