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IACL World Congress, Mexico  
Workshop 6: The rule of law in the age of terrorism

This workshop is convened upon the initiative by an IACL research group that was established in the Athens World Congress.  Between the Congresses, the research group convened, in November 2009, a two-day workshop where it discussed the particular constitutional challenges that relate to the operation of intelligence agencies and their oversight bodies in the fight against terrorism. The research group is chaired by Professor Martin Scheinin (European University Institute, Florence), who is also United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism. The coordinator of the research group is Dr. Konrad Lachmayer (University of Vienna).

Interested participants are invited to submit papers for the Mexico City workshop, for instance on the following themes:

  • Terrorism and principles of ethics – an oxymoron? The fight against terrorism poses severe legal questions many of which can also be addressed as ethical dilemmas: the practice of torture, targeted killing, the bombing of civilians in war, the distinction between consequences that are intended and those that are foreseen but unintended, to name but a few. This aspect call for papers dealing with the morality of military action against terror
  • Terrorism and proportionality – The principle of proportionality forms part of almost every national legal system.  In our workshop, we may discuss its function in human rights law, and also in the law of armed conflict. How do these quite different constructions affect the constitutional debate on proportionality in counter-terrorism?  Some of the specific questions that arise relate to use of force that causes civilian casualties, to the use of normally prohibited methods of interrogation, or to the risk that the proportionality principle undermines effective action against terrorism.
  • Preventing terrorism – this aspect focuses on the tools and means available in modern democracies in order to neutralize the basis of terrorism, and may deal with counter-terrorism measures, technology, international efforts and recommendations for governments.
  • The financing of terrorism –the instruments and rules enacted to fight the financing of terrorism: are they effective? Terrorist financing from a transnational perspective: Is an international clear guideline – or a “joint terrorist financial” database possible at all? What are the new developments and regulations on the efforts to linkage money laundering and financing of terrorism. The coordination needed between law enforcement and intelligence agencies in order to combat terrorist finance- how it influences human rights protection?
  • Recent developments in couner-terrorism legislation – Constitutional rights and the constitutionality of counter-terrorism measures. Tension between freedom and security and comparative case-law; counter-terrorist laws which allows the banning of political parties who support terrorist acts and the use of violence.
  • International humanitarian law and the fight against terrorism- the concept of “terrorism” under international law: Is Terrorism an international crime? May the application of international humanitarian law constitute an obstacle to the fight against terrorism?  Or should it govern the fight against terrorism, pushing aside human rights law and constitutional rights?

These questions are not exhaustive. The workshop is open for all interested in any constitutional problem related to terrorism and the fight against it.

Professors Martin Scheinin [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.] and Suzie Navot [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]

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