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Terrorism threats and temporary exclusion orders : counter-terror rhetoric or reality?

Fenwick, H. (2017) 'Terrorism threats and temporary exclusion orders : counter-terror rhetoric or reality?', European human rights law review., 2017 (3). pp. 247-271.


Western democracies are currently facing a terrorist threat which comes mainly from their own Salafist-jihadi supporting citizens. In evaluating the threat there is at present a particular focus on nationals who have travelled abroad to support ISIS, or similar groups, and may return (often referred to as "foreign terrorist fighters"), especially given that ISIS-held territory is likely to continue to shrink in 2017 and beyond. Exploration of measures to combat this threat is ongoing in a number of democracies, and in the United Kingdom led to the introduction in 2015 of temporary exclusion orders ( TEOs), under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 . The thinking behind TEOs bears some conceptual resemblance to that behind measures introduced in the United Kingdom and other democracies to strip dual national suspects of citizenship, and even—in terms of seeking to place TEO-subjects outside the United Kingdom’s ECHR jurisdictional responsibility—to that underlying the creation of CIA "dark sites". The orders represent the latest manifestation of liberty-invading non-trial-based executive measures introduced post-9/11 in the United Kingdom; therefore, as would be expected, they are in tension with domestic and international human rights law. This article will argue that the basis put to Parliament by the government for creating a reconciliation between such law and reliance on the orders is flawed, which may partly explain the marked reluctance to deploy them in practice, even in the face of the currently increased threat from returnee foreign terrorist fighters. It will therefore consider the relevance, if any, of TEOs to that threat and their role in the global struggle against terrorism. It will question why, against the backdrop of the current, increasing ISIS-linked threat, the United Kingdom has saddled itself with another counterterrorism power that appears to sit on the books and perform no clear role, another power owing more to counter-terror rhetoric than to enhancing security.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in European Human Rights Law Review following peer review. The definitive published version Fenwick, H. (2017). Terrorism threats and temporary exclusion orders: counter-terror rhetoric or reality? European Human Rights Law Review 2017(3): 247-271 is available online on Westlaw UK or from Thomson Reuters DocDel service.
Date accepted:20 April 2017
Date deposited:23 May 2017
Date of first online publication:16 June 2017
Date first made open access:16 June 2018

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