Anti-terrorism laws and human rights

Authored by: Nicola McGarrity , Jessie Blackbourn

The Routledge International Handbook of Criminology and Human Rights

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  August  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138931176
eBook ISBN: 9781315679891
Adobe ISBN: 9781317395553


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In their response to terrorism, nations have generally chosen to move away from the ‘ordinary law’ towards the creation of a new body of law directed specifically at this threat. For example, there was no anti-terrorism legislation at the national level in Australia prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. However, within six months, the then Liberal-National government had introduced a package of five Bills into the federal parliament (Lynch et al. 2015, Williams 2011). The impetus for the creation of a specific body of anti-terrorism legislation in Australia and other nations was not simply domestic political pressure. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001) required all Member States to ensure that terrorist acts ‘are established as serious criminal offences in domestic laws and regulations and that the punishment duly reflects the seriousness of such terrorist acts’ (UN 2001, para. 2e). As a consequence, even those nations with a long history of anti-terrorism legislation have witnessed a steady increase in the scope of terrorism offences as well the penalties attached to these offences since 9/11.

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