COUNTER-TERROR PROJECT: A LEGAL EMPIRICAL APPROACH

Started in June 2019

Background

Terrorism is considered as one of the most important security threats of our times by the United Nations Security Council. For almost two decades now, States have been adopting numerous measures individually and collectively in order to prevent and combat terrorism and violent extremism. Such measures must be efficient and compliant with international law.

The Project

The ‘Counter-Terror Pro LegEm’ project is a four-year project (2019-2023) funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, hosted by the University of Geneva and conducted in partnership with the Geneva Academy.

It combines legal analysis with social science research to (1) examine the effectiveness of counterterrorism measures and their effects on human rights and (2) analyse the structure of terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda or the Islamic State and see whether they qualify as ‘organized armed groups’ for the purpose of international humanitarian law.

Field research will inform the legal analysis and social science research to better understand the process of radicalisation and how militant networks are able to attract, recruit, and mobilise support.

Methodology

To date, there is a clear disconnect between international legal analysis and social science models in relation to terrorism. This project will bridge this gap and provide new tools by using and developing social science empirical studies to enhance legal assessments of counter-terrorism measures under both international human rights law and international humanitarian law. This project is thus an interdisciplinary endeavour that is mainly anchored in international law while including a social science component.

Expected Outputs

The outputs of this academic and policy-oriented project will provide an empirical analysis of contemporary counter-terrorism measures with a thorough legal analysis under international human rights law and international humanitarian law, conceived as tools for researchers and practitioners alike.

The project will also develop policy guidance for States and international organizations on how to devise and monitor counterterrorism measures to ensure their effectiveness and conformity with international human rights law.

A series of disciplinary and interdisciplinary articles, a book (PhD thesis) and a Special Issue on the topic will also be published.

These outputs will be presented at an international conference, foreseen for 2023.

NEWS AND UPCOMING EVENTS

Police officer stands before road blocks News

Experts Discuss the Effectiveness and Legality of Counterterrorism Measures

17 November 2020

Co-organized with the Counter-Terror Pro LegEm Project, the meeting examined the effectiveness of measures to prevent and counter terrorism – closure of places of worship, vague prohibitions of ‘glorification of terrorism’, stop-and-search operations – and their impact on human rights.

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RESEARCHERS

Picture of Gloria Gaggioli

Gloria Gaggioli

Director of the Geneva Academy and Associate/SNF Professor at the Law Faculty, University of Geneva

Gloria Gaggioli is a renowned scholar in international humanitarian law and human rights and has published widely in various fields of public international law.

Portrait of Michael Moncrieff

Michael Moncrieff

Post-Doctoral Researcher in Social Sciences at the Law Faculty, University of Geneva

Portrait of Ilya Sobol

Ilya Sobol

Phd Candidate at the Law Faculty, University of Geneva

Portrait of Sara Notario

Sara Notario

Master’s Student at The Global Studies Institute, University of Geneva

Portrait of Tarek Tawil

Tarek Tawil

Research Associate

OUTPUT

Expert meeting on the Legal, Scientific and Practical Aspects of Counterterrorism Measures

Organized by the Counter-Terror Pro LegEm Project and the Geneva Academy, the meeting (11-12 November 2020) examined the effectiveness of measures to prevent and counter terrorism – closure of places of worship, vague prohibitions of ‘glorification of terrorism’, stop-and-search operations – and their impact on human rights.

The meeting’s findings will be synthesized and used to draft a policy guidance document on how to devise and monitor counterterrorism measures to ensure their effectiveness and conformity with international human rights law.

Past Events

Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism: A Conversation Between Judge Kipfer and Fionnuala Ní Aoláin

9 March 2022, 13:00-15:00

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MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Portrait of Yosuke Nagai News

Our New Visiting Fellow: Yosuke Nagai

16 January 2023

Dr Yosuke Nagai is the founder and CEO of Accept International, which works on de-radicalization and reintegration for defectors and prisoners formerly involved with violent extremist groups. He just started as Visiting Fellow at the Geneva Academy and will stay with us until the end of March.

Read more

Map of the RULAC online portal with the pop-up window on the past armed conflicts in Mexico News

Mexico: Declassification of the Three Armed Conflicts Involving Drug Cartels on RULAC

12 December 2022

While the armed violence between the government and the drug cartels, as well as between cartels themselves, remains high, it has become increasingly challenging to attribute these instances of violence and clashes to specific armed groups.

Read more

Afghanistan, Parwan detention facility. Inside a room where detainees of the prison, separated by an acrylic glass, are allowed to meet with their families a couple of times per year with the help of the ICRC employees who facilitate the programme. Short Course

Preventing and Combating Terrorism

27 April - 8 June 2023

This online short course discusses the extent to which states may limit and/or derogate from their international human rights obligations in order to prevent and counter-terrorism and thus protect persons under their jurisdiction.

Read more

Surveillance Camera Project

COUNTER-TERROR PROJECT: A LEGAL EMPIRICAL APPROACH

Started in June 2019

The ‘Counter-Terror Pro LegEm’ project combines legal analysis with social science research to (1) examine the effectiveness of counterterrorism measures and their effects on human rights and (2) analyse the structure of terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda or the Islamic State and see whether they qualify as ‘organized armed groups’ for the purpose of international humanitarian law.

Read more

Screenshot of the RULAC webpage Project

Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts (RULAC)

Started in May 2007

The Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts project (RULAC) is a unique online portal that identifies and classifies all situations of armed violence that amount to an armed conflict under international humanitarian law (IHL). It is primarily a legal reference source for a broad audience, including non-specialists, interested in issues surrounding the classification of armed conflicts under IHL.

Read more

Cover page of the study Publication

From Words to Deeds A Study of Armed Non-State Actors’ Practice and Interpretation of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Norms: Research and Policy Conclusions

published on September 2022

Annyssa Bellal, Pascal Bongard, Ezequiel Heffes

Read more

Cover of the publication Publication

From Words to Deeds: A Study of Armed Non-State Actors’ Practice and Interpretation of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Norms: Al-Qaeda

published on September 2022

Annyssa Bellal, Pascal Bongard and Ezequiel Heffes

Read more