The Meaning of the Precautionary Principle for the Assessment of Criminal Measures in the Fight against Terrorism

25 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2009 Last revised: 19 Dec 2012

Matthias J. Borgers

VU University Amsterdam

Elies van Sliedregt

Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, School of Law; University of Leeds, School of Law

Date Written: September 8, 2009

Abstract

Criminal lawyers and criminologists often refer to contemporary society as the risk society, dominated by an awareness and fear of risks that threaten security: for instance, terrorist attacks. Governments respond to this fear by taking measures that prevent such risks as much as possible. This has led to the development of a concomitant change to preventive criminal justice, illustrated most prominently with regard to recent anti-terrorism legislation. There is much debate in criminal law circles, engaging both scholars and politicians, on the need for preventive criminal law. Different points of view are expressed. Often, the framework against which preventive criminal law is assessed is human rights law: in European circles, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights. In this paper, we opt for a different approach: preventive criminal justice is evaluated on the basis of the precautionary principle.

Keywords: criminal law, terrorism, human rights, precaution, precautionary principle

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Borgers, Matthias J. and Sliedregt, Elies van, The Meaning of the Precautionary Principle for the Assessment of Criminal Measures in the Fight against Terrorism (September 8, 2009). Erasmus Law Review, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1469891

Matthias J. Borgers (Contact Author)

VU University Amsterdam ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Netherlands

Elies Van Sliedregt

University of Leeds, School of Law ( email )

Leeds, LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, School of Law ( email )

Leeds LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

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