Accounting for Rights in EU Counter-Terrorism

 

On 5th June 2014, Professor Fiona de Londras, from Durham Law School, gave a talk to the Oxford Human Rights Hub on the development of EU counter-terrorism measures.

On 11 September 2001 the EU had no formal counter-terrorism law. Indeed, at that time even coordination in criminal justice generally speaking was contentious within the EU context. However, little more than a decade later the EU has a vast and well-developed body of law and policy on counter-terrorism comprising well over 200 ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ measures. Some, although not all, of these measures were introduced quickly and in the relatively immediate aftermath of the 11 September attacks; others have taken more time and been ground out at the slower pace of EU law-making that we are more accustomed to. However, in all cases concerns about the implications of EU counter-terrorism for the protection and enjoyment of rights have arisen. Professor de Londras considered the mechanisms by which rights are accounted for in EU counter-terrorism, critically assessing the practices of pre-legislative scrutiny and consultation, formal ex post facto assessment (on the rare occasions when it takes places), domestic analysis (by courts, parliament and statutory bodies), operational peer review processes, and analysis by the CJEU. Drawing on research from the FP7 project SECILE (Security Europe Through Counter-Terrorism: Impact, Legitimacy and Effectivenes), she identified serious deficiencies from a rights-based perspective at all of these levels (notwithstanding improvements post-Lisbon) and proposed structures for accounting more fully for rights within EU counter-terrorism.

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