Panel Discussion on Can Counter Terrorism Efforts become Truly Effective Without Sacrificing Human Rights and the Rule of Law?

Following the very successful first joint lecture of Doughty Street International and The Hague Institute for Global Justice on the topic of Reparations for Historical Wrongs, the second event of our lecture series entitled ‘International Justice in Practice’ took place on Thursday the 16th of June with the generous contribution of the Embassy of Austria in the Netherlands. It focused on the issue: Can Counter Terrorism Efforts become Truly Effective Without Sacrificing Human Rights and the Rule of Law?

In light of recent attacks in Europe and the “unprecedented” threat of ISIS, States have intensified their efforts to stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters and to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism. States have a duty to prevent terrorist attacks and to bring those responsible to justice, and to do so in the most effective way possible, but not by encroaching on basic human rights. The United Nations has emphasized that “counter-terrorism measures and the protection of human rights are not conflicting goals, but complementary and mutually reinforcing”. But is it really possible to combat contemporary terrorism threats effectively without sacrificing human rights and the rule of law?

These issues were discussed by a high-level panel of legal practitioners, academics, and experts on the ground:

  • Tim Moloney QC, barrister at Doughty Street International and deputy head of Doughty Street Chambers, who has been provided regular training overseas in the law and practice relating to terrorism and foreign terrorist fighters, will discuss the tension between counter terrorism and the rule of law.
  • Dr. Edwina Thompson, a leading expert in terrorist financing will discuss issues relating to sanctions, blacklisting and the impact of bank strategies to avoid involvement in terrorist financing.
  • Dr. Bibi van Ginkel, Research Fellow at ICCT and Clingendael – a frequent commentator on national and international media on the topic of counter-terrorism issues – will discuss the role of the military in securing suspects and evidence in the prosecution of terrorism cases, with a special focus on the legal challenges this role poses.

The discussion was moderated by Dr. Lyal S Sunga, head of the Rule of Law program at The Hague Institute.


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