62 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2008

See all articles by Karima Bennoune

Karima Bennoune

University of California, Davis - School of Law

Date Written: June, 19 2008


In the face of terrorism, human rights law's requirement that states "respect and ensure" rights necessitates that states take active steps to safeguard their populations from violent attack, but in so doing do not violate rights. Security experts usually emphasize the aspect of ensuring rights while human rights advocates largely focus on respecting rights. The trick, which neither side in the debate has adequately referenced, is that states have to do both at the same time. In contrast to these largely one-sided approaches, adopting a radical universalist stance, this Article argues that both contemporary human rights and security discourses on terrorism must be broadened and renewed. This renewal must be informed by the understanding that international human rights law protects the individual both from terrorism and the excesses of counter-terrorism, like torture. To develop this thesis, the Article explores the philosophical overlap between both terrorism and torture and their normative prohibitions. By postulating new discourses around the paradigm of terror/torture, it begins the project of creating a new human rights approach to terrorism.

Keywords: Human rights, terrorism, torture, security, human security, armed conflict, religious extremism, fundamentalism, United Nations, international law, women's human rights, Non-Governmental Organizations, NGOs, non-state actors, universality

Suggested Citation

Bennoune, Karima, Terror/Torture (June, 19 2008). Berkeley Journal of International Law (BJIL), Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 1-61, 2008, Rutgers School of Law-Newark Research Papers No. 032, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1148284

Karima Bennoune (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - School of Law

Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall
Davis, CA CA 95616-5201
United States

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