Terrorism, courts and human rights

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TERRORISM, COURTS AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Nature of human rights

Human rights are considered to be the unit for measurement universal values and legal guarantees that defend individuals and groups against actions and omissions primarily by state agents that interfere with elementary freedoms, entitlements, and human dignity. Human rights always look for the welfare and benefit of the people at large in respect of protection, promotion and fulfillment of civil political, social, economical which lead to the development of the people. Human rights square measure universal—in different words, they belong inherently to all human beings—and are interdependent and indivisible.

Terrorism

Terrorism is usually understood to confer with the commission of acts of violence that concentrate on civilians within the pursuit of political aims. In legal terms, though the international community has nonetheless to adopt a comprehensive definition of the terrorist act, existing declarations, resolutions and universal sectors of treaties in relation with the aspects of it define certain statutes. In 1994, the overall Assembly’s Declaration on Measures to Eliminate Terrorism declared that terrorist act includes “criminal acts meant or calculated to electrify a state of terror at intervals the overall public, a bunch of persons or explicit persons for political that may be invoked to justify them. “Purposes” which such acts “are in any circumstances are unwarrantable, regardless of the concerns of a political, philosophical, philosophic, racial, ethnic and religious or other nature.

The impact of terrorism on human rights

Terrorism aims at the terrible destruction of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. It attacks the values that lie at the heart of the Charter of the United Nations and other international instruments: respect for human rights; the rule of law; rules governing armed conflict and therefore the protection of civilians; tolerance among peoples and nations; and therefore the peaceful resolution of conflict. Terrorism incorporates a direct impact on the enjoyment of a variety of human rights, especially, the rights to life, liberty, and physical integrity.

Terrorism or the ruthless act performed by the terrorists impacts a lot and with a huge gravity among the citizens of the Country particularly and which impacts for the providence of the resistance of the enjoyment of the basic human rights of each and every individual affecting society or more specifically the civil society. With it, these types of acts also impact the Government activities and therefore the stability cannot be maintained. Because of such effect, the peace and security of the nation also get damaged and there is a huge loss of the economic and the property of the state where such activities are being brought into practice. Thus the terrorism is considered which destroys the political, social and economic development and progress which all have a negative effect upon the whole of the citizens.

All of those have an on the spot impact on the enjoyment of elementary human rights. The damaging impact of a terrorist act on human rights and security has been recognized at the best level of the United Nation, notably by the protection Council, the overall Assembly, and the former Commission on Human Rights and also the new Human Rights Council specifically, Member States have set out that terrorism-

  • Threatens the dignity and security of individuals everyplace, endangers or takes innocent lives, creates an environment that destroys the freedom from fear of the people, jeopardizes fundamental freedoms, and aims at the destruction of human rights.
  • Has an adverse effect on the establishment of the rule of law, undermines pluralistic civil society, aims at the destruction of the democratic bases of society, and destabilizes legitimately constituted Governments.
  • Has links with transnational organized crime, drug trafficking, money-laundering and trafficking in arms, as well as illegal transfers of nuclear, chemical and biological materials, and is linked to the consequent commission of serious crimes such as murder, extortion, kidnapping, assault, hostage-taking, and robbery.
  • It has adverse consequences for the economic and social development of States, jeopardizes friendly relations among States, and encompasses a pernicious impact on relations of cooperation among States, together with cooperation for development.
  • Threatens the territorial integrity and security of States, constitutes a grave violation of the aim and principles of the United Nation, could be a threat to international peace and security and should be suppressed as an important component for the upkeep of international peace and security.

Accountability and the human rights victims

In addressing the needs of victims of terrorism, consideration must be given to the distinction between victims of crime, on the one hand, and victims of human rights violations, on the other. While this distinction is not always clear-cut, terrorist-related acts will be addressed as criminal offenses committed by individuals and a State won’t, in principle, be responsible for the illegal conduct itself. Act constituting human rights violations area unit committed primarily by organs or persons within the name of, or on behalf of, the state. In some circumstances, however, the state may be responsible for the acts of private individuals that may constitute a violation of international human rights law.

In explicit, international and regional standards with regard to victims of crime and victims of gross violations of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law may be instructive in addressing the needs of victims of terrorism. Certain provisions of the universal treaties concerning specific aspects of coercion are relevant to addressing the things of victims of terrorism.

According to the Declaration on Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power, placed in front once General Assembly resolution number 40/34, which informs us about the victims, as it defined as the victims include “persons who have suffered harm individually or collectively which receives physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, loss of economy, social effects or other infringement of their fundamental rights, through omission or commission of the acts that are in violation of criminal laws operative at intervals the Member States, together with those laws proscribing criminal abuse of power.”

The Declaration further encompasses the very standards for the treatment of victims in accordance with the several basic characteristics of justice. The Declaration tells that the victims should:

  • The same compassion and respect for the proper enforcing with the right to live with dignity of the victims.
  • There should be proper assistance for the legal proceedings or the actions for the proper enforcement of the rights.
  • Be protected against intimidation and retaliation;
  • Their privacy status could remain protected without infringing.
  • Also, be able to have their participation in the relation of the dispute alternatives.
  • To provide with the necessary obligation for the victim to look for the materials in need, medications, psychological treatment as well as social assistance.

Terrorism and international humanitarian law

International humanitarian law contains a set of rules on the protection of persons in “armed conflict”, as that term is understood in the relevant treaties, as well as on the conduct of hostilities. These rules are reflected in a number of treaties, including the four Geneva Conventions and their two Additional Protocols, as well as a number of other international instruments aimed at reducing human suffering in armed conflict. Many of their provisions are now also recognized as customary international law.

