Of victims and villains in the fight against international terrorism
Title: Of victims and villains in the fight against international terrorism
Author: AKSENOVA, Marina
Citation: European journal of legal studies, 2017, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 17-38
External link: http://www.ejls.eu/
Producing a satisfactory international definition of terrorism requires the resolution of a number of problems. I argue that one of the biggest challenges stems from the incompatibility of the offence of terrorism and the traditional roles assigned by the criminal justice system to victims, offenders and mediators. The usual paradigm embodies values formed over time and collectively shared by society. As a result, offenders are the 'villains' in the eyes of the community for violating the agreed norms, victims suffer evident harm on an individual basis and courts together with the law enforcement agencies serve as legitimate mediators in the conflict by administering justice on behalf of the public. These roles are, however, often reversed or mixed up in the fight against terrorism. Because of the preventative focus of the laws tackling the problem, terrorist suspects become the new 'victims' if they are tortured, banned from entering a country or mistreated in other ways, executive agencies sanctioning these practices become the new 'villains', and those harmed by the attacks involuntarily become the new 'mediators' because their suffering is intended to transmit a certain message to the rest of the world. The uncertainty about the roles within domestic law, in turn, reduces the possibility of creating a viable international formula defining terrorism.
Type of Access: openAccess