Essay on Political Crime

Published: 2021/11/17
Number of words: 885

What is State Terrorism?

State terrorism denotes the acts of violence which a state conduct against its residents. It comprises the deliberate targeting of the very people the state has a responsibility to defend to raise terror in a broader audience. It is committed or conducted by a governmental organization, agency, or representatives, and is carried out in the self-interest of the elite groups governing the country or in the interest of the state itself. The inaction or actions conducted link directly to an indirect or assigned duty or trust (Espinoza, 2018). Examples of state terrorism can be police cruelty against civil rights protestors, government violence against anti-globalization and anti-war activists, and government or police aggressiveness against general strikes.

The US government’s act of violence against its own population

The government violence against its own people include targeting of individuals that the states have a responsibility to protect to invoke fear in a broader audience. These individuals may include civilians and even prisoner of war who have been disarmed and detained. The US government has committed several act of violence against its own people. For instance, killing of prisoners of war, and subjecting them to torture and inhumane conditions without fair trials at the Guantanamo bay is one example of how the US government has committed violence against its people (Khalili, 2020). Other examples include when peaceful protestor against police brutality following the death of George Floyd were met with more waves of police violence across US in 2020 and when police used violence on water protectors in Standing rock. Police used batons, teargas, fists, vehicles, and pepper spray against the protestors.

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Systematic inequalities, exclusion, segregation and displacement of colored individuals is also another example of US government violence against its people. Legal repression, political intimidation, coercion, threats, and imprisonment against civil rights protestor such as Martin Luther king Jr were also government violence against its people.

Argument for civil disobedience

Civil disobedience aims at forcing concessions from the regime or the governing power. Thoreau’s argument for civil disobedience is that the regime must end its unjust actions to earn the right to collect taxes from its residents. He argued that as long as the government commits unjust actions, conscientious individuals must choose whether to pay their taxes or defy the government by refusing to pay them (Thoreau, 2017). Another arguments for civil disobedience by Rawls include that it’s the only way towards changing the law if all other ordinary avenues have been closed off. Civil disobedience is part of democratic process and should be thought as a way of enhancing democracy. Michael Bayles argued that, “there cannot be a legal system which dispenses rights to disobey the law, for it would be self-contradictory”. Therefore, he argues that, “individuals have legal right to what the law does not forbid and civil disobedience itself is not an illegal action in addition to the illegal action involved,” (Bayles, 2017)

What does the term agent provocateur refer to?

Agent provocateur refers to a secret representative hired to associate with suspected individuals and pretend to be sympathetic in an attempt to provoke suspected individuals to commit unlawful acts and be liable or condemned to punishment (Rowley, 2015). Agent provocateurs can target any group including peaceful demonstration and protest, companies, and political unions and parties.

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What is the international Criminal Court? What crimes does it have jurisdiction over?

The ICC (International Criminal Court) is a permanent universal court instituted to probe, indict, and carry out trials of people accused of committing the most grave crimes of concern to the global community as a whole, for example the crime of aggression and war crimes. The ICC is not a substitute for State courts. It only mediates where a country is unwilling and unable genuinely to conduct the investigation and prosecution of criminals responsible for international crimes (Novak, 2015).

Crimes that fall within the jurisdiction of the ICC include crimes against humanity, crime of genocide, crime of aggression and war crimes. Crimes against humanity comprise acts committed as part of a systematic or widespread attack directed against any civilian populace, with knowledge of the attack. They include the crime of apartheid, murder, rape or enforced prostitution, and enslavement. Genocide refers to act committed with the intent to destroy a racial, ethnical, religious, or national group. They include assassinating affiliates of the group or forcibly transferring children of the group to another group (Novak, 2015). War crimes include taking hostages, terrorism, and pillaging. Crime of aggression denotes the planning and implementation of an act of using militia force by a country against the political freedom, sovereignty, and integrity of another country. These crimes include military occupation, invasion, and obstruction of the coasts and ports.


Bayles, M. D. (2017). A concept of coercion. In Ceorcion (pp. 16-29). Routledge.

Espinoza, M. (2018). State terrorism: orientalism and the drone programme. Critical Studies on Terrorism11(2), 376-393.

Khalili, L. (2020). 3. From Island Prisons to Guantánamo Bay. In Time in the Shadows (pp. 65-100). Stanford University Press.

Novak, A. (2015). The international criminal court: An introduction. Springer.

Rowley, D. (2015). Agent provocateur. Investment Magazine, (122), 26-27.

Thoreau, H. D. (2017). Civil disobedience. Lulu. com.

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