EU: Guidance on judicial application of the EU Counter-terrorism Directive

The ICJ and partners published today Counter-terrorism and human rights in the courts: guidance for judges, prosecutors and lawyers on application of EU Directive 2017/541 on combatting terrorism (the Guidance).

The Guidance, published by the ICJ together with its partners Human Rights in Practice, Nederlands Juristen Comité voor de Mensenrechten (NJCM) and Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna di Pisa, addresses the appropriate interpretation and application of the EU Directive in practice throughout investigation, prosecution and trial, consistently with international and EU human rights law and standards.

The Guidance (Counter-terrorism and human rights in the courts: guidance for judges, prosecutors and lawyers on application of EU Directive 2017/541 on combatting terrorism) was prepared as part of the JUSTICE project, building on expert roundtables held in 2019 across the EU (in Pisa, the Hague, Madrid and Brussels) with judges, lawyers, prosecutors and other relevant experts from a number of EU Member States, as well as national studies and consultations with judges, lawyers and prosecutors in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Italy and France. The project was further supported by associate partners: Magistrats Européens pour la Démocratie et les Libertés (MEDEL), Juezas y Jueces para la Democracia in Spain and Neue Richtervereinigung in Germany.

It gives a comprehensive overview of the relevant international and EU legal standards and criminal law principles on investigation, prosecution and trial of terrorism cases, based on the EU Directive, to ensure that the Directive is applied in a human rights compliant manner.

The Guidance provides in its section II an overview of applicable international law and standards in law and practice. It covers counter-terrorism law in states of emergency, rights of victims of terrorism and human rights implicated by the Directive offences (principle of legality, non-discrimination, restrictions on freedom of movement, expression, association, assembly, privacy, private and family life and the right to political participation). Section III provides specific guidance and related commentary on each of the Directive offences and section IV covers the rights of suspects in the criminal process – investigation, prosecution and trial.

The Guidance is being launched today in an on-line webinar co-hosted by MEP Saskia Bricmont the Greens from the European Parliament and the speakers include national judges and lawyers, international experts, and representatives of the European Commission, Eurojust, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency and Members of the European Parliament, see the agenda here.

Róisín Pillay, Director Europe and Central Asia Programme; roisin.pillay(a)
Karolína Babická, Legal adviser Europe and Central Asia Programme; karolina.babicka(a)

Guidance-counterterrorism-ENG-2020 (Guidance in English)

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