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Disrupting terrorist activity: What are the limits to criminal methods of disruption? / Stuart, Macdonald

Beyond Human Rights and the War on Terror, Pages: 125 - 142

Swansea University Author: Stuart, Macdonald

Abstract

In furtherance of its commitment to prosecuting suspected terrorists, the UK has enacted a large number of terrorism precursor offences. In this chapter we evaluate this use of the criminal sanction and suggest that there is a need for greater legislative restraint. We develop this argument by first...

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Published in: Beyond Human Rights and the War on Terror
ISBN: 9781138543775
Published: Abingdon Routledge 2018
Online Access: https://www.routledge.com/Beyond-Human-Rights-and-the-War-on-Terror/Juss/p/book/9781138543775
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa45967
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Abstract: In furtherance of its commitment to prosecuting suspected terrorists, the UK has enacted a large number of terrorism precursor offences. In this chapter we evaluate this use of the criminal sanction and suggest that there is a need for greater legislative restraint. We develop this argument by first examining three non-criminal methods of disrupting terrorist activity: Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIMs); asset-freezing; and, proscription. Whilst each of these powers has been found to be necessary, we outline four sets of concerns about them that explain why they are regarded as less desirable in principle than prosecution. We then turn to terrorism precursor offences and, whilst agreeing that they are needed for the sake of prevention, argue that the wide range of such offences currently in force in the UK go too far in pursuit of this objective. As a result, the same concerns that apply to the non-criminal methods of disruption apply also to terrorism precursor offences. We argue that this is counter-productive, for it risks undermining the very features of the criminal law that give it its unique moral authority and legitimacy in the first place.
Keywords: Criminal law, counterterrorism, human rights, security
College: Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law
Start Page: 125
End Page: 142