Executive measures against the liberties of terrorism suspects

Authored by: Mordechai Kremnitzer , Lina Saba-Habesch

Routledge Handbook of Law and Terrorism

Print publication date:  July  2015
Online publication date:  July  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415870375
eBook ISBN: 9780203795835
Adobe ISBN: 9781134455096


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Even the best intelligence services are challenged when devising ways of anticipating and preventing acts of terror. Terrorists aim to cause instability in the political system. They aim to change policies through the intimidation of the entire population or sub-sections thereof. The costs of terrorism extend beyond human lives. One of the main terrorist goals, which is often achieved, is to cause horror and helplessness among citizens. The reaction of threatened individuals and institutions to terrorism can cause grave social costs. When dealing with extended periods of terrorism, this dread can even affect daily life and cause psychological damage, economic costs, and even a threat that causes the government to lose its freedom of action and its ability to provide existential security to the public. This has given rise to a debate over the suitability of the traditional criminal justice system to deal effectively with terrorism. 1 Terrorism challenges the system in a different way to regular violent crime. It is clear that criminal deterrence is not effective vis-à-vis those who decide to commit suicide. Failing to prevent terrorist acts can increase their confidence and their ‘appetite’ for additional attacks. It may also create an incentive to initiate such attacks. Therefore, states that confront terrorism believe that the results of terrorist attacks, especially serious ones, are so severe that they must act diligently to prevent them in advance and that later punishment is not enough. Moreover, when dealing with suicide bombers there is usually no one to punish after the attack. The result has been a shift in the criminal law policy paradigm to a greater focus on preventive measures. 2

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