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Human Rights and Non-discrimination in the 'War on Terror'$
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Daniel Moeckli

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199239801

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239801.001.0001

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Anti-terrorism Regimes: Rationales and Scope

Anti-terrorism Regimes: Rationales and Scope

(p.23) 2 Anti-terrorism Regimes: Rationales and Scope
Human Rights and Non-discrimination in the 'War on Terror'

Moeckli Daniel

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the creation of legal regimes to counter terrorism in the wake of September 11 and explores the policy rationales behind them. It argues that special anti-terrorism regimes primarily serve to denounce specific acts of violence, to stigmatise those associated with these acts, and to reassure the public. At the same time, because of the inherently denunciatory function and highly political nature of the concept of terrorism, the international community has not been able to agree on a generic definition of ‘terrorism’. As a consequence, governments have almost complete discretion to determine the scope of anti-terrorism regimes. As the contemporary terrorist threat has become de-individualised and ever more difficult to attribute to specific perpetrators, anti-terrorism measures are increasingly based on predictive profiles of potential terrorists. These profiles rely on group characteristics that are believed to point to an involvement in the fundamental civilizational challenge in which the terrorist threat is allegedly rooted.

Keywords:   anti-terrorism laws, September 11, terrorist threat, rationales, definition of terrorism, prevention, terrorist profiles

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