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 ‘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.
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.
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.