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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78826 Find in a Library
Title: Legal Responses to Terrorism - Towards European Cooperation? (From Terrorism - A Challenge to the State, P 195-224, 1981, Juliet Lodge, ed. See NCJ-78820)
Author(s): D Freestone
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 30
Sponsoring Agency: St Martin's Press
New York, NY 10010
Sale Source: St Martin's Press
Scholarly & Reference Division
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The framework of international law within which the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism operates is outlined, and the more obvious areas where political pressures may influence the form or operation of the law are indicated.
Abstract: The Convention aims to secure the extradition or trial of all persons convicted of or charged with offenses of violence, loosely classified as 'terrorist' offenses. Although the number of persons likely to be affected by the convention is relatively small, the decision of the contracting States to abolish between themselves the availability of the 'political defense' does represent an important change in policy and has provoked differing reactions. Critics of the convention view it as an international manifestation of the theory of the 'strong State' -- that States hold in reserve strong and wide-ranging powers with which to suppress possible dissent. Promoters in the Council of Europe portray the convention as an instrument of peace which enables penal sanctions to be applied for serious criminal offenses against the security of the State without affecting or sacrificing fundamental rights. Neither view seems wholly justified. The convention is only open to signature by States that are members of the Council of Europe, all of whom are parties to the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the rights of fair trial. Further, although the convention abolish the right to seek immunity from the application of the criminal law because an offense was politically motivated, it does not abolish the right to claim asylum where there is a risk of persecution, i.e., where the prosecution itself is motivated by improper considerations. However, it may be argued that the very consensus of political values that gave rise to the convention militates against the effective operation of this principle. A total of 117 notes and references are listed. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Antiterrorist laws; Europe; International agreements; International extradition; Political offender nonextradition
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