For Elimination of Terrorism, not by Military Retaliation, but by Pursuing Justice

Letter to heads of Government in relation to the coordinated series of terrorist attacks in the U.S.

September 17, 2001

The terrorist attacks which took place on September 11 in the U.S. are heinous acts of barbarism, which took the lives of many people indiscriminately. They are absolutely unjustifiable criminal acts. Such terrorist acts can never be justified by any religious belief or political view. This was an attack not only on the U.S. but also the international community as a whole and the international rule of law and order. The Japanese Communist Party (JCP) is convinced that eliminating such barbarous terrorism will be one of the basic conditions for human beings to live in peace on the earth in the 21st century.

Immediately after the incident the JCP expressed its heartfelt condolences to the people who were killed and injured in the terror, their family members, and others concerned. The JCP condemns the brutal terrorist attacks with deep anger.

At the same time, the JCP made clear its position that the elimination of terrorism should be sought not by retaliation by military force but by law and reason.

In this regard, we have growing concern over preparations being made for large-scale retaliation by military force. Military retaliation is not only ineffective for elimination of terrorism, but will also lead to new wars around the world with enormous damage, beginning a vicious cycle of further terrorist attacks and military retaliation, and creating countless new victims. There is a great danger the situation will get bogged down with no way out.

Deeply concerned about the danger, we would like to convey to your Government and the international community our view and proposal for resolving the situation.


The JCP believes that what is necessary now is not a rush to military retaliation, but bringing the perpetrators to justice with the United Nations at the center and based on the UN Charter and international law. The perpetrators, including the organizers and supporters of these criminal terrorist acts, should be apprehended, brought to justice, and severely punished in accordance with the law.

For this, concerted international cooperation is important to determine as far as possible who the suspects and their supporters are. When these forces come to be known, we have to make every effort as the international community at large to bring them to justice, by isolating them both politically and in the court of public opinion, and by the strength of economic and political sanctions.


The basic rules for dealing with terror suspects, which have been established globally and stipulated in various international agreements, are to extradite them to the country that suffered the damage and to bring them to justice. In the case of the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner, killing 270 people, the Libyan government agreed two years ago to extradite two persons who were considered suspects, after long and arduous efforts, including UN economic sanctions. Last year the court proceedings started and they are now under way.

Unprecedented in its enormity and cruelty, the latest terror incident deeply shocked the whole world. Yet even in this case, we are required to be calm and apply justice according to the law. In this regard, UN Security Council Resolution 1368, adopted unanimously on September 12, stated that the Security Council "calls on all States to work together urgently to bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these terrorist attacks," which was a reasonable and very important decision.

In the spirit of both the international agreements and UN Security Council resolutions on terrorism, the international community, with the United Nations at its center, should cooperate and do its utmost to identify, apprehend and bring to justice the suspects of the terrorist acts. If the suspects are outside of the U.S., it is necessary to demand their extradition from the governments concerned as the common will of the international community. Even if they do not agree to extradition, it is essential for the international community to act in concert according to the UN Charter and international law, including taking collective measures, such as economic sanctions. To bring the suspects to justice, it may be possible to set up a special international court under the United Nations.

Punishment of crime through proceedings in a court of law is part of the wisdom the human race has developed over time. Only through court proceedings can the truth be thoroughly brought to light based on the facts. It is reported that a large-scale international terrorist syndicate is behind this terror incident. To expose and eliminate all the organizations responsible would be only possible if court proceedings are carried out according to the law.


It is not in accord with the principles approved by today's international community to resort to large-scale military retaliation without making an effort to bring suspects to justice through international cooperation.

What is permitted, even as a response to invasion, is not military retaliation, but defensive counterattack of the actual military attack underway. The UN General Assembly adopted a declaration in 1970 that clearly prohibits "acts of reprisal involving the use of force."

UN Security Council Resolution 1368 does not refer to Chapter VII of the UN Charter on the military measures of the UN and does not contain any expression permitting the use of force by any member country.

Military retaliation without the basis of the UN Charter and international law undermines the noble effort to eliminate terrorism and carries the danger of inviting a situation that plays into the hands of terrorist forces. We are convinced that justice in accord with the law, not a legally baseless response, is the most effective response to outlaws.


This is our view in a situation where girding for large-scale military retaliation against the terrorists is rapidly proceeding.

The JCP also proposes that the United Nations host as quickly as possible a special international meeting with the aim of seeking more effective international measures for identifying, apprehending and punishing suspects in the terror attacks as well as eliminating terrorism.

The JCP wholeheartedly requests that your Government positively address this issue to help arrive at a reasonable solution.

Tetsuzo FUWA

Chairman, Central Committee
Japanese Communist Party
Member, House of Representatives

Kazuo SHII

Chairman, Executive Committee
Japanese Communist Party
Member, House of Representatives

The Central Committee of the Japanese Communist Party
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