Undergraduate Module Descriptor

LAW3206: Terrorism, Counter-terrorism and International Law

This module descriptor refers to the 2022/3 academic year.


NQF Level 6
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Agnieszka Jachec-Neale (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


In 2008, an Exeter city restaurant was subject to an attempted terrorist attack by a radicalised Plymouth resident. This event, close to home, together with numerous London attacks in the past twenty years, as well as the recent bombing of Ariana Grande’s concert participants in Manchester, show that terrorist attacks became a part of a fabric of our society and a phenomenon which we cannot ignore. Terrorism is a global and multi-faceted phenomenon that manifests itself with a variety of forms of violence both during armed conflict and in peace, spreading fear both online and outside of it, various political or religious aims and an apparent lack of commonly agreed, internationally accepted definition of the term. In recent years we have witnessed an increasing number of terrorist attacks, resulting in mass casualties, deepening political or ethnic divides, and destroying already fragile economies in a broad range of countries and societies.


Whilst terrorism and its impact on domestic, regional and international levels has always been of a concern, the counter-terrorism agenda and more effective efforts to prevent terrorism really started to dominate international security debates after 9/11 attack on US soil. The latter event became a catalyst for the United Nations Security Council deciding to take more robust measures in the counter-terrorism regulatory framework, enabled by its nomination of phenomenon of international terrorism as a ‘threat to international peace and security’. The regulatory efforts in the last 20 years resulted in numerous terrorist activities such as hostage taking, financing terrorism, arms trafficking, links to organised crimes and the flow of foreign fighters being outlawed, and the legal and policy measures for international cooperation to combat terrorism being extended and strengthened. These efforts were only invigorated by the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (known as Da’esh).

This module will give you an overview of the international legal framework on terrorism and the vast spectrum of counter-terrorism measures, including the criminalisation of terrorist acts. Discussion will include numerous topics organised in four key themes which may cover some of the following issues: terrorism and armed conflicts including foreign fighters phenomenon, counter-terrorism and human rights, international and transnational crimes and international justice, United Nations and international cooperation to combat terrorism, terrorist and anti-terrorist strategies on the use of social media, Internet and communication technologies, and charitable or humanitarian organisations.


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