Global effects of the War on Terror on criminal law
The War on Terror, which began in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, has had a profound impact on criminal law both domestically and internationally. The global effects of this ongoing conflict have been far-reaching and have resulted in significant changes to the legal landscape, with implications for individual rights, national security, and the rule of law.
The expansion of government surveillance powers is one of the most notable effects of the War on Terror on criminal law. The USA PATRIOT Act, passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in the United States, has significantly broadened the surveillance capabilities of law enforcement and intelligence agencies. This includes the ability to conduct roving wiretaps, access business records, and engage in surveillance of non-citizens without obtaining a warrant. This expansion of surveillance powers has been widely criticized for undermining civil liberties and privacy rights.. Additionally, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was amended to allow for the surveillance of non-US citizens outside the United States. These changes have been widely criticized for undermining civil liberties and privacy rights.
Another significant effect of the War on Terror on criminal law has been the increased use of military tribunals and detention without trial. In the United States, the military tribunals established at Guantanamo Bay have been used to try individuals accused of terrorism-related offenses, and the detainment of individuals at Guantanamo without trial has been widely criticized for violating due process and human rights. Additionally, the use of extraordinary rendition, or the transfer of individuals to foreign countries for detention and interrogation, has been widely criticized for its potential to facilitate torture and other human rights abuses.
The War on Terror has also led to changes in the law of armed conflict, particularly with regard to the use of drones and targeted killings. The use of drones to conduct targeted killings has been widely criticized for its potential to violate the laws of armed conflict and human rights law, particularly with regard to the principle of distinction and the prohibition on extrajudicial killings. Additionally, the use of drones has raised questions about the legal framework governing their use, including the criteria for targeting individuals, the decision-making process, and the accountability mechanisms in place.
The War on Terror has also had a significant impact on international criminal law. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has been criticized for its focus on Africa and failure to investigate and prosecute alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the United States and its allies in the War on Terror. Additionally, the United States has refused to ratify the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC, citing concerns about the possibility of politically motivated prosecutions.
The War on Terror has also led to the erosion of the rule of law and human rights in several countries. For example, in the name of countering terrorism, some countries have passed laws that allow for arbitrary detention, torture, and extrajudicial killings. This has raised concerns about the impact on human rights and the rule of law in these countries and has led to criticism from international human rights organizations.
The War on Terror has had a significant impact on criminal law both domestically and internationally. The expansion of government surveillance powers, increased use of military tribunals and detention without trial, changes in the law of armed conflict, and erosion of the rule of law and human rights in some countries are all examples of the effects of the War on Terror on criminal law. The War on Terror has also led to criticism of the International Criminal Court for its failure to investigate and prosecute alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the United States and its allies. It is important to note that while these measures may have been implemented with the intention of protecting national security, it is crucial to ensure that they do not undermine the very principles they aim to protect, such as civil liberties, human rights, and the rule of law.