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Unit of study_

LAWS6856: International Counter-Terrorism Law

This unit explores how international law has confronted terrorist violence from the mid-19th century to the present, including under transnational and international criminal law, the law on the use of military force, the law of armed conflict, human rights law, measures adopted by the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly, and the law of state responsibility. It considers controversies about the (in)adequacy of the law in areas such as ‘targeted killings' (or extrajudicial assassinations?), aerial drones, detention and trial of suspects, ‘irregular renditions' (illegal abductions?), ‘enhanced interrogation' (torture?), ‘shoot to kill' policies, foreign terrorist fighters and citizen stripping, mass surveillance and privacy, and public emergency laws. Selected regional laws (in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa) and national laws (particularly in Australia, the UK and the US) implementing international obligations are also considered. The study of terrorism, and the law's response to it, is ultimately a study of when violence is justified, against whom, and for what purposes – whether it is ‘freedom fighters' or ‘state terrorism', or extreme religious challenges to secular norms, at issue.

Code LAWS6856
Academic unit Law
Credit points 6
CISS6011 or LAWS3483
Assumed knowledge:
Students should have either completed LAWS6243 International Law I or have an understanding in at least one of the following areas: public or a specialised area of international law or criminal law or criminology or human rights or security and conflict studies acquired through university studies and/or relevant professional experience.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. know well the content of the law in each of the topic areas
  • LO2. apply advanced legal analysis and reasoning skills
  • LO3. understand and critique the processes of anti-terrorism law making
  • LO4. evaluate the strengths and limitations of anti-terrorism laws
  • LO5. demonstrate awareness of the political, ideological, ethical and philosophical implications of terrorism laws
  • LO6. identify the sources of terrorism laws and be able to research further in the area
  • LO7. utilize enhanced skills of legal research and writing in anti- terrorism laws (and be able to use research methods to write in a clear and logical manner, using plain and concise language).

Unit outlines

Unit outlines will be available 2 weeks before the first day of teaching for the relevant session.