The terrorist threat to international peace comes from ‘private’ networks–non-state cross-border groups. Presented with the numerous terrorist threats, in particular from the so-called Salafist al-Qaeda groups, France has armed itself with laws covering all forms of terrorism. This strategy is aimed at preserving internal peace and stability. In the absence of an international definition of terrorism generally accepted by the UN, France’s new penal code will be the first, in the fight against terrorism, to define the phenomenon as a serious crime in its own right. The important questions are what terrorism is in the eyes of the law, and how far France’s strategy will contribute to the fight against international terrorism.