Terrorist violence is no novelty in human history and, while government reactions to it have varied over time, some lessons can be learnt from the past. Indeed, the debate on when and how a state should use emergency powers that limit individual freedoms is nearly as old as the history of political thought. After reviewing some history of state responses to terrorist violence and their efficacy, this book sets out to assess the effects of contemporary counterterrorism law and policies on democratic states. In particular, it considers the interaction between national and international law in shaping and implementing anti-terror measures, and the difficult role of the judiciary in striking a balance between security concerns and fundamental rights. It also examines the strains this has caused on some democracies, especially a blurring in the separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, giving reason to enquire afresh whether new paradigms are needed. Finally, the issue of whether the doctrine of constitutionalism can provide an appropriate frame of analysis to encapsulate current developments in international law in response to terrorism is broached.
By drawing on the expertise of historians, political scientists and lawyers, this book promotes transdisciplinary dialogue, recognising that counterterrorism is an issue at the intersection of law and politics that has profound implications for democratic institutions and practices.
About the Author
Andrea Bianchi is Professor of International Law at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva and at the Faculty of Law of the Catholic University, Milan. In 2004 he edited Enforcing International Law Norms against Terrorism (Hart)
Alexis Keller is Professor of History of Legal and Political Thought at the Faculty of Law of the University of Geneva. Together with Pierre Allan he has recently edited What is a Just Peace? (Oxford University Press, 2006)