If it comes to define the term for the Terrorism under the purview of the International Humanitarian Law, it is found no such explicit definition; however the International Humanitarian Law prohibits many acts which are inclusive of the arms conflicts or which are involved in the terrorist activities, as they were done or performed in the times of peace.

International Humanitarian Law, also in its strict sense also prohibits for the measure of the terrorism or the acts of the commission of terrorism, which leads to criminal liability with the collective punishments. Terrorism is known to be the act which causes threats with the main objective to spreads the terrorism effect upon the civilians or the citizens of the nation or specifically for a community, is also strictly considered to be under the prohibition acts of the International Humanitarian Law.

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, while even a lawful attack on a military objective may spread fear among civilians, these provisions, related to the conduct of hostile actions, attempts to prohibit those attacks that especially aim to terrorize and fear the civilians.

Terrorism and human rights

It becomes very clear from the perspective of Human Rights and the organizations and for democracy, there shall be strict as well as defensive action must be taken against the act of terrorists. On the other hand, there becomes a widespread threat in expressing the anti-terrorism statutes.

Ways to counter misuses of anti-terrorist laws to restrict freedom of expression

Terrorism poses a real and serious threat to people’s lives and is a menace for human rights and democracy. Therefore every state has the duty to protect society against terrorism and to adopt certain measures to prevent and punish terrorist activities in an effective manner. However, this duty is counterbalanced by the obligation to uphold human rights in the fight against terrorism. A number of steps are needed to achieve that difficult balance:

  • Existing legislation must thus be reviewed and the notions used should be clearly defined.
  • Anti-terror and security laws should not unduly interfere with the right of the media to impart information of public interest and the right of people to receive it.
  • All persons imprisoned because of the legitimate criticism they have expressed should be freed and the criminal records of those who have been convicted for such reports should be cleared.

Freedom of expression may be an efficient tool to get rid up to some extent terrorism resulting in a wide ambit of principles like terrorist propaganda, glorification or apology of terrorism, including to contents that clearly do not incite to violence. This misconception should be eliminated as undermining human rights is precisely one of the aims pursued by terrorism, which can in no way be eradicated by sacrificing the very principles and values of our democratic societies. On the contrary, pluralistic and democratic debates are of utmost importance, as a free society can thrive only through free expression and the exchange of ideas.

Frequently asked questions

1) What do you mean by the word “Terrorism”?

Terrorism aims at the terrible destruction of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. It attacks the values that lie at the heart of the Charter of the United Nations and other international instruments: respect for human rights; the rule of law; rules governing armed conflict and therefore the protection of civilians; tolerance among peoples and nations; and therefore the peaceful resolution of conflict. Terrorism incorporates a direct impact on the enjoyment of a variety of human rights, especially, the rights to life, liberty, and physical integrity.

2) How the concept of terrorism is taken by the society?

Terrorism or the ruthless act performed by the terrorists impacts a lot and with a huge gravity among the citizens of the Country particularly and which impacts for the providence of the resistance of the enjoyment of the basic human rights of each and every individual affecting society or more specifically the civil society. Also, impacts the government activities and therefore the stability cannot be maintained. Because of such effect the peace and security of the nation also gets damaged and there is a huge loss of the economic and the property of the state where such activities are being brought into practice. Thus the terrorism is considered which destroys the political, social and economical development and progress which all have the negative effect upon the whole of the citizens.

3) How the state tackles the problems of victims with the crimes of terrorism and how they are implemented?

In addressing the needs of victims of terrorism, consideration must be given to the distinction between victims of crime, on the one hand, and victims of human rights violations, on the other. While this distinction is not always clear-cut, terrorist-related acts will be addressed as criminal offenses committed by individuals and a State won’t, in principle, be responsible for the illegal conduct itself. Act constituting human rights violations area unit committed primarily by organs or persons within the name of, or on behalf of, the state. In some circumstances, however, the state may be responsible for the acts of private individuals that may constitute a violation of international human rights law.

4) What are the basic principles of justice which are being undertaken by the victims?

Victims according to several basic principles of justice which should include the same compassion and respect for the proper enforcing with the right to live with dignity of the victims, be entitled to proper assistance throughout the legal process, be protected against intimidation and retaliation, their privacy status could remain protected without infringing, be able to have their participation in the relation of the dispute alternatives, to provide with the necessary obligation for the victim to look for the materials in need, medications, psychological treatment as well as social assistance.

5) How terrorism is seen with the context of International Humanitarian Law?

International humanitarian law contains a set of rules on the protection of persons in “armed conflict”, as that term is understood in the relevant treaties, as well as on the conduct of hostilities. These rules are reflected in a number of treaties, including the four Geneva Conventions and their two Additional Protocols, as well as a number of other international instruments aimed at reducing human suffering in armed conflict. Many of their provisions are now also recognized as customary international law.

Edited by Chiranjeeb Prateek Mohanty

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

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Shikhar Shrivastava
Shikhar Shrivastava, currently pursuing 3rd Year Law Course [B.A.LL.B (Hons.)] from Indore Institute of Law, Indore (Madhya Pradesh). The areas of interest for him are Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Environmental Law, Labour Law, Administrative Law, Human Rights Law. In order to pursue career in Law, he takes anxious curiosity in developing his research skills as well dealing with National and International Moot Court Competitions. He has worked with much of Online Internships for various Law firms established in Delhi, Bangalore. He too has published various Blogs, Legislative Comments, Short Articles, Newsletter articles, Articles for Journals.

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