Edited by David Cole, Federico Fabbrini and Arianna Vedaschi
Chapter 2: Terrorism and security: back to the future?
This book will be very different from the book which might have been written ten years ago under the auspices of the International Association of Constitutional Law on the same topic. Then, the world was still reeling from the enormity of Al Qaeda’s attack on its arch-enemy, the United States (US). President Bush, like King Lear, was promising to ‘do such things…’. What they would be we knew not, though they turned out to include a war on a state which had had nothing to do with the attack, stimulating a still unsatisfied appetite for enforced regime change. They have also more recently come to include the use of transnational assassination, with major implications for international law as well as for domestic principles of due process which may, however, lie at or beyond the perimeter of this volume. But this time ten years ago the first constitutional steps, following the Security Council resolutions calling upon member states to inaugurate tougher regimes of surveillance and repression were already being taken. The distinguished South African jurist Richard Goldstone called them a tyrant’s dream – a licence to every undemocratic regime to repress its dissidents. Ten years later, we are beginning to survey and appraise the consequences for constitutional democracy. Nobody doubts the continuing need for a new level of vigilance. At one pole this has produced a pseudo-jurisprudence which holds that persons suspected of terrorism have no rights: they can be held indefinitely without trial and tortured freely to extract information.
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