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

Experts in the meeting News

Experts Discuss the Relevance and Dynamics of Armed Group Coalitions in Contemporary Armed Conflicts and Counterterrorism

18 December 2023

International lawyers, social scientists, security experts, and humanitarian practitioners discussed how research in social sciences could inform IHL experts and humanitarian practitioners to assess whether a certain degree of cooperation between organized armed groups – referred to as a ‘coalition’ – had relevance for armed conflict classification.

Read more >

Crowd Control photo News

Counterterrorism in Europe: Ambiguous Security Gains for Significant Impacts on Rights

26 September 2023

Our new Working Paper invites readers to embark on a critical journey, shedding light on the intricate dynamics between security and human rights and calls for us to consider the effectiveness of counterterrorism policies as a matter of human rights law, demonstrating the benefits of this approach in improving the rationality of the decision-making process.

Read more >

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

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.

Publications

Cover page of the Working Paper

Exploring Counterterrorism Effectiveness and Human Rights Law

September 2023

Gloria Gaggioli, Michael Moncrieff , Ilya Sobol

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

Download >

Past Events

Aggregation, Governance and Nexus: The Legal and Practical Implications of the ICC’s Al Hassan Case

7 December 2023, 18:00-19:30

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Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism: A Conversation Between Judge Kipfer and Fionnuala Ní Aoláin

9 March 2022, 13:00-15:00

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MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Map of the Rulac online portal pointing on Israel/Palestine News

RULAC: Update of our Entry on the Military Occupation of Palestine by Israel

27 November 2023

Our Research Fellow Dr Eugénie Duss answers our questions related to this update that follows the attacks carried out by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Israel’s subsequent Iron Sword operation.

Read more

Experts in the meeting News

Experts Discuss the Relevance and Dynamics of Armed Group Coalitions in Contemporary Armed Conflicts and Counterterrorism

18 December 2023

International lawyers, social scientists, security experts, and humanitarian practitioners discussed how research in social sciences could inform IHL experts and humanitarian practitioners to assess whether a certain degree of cooperation between organized armed groups – referred to as a ‘coalition’ – had relevance for armed conflict classification.

Read more

Afghanistan, Parwan detention facility. Inside a room where detainees of the prison, separated by an acrylic glass, are allowed to meet with their families a couple of times per year with the help of the ICRC employees who facilitate the programme. Short Course

Preventing and Combating Terrorism

25 April - 17 May 2024

This online short course discusses the extent to which states may limit and/or derogate from their international human rights obligations in order to prevent and counter-terrorism and thus protect persons under their jurisdiction.

Read more

Screenshot of the RULAC webpage Project

Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts (RULAC)

Started in May 2007

The Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts project (RULAC) is a unique online portal that identifies and classifies all situations of armed violence that amount to an armed conflict under international humanitarian law (IHL). It is primarily a legal reference source for a broad audience, including non-specialists, interested in issues surrounding the classification of armed conflicts under IHL.

Read more

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 page of the Working Paper Publication

Exploring Counterterrorism Effectiveness and Human Rights Law

published on September 2023

Gloria Gaggioli, Michael Moncrieff , Ilya Sobol

Read more

Cover page of the research brief Publication

Youth Associated with Non-State Armed Groups: Building an Evidence Base on Disengagement Pathways and Reintegration Challenges

published on September 2023

Erica Harper, Yosuke Nagai

Read more