Terrorism is the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion. At present, the International community has been unable to formulate a universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition of terrorism. Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a lone attack), and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants (civilians).
In 2002, the General Assembly approved an expanded programme of activities for the UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch. This expanded programme focuses on providing assistance to States, upon request, in the legal and related aspects of counter-terrorism, especially for ratifying and implementing the universal legal instruments against terrorism and strengthening the capacity of the national criminal justice systems to apply the provisions of these instruments in compliance with the principles of rule of law. In addition, the Branch provides substantive input on counter-terrorism issues to intergovernmental bodies and it coordinates its work with relevant other actors.