Event Reports

The Rule of Law Facing New Challenges

Dissolution of states, terrorism, and piracy: does the balance of security and freedom need to be adjusted?

From June 30th to July 2nd 2013, KAS Israel co-organized a well attended conference on the topic of “Law and Security: Perspectives from the Field and Beyond” along with the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, IDC Herzliya, and the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism, Syracuse University.

The reoccurring question was presented: whether the existing international norms – especially the current international law of war – are sufficient to react appropriately to new kinds of threats (missile strikes by non-governmental entities, piracy, cyber-terrorism). The legitimacy of the use of new instruments for counter-terrorism – for example drones – was also discussed.

The conference was particularly relevant because such questions were not only handled on a theoretical level, but tackled by conference participants that included high-ranking experts from the field from Israel, the USA, and Europe (experts from Ministries of Defense, international organizations, international tribunals, national courts, human rights organizations, and private corporations for maritime security).

Ultimately, all participants gave an all-round positive summary: The interdisciplinary approach of the conference raised the awareness for new problems of balancing security and freedom. At the same time, methods were proposed on how effective counter-terrorism and applied protection of human rights can both be achieved while facing new developments. In most cases – which became clear – the existing international standards are adequate to ensure this balance.