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.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Taliban insurgents turn themselves in to Afghan National Security Forces at a forward operating base in Puza-i-Eshan. Their defections come in the midst of Operation Taohid II, and Afghan-led operation designed to defeat the insurgency News

Revised Classification of the Armed Conflicts in Afghanistan following US Withdrawal and Taliban’s Overall Control of the Country

20 September 2021

Following the withdrawal of US troops and the fact that the Taliban gained effective control over most of the country, including Kabul, we revised the classification of the armed conflicts that are taking place in the country.

Read more

Taliban on a Toyota truck at the entrance of Kabul News

Non-International Armed Conflicts in Afghanistan and The Taliban’s advance on Kabul

18 August 2021

In August 2021, following the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban have rapidly taken control of most of the country, Kabul included.

Read more

Cover page of the book Event

Book Launch: Rebel Courts

1 December 2021, 17:30-19:00

In this online book launch – part of our IHL Talk series – Professor René Provost will discuss with leading scholars in IHL and human rights the legal and practical challenges related to the administration of justice by armed groups.

Read more

Séléka rebels patrol in the town of Bria, Central African Republic (CAR). Project

Human Rights Responsibilities and Armed Non-State Actors

Completed in June 2018

This research aims at building a common understanding and vision as to how states and the relevant parts of the UN system can provide a concrete and practical framework to address human rights responsibilities of armed non-state actors.

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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

Cover of the publication Publication

Case Study: The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (Mouvement National de Libération de l’Azawad, MNLA), Mali

published on March 2021

Annyssa Bellal, Ezequiel Heffes and Pascal Bongard

Read more

Cover of the publication Publication

Case Study: Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia–Ejército del Pueblo (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army, FARC-EP)

published on March 2021

Annyssa Bellal, Ezequiel Heffes and Pascal Bongard

Read more