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Research Paper

Incitement to Terrorism: A Matter of Prevention or Repression?

02 Aug 2011
Long read by Bibi van Ginkel

Dr. Bibi van Ginkel analyses the relevant research and policy question related to the criminalisation of incitement to terrorism. Several international legal documents have been adopted that deal with the criminalisation of incitement to terrorism. Yet, the exact scope of the term "incitement" is not clear. Does it only include "public provocation", or do the "justification" or "glorification" of terrorist acts also fall within the scope of the term? The criminalisation of "incitement to terrorism" results in a limitation of the freedom of expression. The question is whether this limitation is within the limits of the human rights regimes. The principle of legality and legal certainty are pivotal in answering this query. However, the present uncertainty in the exact meaning of the term "incitement" creates a problem in this respect. But equally important is identifying what problem exactly needs to be addressed when criminalising "incitement". Where to draw the line? Which opinions are still allowed to be voiced in the public debate on the grievances within society? Which opinions are out of line to the extent that they can be considered a severe danger to society deserving prosecution? Hence, before going into the details of criminalisation of incitement and the limits posed by human rights regimes, this Research Paper will first concentrate on the scope of the act of incitement, by analysing the process of radicalisation and the narratives used by terrorists. It also analyses the particular role played by the Internet in this process.

How to cite: Ginkel, B. van. "Incitement to Terrorism: A Matter of Prevention or Repression?" The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism - The Hague 2 , no. 6 (2011).