Feature Article

Anti-terror Laws

[TamilNet, Thursday, 12 July 2007, 00:28 GMT]
Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, legal advisor and member of the negotiating team for the Liberation Tigers in Geneva, in a recent review of the "material support" provisions in US laws related to designated "terrorist" organizations, says that although the plaintiffs cannot be criminally prosecuted for providing “training,” “services,” or “expert advice or assistance from specialized knowledge” under the “material support” provision in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA) of December 2004, they can be prosecuted under a Presidential Executive Order (EO 13224).

PDF IconCurrent Status of U.S. “Material Support” Laws
US Government and other Western states, in the aftermath of 9/11, have enacted new laws, or have added provisions to existing laws assist in the "war on terror."

Following legislations exist in the US for prosecuting terrorism offenders:

  • Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA): Enacted on April 24, 1996, following the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. The Act prohibits “material support” of designated “Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs)."
  • International Emergency Economic Power Act (“IEEPA”): allows the executive branch to designate entities and individuals as “terrorists” with legal consequences. The IEEPA authorizes the President to declare a national emergency “to deal with any unusual and extraordinary threat. …” Under the IEEPA, the President can designate entities and individuals and freeze their assets.
  • Executive Order (“EO”) 13224: After September 11, 2001, the President invoked his authority under the IEEPA and issued Executive Order (“EO”) 13224, which named twenty-four groups and individuals as specially designated global terrorists (SDGTs). The legal consequence of designation by the Secretary of the Treasury, like that of designation by the President, is the freezing of property.
  • Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA): Congress enacted IRTPA, amending the terms “training,” “personnel,” and “expert advice or assistance,” and adding the term “service” to the description of “material support” of a designated terrorist organization.

"The Plaintiffs cannot be criminally prosecuted for being members or associates of the designated organizations or for supporting their political philosophies," according to Rudrakumaran.

However, Terrorism Act 2006 of UK, makes "Dissemination of Terrorist Publications" and providing "Encouragement to Terrorism, that is to directly or indirectly incite or encourage others to commit acts of terrorism" criminal offences. Recently in Britain a Tamil youth was arrested on "charge of managing a meeting to support the Tamil Tigers."

Rudrakumar points out that "In Canadian legislation, terrorist activity is defined as encompassing ten United Nations Conventions pertaining to terrorism and a catch-all clause that encompasses the use of violence that results in death, serious harm, or substantial damage to property to further a political, religious, or ideological cause.

However, the legislation exempts “an act or omission that is committed during an armed conflict, and that, at the time and in the place of its commission, is in accordance with international customary law or convention international law applicable to the conflict.” Thus, according to the Canadian legislation, war, legitimate self-defense, and the legitimate use of force for the realization of self-determination cannot be considered “terrorist activities,” Rudrakumaran adds.

Related Articles:
28.05.07   Sloganeering Terror, Strategizing War

External Links:
UK: Terrorism Act 2006
BBC: Pair facing Tamil Tigers charges
US: Anti Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
Wiki: Australian Anti-Terrorism Act 2005
US:  Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004
IHT: Australian terror suspect met with Sri Lanka's Tamil rebel leader in 2003
EPIC: USA Patriot Act


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