As an independent knowledge centre on counter-terrorism, the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism provides multidisciplinary policy advice and practical, solution-oriented implementation support on three vital pillars of effective counter-terrorism: the rule of law, prevention, and threat assessment. Our research and project work is divided along these three thematic areas, each spearheaded by a Programme Lead.

In the last two decades, governments have increasingly adopted legislation that criminalizes the preparation, facilitation and incitement of terrorism — as well as a range of administrative measures such as watchlists and the deprivation of nationality. Some of these efforts pose serious challenges to human rights and the rule of law.

By ensuring counter-terrorism laws and measures are grounded in the rule of law and respect human rights, policymakers and practitioners can maximise effectiveness, reduce the likelihood of counterproductive consequences, and improve prosecution outcomes while upholding the rights of victims, witnesses and the accused.

Security-dominated responses to violent extremism have proven insufficient to counter and prevent its spread. Evidence and experience have shown that strategic, comprehensive, and holistic approaches can wield a far greater – and more lasting – impact on the prevention and countering of violent extremism.

At the heart of P/CVE is the need to address the myriad of factors that can fuel violent extremism, including discrimination and marginalisation, poor governance and lack of accountability of the state. For this reason, successful P/CVE approaches must be underpinned by – and in many cases actively work to strengthen – human rights and the rule of law in communities affected by terrorism and violent extremism.

In order to prevent or counter terrorism, we need to understand existing threats and anticipate new ones, focusing on groups and movements with all kinds of ideologies and worldviews. Both policymakers shaping CT strategies and front-line practitioners must be informed by evidence-based threat assessments and knowledge of the efficacy of current/past approaches.

Knowledge regarding the ideological and financial aspects of terrorist and extremist actors enables us to assess the (expected) effectiveness of counterterrorism measures. Given the importance of the social context for terrorist and counterterrorist campaigns, such analyses should also take into account unintended and spill-over effects on the population.

Research Priorities

Programme Leads