Counter-Terrorism, Human Rights and the Rule of Law

Counter-Terrorism, Human Rights and the Rule of Law

Crossing Legal Boundaries in Defence of the State

Edited by Aniceto Masferrer and Clive Walker

The initial responses to 9/11 engaged categorical questions about ‘war’, ‘terrorism’, and ‘crime’. Now the implementation of counter-terrorism law is infused with dichotomies – typically depicted as the struggle between security and human rights, but explored more exactingly in this book as traversing boundaries around the roles of lawyers, courts, and crimes; the relationships between police, military, and security agencies; and the interplay of international and national enforcement. The contributors to this book explore how developments in counter-terrorism have resulted in pressures to cross important ethical, legal and organizational boundaries. They identify new tensions and critique the often unwanted outcomes within common law, civil law, and international legal systems.

Chapter 6: Freedom of thought or ‘thought-crimes’? Counter-terrorism and freedom of expression

Francesca Galli

Subjects: law - academic, criminal law and justice, human rights, terrorism and security law


The years following 11 September 2011, with the 2004 bombings in Madrid, the 2005 attacks in London, the 2011 attacks in Norway and the 2012 attacks in Toulouse, show a profound change in the terrorist threat and the emergence of the parallel phenomena of home-grown terrorism and lone-wolves terrorist actors. Such change has had a tremendous impact on the criminal justice system as a whole and, in particular, on substantive criminal law. Parliaments have been active in enacting new offences in the ‘inchoate mode’ and criminalising preparatory activities (including recruitment, training and glorification for terrorist purposes). New inchoate offences also include descriptions like: the ‘encouragement’ of, ‘glorification’ of, and/or ‘apology’ for, terrorism (albeit in an undefined future and at undefined places) as well as the dissemination and the publication of relevant material. The interplay between the criminal law of different jurisdictions and the impact of EU policies and legal framework is in fact remarkable with regards to the development of the so-called glorification offences so that changes tend to cross national legal boundaries. In the caricature of a repressive world created by George Orwell in his novel, 1984, almost everything was forbidden: The thought police would get him just the same. He had committed – would have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper – the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thought-crime, they called it. Thought- crime was not a thing that could be concealed forever.

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