Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism and International Law – 6708
Terrorism claims an increasing number of fatalities each year, indiscriminately affecting a broad range of countries and societies, whether developed or developing, warn-torn or at peace and has, in past years, dominated security discourse at domestic, regional and international levels.
The 9/11 attacks represented a watershed moment in counter-terrorism regulation, resulting in the United Nations Security Council declaring the phenomenon of international terrorism a ‘threat to international peace and security’ and the adoption of extensive measures aimed at addressing relevant regulatory gaps at the level of the United Nations, regional organizations and individual states. This regulatory trend has not significantly dwindled since and has in fact seen a boost with the rise of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the so-called foreign fighters phenomenon, with every new incident prompting states and international organizations to contemplate additional legal and policy responses. Consequently, measures aimed at preventing and countering terrorism have now seeped into almost every aspect of domestic, regional or international policies and regulation, including education, banking and finances, immigration and asylum, Internet and communication technologies, the functioning of civil society, charitable and humanitarian organizations, etc.
Against this background, the seminar aims to give students an overview of the international legal framework on terrorism and counter-terrorism. It will address the United Nations counter-terrorism architecture and the counter-terrorism response at the level of the United Nations as well as selected regional and domestic initiatives. Discussion will cover a wide range of topics, spanning from the definition of terrorism and the conditions conducive to its spread, to a broad spectrum of counter-terrorism measures, including criminalization of terrorist acts, investigating and prosecuting such acts and relevant fair trial issues, use of force against (suspected) terrorists, preventing terrorist use of the Internet and communication technologies, the foreign fighters phenomenon, etc. Counter-terrorism measures will consistently be analyzed against their compliance with international human rights law. The seminar will further examine the interplay between counter-terrorism regulation and the law governing armed conflict as well as international criminal law.
Students will study and discuss primary sources, such as international and regional treaties and conventions, United Nations Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, as well as policy documents and academic literature. Students will finish the seminar equipped with a working knowledge of the global legal regime against terrorism, including the main challenges faced in this area and current trends in regulation.