Convergences and Divergences: Countering Terrorist Organisations in the United States and the United Kingdom
King's Law Journal (2017)
30 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2014 Last revised: 26 Oct 2017
Date Written: October 22, 2017
Criminalising membership of terrorist organizations raises serious freedom of association and freedom of speech/expression concerns. Governments in the United States of America and the United Kingdom have a long history of restricting organisations which express dissent, particularly at times when they perceive national security to be subject to acute threat. Until the mid-twentieth century, both jurisdictions regarded proscription as the appropriate means of tackling political organisations which were committed to using violence to achieve their goals or equivocal about their attitude to violence. Thereafter, the approaches of these two jurisdictions to proscription diverged. This paper analyses these distinct approaches to tackling terrorist organisations by comparing their proscription offences, the mechanisms for listing organisations as terrorist, and whether adequate safeguards for freedom of association and freedom of speech/expression are provided in both jurisdictions. It also evaluates the effectiveness of such proscription regimes as a response to the threat posed by “networked” groups which actively adapt to the efforts by states to tackle their activities by listing them as terrorist.
Keywords: Proscription, Militant Democracy, Designation, Terrorism, Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Association, United Kingdom, United States
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