While armed conflicts are principally governed by international humanitarian law (IHL), activities of members of non-State armed groups and their affiliates may also qualify as terrorist offences. After explaining why the concurrent application of IHL and criminal law instruments on terrorism causes friction, this article analyzes the chief mechanism for dissipating this friction: a clause excluding activities governed by IHL from the scope of criminal law instruments on terrorism. Such armed conflict exclusion clauses exist at the international, regional and national level. This article explains how an exclusion clause can best avoid friction between IHL and criminal law instruments on terrorism.
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