At the Limits of the Rule of Law? Legislative Processing of Insecurity in German Counter-Terrorism since 2001
Dealing with the threat of terrorism has shaped national security agendas since 9/11. German politics, too, reacted to what was perceived as a “new dimension” of threat. The German approach, however, relies on legal measures and the rule of law, defining terrorism as a form of crime which has to be dealt with in legal terms (in contrast to the US “war on terror”-approach). Consequently, numerous laws concerning counterterrorsim have been passed on the federal and state level since 2001. They cover a variety of legal areas, reflect a broad concept of security and have repeatedly transformed the framework of national security. Some mechanisms of the rule of law have been challenged or overwhelmed by these transformations: Risk-management and preventive measures intended to enable security agencies to act as far ahead of the situation as possible also invade areas protected by the Grundrecht (fundamental rights) and dilute basic principles such as the presumption of innocence.
In her dissertation project, Isabelle Stephanblome examines the legislative reactions to terrorism in Germany within the field of tension between politics, law and insecurity. To this end, different strategies for controlling insecurity are typologised and arguments for their legitimacy are analysed. The empirical basis for this is the legislation of the federal government and selected Bundesländer (states). The legal texts as well as the documents of their drafting processes will be examined with an interpretative approach in a qualitative case study. The project is located in political science legal research and aims to contribute to opening up law for security studies as a state instrument for processing uncertainty.