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Defining Terrorism: A Comparison of Several Judicial-Executive Dialogues
The events of 9/11 have forced upon the entire community of Western states a re-assessment of their respective anti-terrorism policies and laws. It released an intense discussion seeking to update and recharacterize the post-9/11 state of international relations producing a wave of renewed attempts to legally (re)define terrorism. The main challenge is to determine whether terrorism in its twenty-first century manifestation warrants recognition as a component within the doctrine of armed conflict and what would be the effects of such transformation. This article compares how the judiciary in Western liberal and pluralist democracies has been tackling this dilemma and affecting respective legislative responses. The article offers preliminary thoughts as guidelines to the design of parameters for an approach to anti-terrorism security that is common to North America (and the rest of the world). To this effect, it contextualizes the relevant North American jurisprudential developments within a sample of other Western-oriented judicial track records. The article finds that the North American dialogue (in Canada and the US) among the three branches of government is departing from two opposite ends of one and the same Western War on Terror adjudicative spectrum. This context appears to be slowly, but eventually, progressing toward conversion, effecting a common re-characterization and definition of terrorism, anti-terrorism, and their place within the doctrine of armed conflict.
National Security Law
Peace and Conflict Studies