Document Type : Article


Department of International Law, Central Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


The attribution of actions by terrorist groups to states is a controversial and important issue that has undermined international peace and security. The author has conducted a descriptive-analytical study on this subject using library research methods. The results show that between the two theories of overall and effective control the former provides a much better basis regarding the responsibility of states for supporting terrorist groups. The theory of overall control was established by the ICTY’s Appeals Chamber in the Tadic case, which argued that the effective control criterion provided by the International Court of Justice was contrary to the logic of state responsibility. Of course, the theory of overall control is facing challenges in terms of explaining the attribution of terrorist groups to states. Firstly the relationship between supporting states and terrorist groups such as ISIS is so complicated that it is not easy to examine the extent to which governments support such groups, as they try to keep their ties to these groups completely secret. Secondly, in some cases even overall control over terrorist groups such as ISIS does not exist. In other words, despite the fact that these groups are supported by states, they operate independently. In addition, there is no unified case law in this regard, and this makes it difficult to attribute the activities of terrorist groups to states.


  1. English

    1. A) Books
    2. C. Kress, (2015), L'organe De Facto En Droit International Public. Reflex L'imputation À L'etat De L'acte D'un Particulier À La Lumière Des Développements 105 Rgdip.
    3. Daniel Byman ( 2017), Deadly Connections: States that Sponsor Terrorism, Cambridge edition.
    4. ICJ, Genocide case (2001), supra the Introduction, note 1, paras. 404-405, M. Spinedi, 'On the Non-Attribution of the Bosnian Serbs' Conduct to Serbia', JJ 5 .
    5. Lan Brownlie (2013), International Law Andthe Use Of Force By States Oxford, Clarendon Press,First Edition.
    6. M.P. Scharf (2017), "Trial And Error: An Assessm Ist Judgment Of The Yugoslavia War Crimes Tribunal', 30 Nyu L. Int'l L. Po 167-200.
    7. Mastors, Elena (2014), Breaking Al-Qaeda: Psychological and Operational Techniques.
    8. Ruth Wedgwood (2006), Responding to Terrorism: The Strikes against Bin Laden, 24 Yale Ind L599.
    9. T. Meron (2012), 'Classification of Armed Conflict in the Former Yugoslavia Nicaragua's Fallout, (1) A/II ,2012.


    1. B) Articles
    2. Adam Mcbeth, (2014),"Terrorism And Asymmetric Warfare, State Responsibility For The Acts Of Non-State Entities – Nicaragua, Tadic, And Beyond", Journal Of The Institute Of Justice And International Studies.
    3. Laskar, Rezaul H. (2021), "IS announces expansion into AfPak, parts of India", Hindustan Times, 2 February.
    4. Patrick Cockburn (2019), “Life under Isis: The everyday reality of living in the Islamic ‘Caliphate’ with its 7th Century laws, very modern methods and merciless violence,” Independent, 05 March 2019.
    5. Sara N. Scheideman (2018)," Standards of Proof in Forcible Responses to Terrorism",50 Syracuse Rev 249.
    6. Travalio, Greg & Altenburg, John ,(2018) "Terrorism, State Responsibility, and the Use of Military Force", Chicago Journal of International Law: Vol. 4: No.1.
    1. E. Cannizzaro (2007)," Interconnecting International Jurisdictions: A Contribution from the Genocide Decision of the ICJ", European Journal of Legal Studies
    2. F. Dopagne (2016), La Responsabilité De L'etat Au Particuliers: Les Causes D'imputation Revisitées Par Les Articles Sur La Responsabile Pour Fait Internationalement Illicite', Rbdi 34.
    3. H, Ascensio (2017), 'La responsabilité selon la Cour internationale de Justice dans l'att aire du génocide bosniaque', RGDIP 111.


    1. اسناد و آرای محاکم
    2. A. Cassese (2007), 'The Nicaragua and Tadić Tests Revisited in Light of the ICJ Judgment on Genocide in Bosnia'. 18 EJIL .
    3. ICL Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. USA), supra Chapter 1, note 44, para. 115.
    4. ICTY Prosecutor v. (2000), Aleksovski, AC, Judgment, 24 March.
    5. ICTY Prosecutor v. (2001), Kordić and Čerkez, TC, Judgment, 26 February.
    6. ICTY Prosecutor v. (2003) Naletilić and Martinović, TC, Tudament, 31 March .
    7. ICTY, Prosecutor v. (1997), Tadić, TC, Judgment, 7 May.
    8. ICTY, Prosecutor v. (2004), Brdanin, TC. Tudgment, 1 September, Paid148.
    9. Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur to the UnitedSecretary-General pursuant to Security Council Resolution .1564 of 18 Septembersupra Chapter 3, note 25, para. 123
    10. Roberto Ago. (2020), Fourth Report on State Responsibility, 2 YB Intl L Comm'n, UN DocA/CN.4/264 and Add.1.
    11. Video purports to show Turkish intelligence shipping arms to Syria, MAY 29, 2015.

    Refrences In Persian:

    1. A) Books
    2. Abbasi, Ali Akbar (2015), ISIL and Iran's foreign policy developments until the end of 2014, Qom: Mofid University (In Persian).
    3. Mumtaz, Jamshid & Ranjbarian, Amir Hossein (1384), International Humanitarian Law, Internal Armed Conflict, Tehran: Mizan Publishing (In Persian).
    4. Rasooli, Akbar (2010), Status of Self-Controlled Unmanned Systems in International Humanitarian Law, Tehran: Mofid University (In Persian).
    5. Rezaei, Helida (2015), Symmetry of Individual and Government Responsibility for International Crimes, Tehran: Islamic Azad University, Research Sciences Branch (In Persian).


    1. B) Articles
    2. Asgari, Pouya (2020), "International Responsibility of Individuals and Governments in the Light of Criteria of Control" International Law Journal, Spring and Summer, No. 40, pp.149-161 (In Persian).
    3. Lisani, Seyyed Hesamuddin & Yadaei Amnab, Mohsen (1394). "The Possibility of Investigating ISIL Crimes in the International Criminal Court from the Perspective of International Law" Quarterly Journal of Foreign Policy, Vol. 29, No. 40, pp.51-79 (In Persian).
    4. Rai, Massoud (2009), "General or effective control of the factor for the realization of the international responsibility of governments", Law Quarterly, Vol. 39, No. 3, pp.151-164 (In Persian).