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What is Distinctive about Terrorism and Anti-Terrorism Law?
Raoul Wallenberg International Human Rights Symposium (2007)
  • Matthew S. R. Palmer
Criminal offending and terrorist offending are similar in quality – the acts which constitute such offending are similar, and should be subject to similar levels of protection of civil and political rights. This is how a democracy should respond to domestic terror threats. To the extent that we are particularly concerned about the motivation of terrorists in challenging the very maintenance of public order by a state, we should reflect that concern in the penalties we impose on such proven offending, not in giving in to the temptation of lower burdens of proof of the existence of the offending or the identity of the offender.
Our horror at terrorism since 9/11 – and the ongoing international and academic activity concerned with analysing and combating terrorism is occasioned by a deeper change. Crime, terrorism and war are now all on the same continuum of conflict. They are at different points, to be sure, but they are qualitatively related. The implications for their suppression and prevention are huge. Technological changes have changed the efficient scale of the nation state. We are slowly but surely leaving the Westphalian era of national sovereignty and entering the era of global government – federated initially perhaps, but eventually global in scale, scope and resources. We can expect, at some point in the future, national police and military forces to be integrated or federated into a global coercive force that reinforces the authority of our recently established International Criminal Court.
For a video of the conference session see
  • Terrorism,
  • Constitutional Design,
  • Global Government
Publication Date
January, 2007
Citation Information
Matthew S. R. Palmer. "What is Distinctive about Terrorism and Anti-Terrorism Law?" Raoul Wallenberg International Human Rights Symposium (2007)
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