Counter-Terrorism Law and Practice: An International Handbook

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Electronic copy available at: 1 A PARTNERSHIP TO COUNTER INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM: THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL AND ITS MEMBER STATES William B. Messmer, Emeritus Professor of Political Science, and former Director of the United Nations Semester, Drew University and Carlos L. Yordán, Associate Professor of Political Science and Special Assistant to the Provost on Diversity, Drew University Abstract: Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolutions 1368 and 1373, serving as the foundation of a global counter-terrorism system. At the heart of this system lies a close partnership between the Security Council and the UN member states – a partnership in which states were given considerable operational responsibility. Most scholarly evaluations of this system have focused on its UN aspects, with little reference to the key role assigned to the states. Thus, their assessments have been more pessimistic about the system‟s ability to counter terrorism. In this article, we present a new conceptualization of this system and show with two case studies that the system has attained some important objectives in the global struggle against terrorism.
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Electronic copy available at: 2 INTRODUCTION Before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11), it was uncertain how the international community might react to such attacks. There were few treaty obligations in place that encouraged international cooperation on counter-terrorism among states. International law had not clearly delineated how states should react to attacks carried out by terrorist groups operating from safe havens abroad. More noteworthy, most United Nations (UN) member states lacked the legal infrastructure or regulatory capacities to oppose terrorist organizations with global reach. The counter-terrorism laws that did exist, primarily in developed states, were often based on competing national assumptions and practices about how best to deal with the problem. These disparities made global counter-terrorism cooperation very difficult. 1 Consequently, a global counter-terrorism system did not exist, nor were there common international legal foundations on which such a system might be based. Immediately following the 9/11 attacks, the UN Security Council, with the United States and other permanent Council members playing a leading role, moved into this vacuum and passed the necessary formal resolutions to establish a new global counter terrorism system. First, the Security Council created a system that has legitimated the right of all states, when victimized by terrorism, to defend themselves by using armed force against terrorist organizations, and if necessary, any states that may support and harbor terrorists. Second, the Council also obligated all states to bring their counter terrorism laws and regulations in to line with newly created global legal standards. This meant that while some states had only to adapt their domestic legal
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