Over the twenty years since the start of the Global War on Terror, the approach to counter-terrorism has remained overwhelmingly focused on security-dominated responses, despite such approaches repeatedly proving insufficient to prevent and counter the spread of violent extremism across the globe. Despite evidence and experience demonstrating that strategic, comprehensive, and holistic approaches can wield a far greater – and more lasting – impact on the prevention and countering of violent extremism, P/CVE remains under-utilised.

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.

Additionally, P/CVE approaches are inherently multidisciplinary. They should complement the efforts of law enforcement and intelligence agencies, but also empower a vast network of actors at the local, national, regional, and global level. This means that policymakers and practitioners should be prepared to engage with youth, women, religious leaders, civil society organisations (CSOs), healthcare providers, teachers, correctional officers, and many others.

Across the board, P/CVE approaches should always be grounded in a robust monitoring and evaluation framework, finding a way to build upon lessons learned and best practices while remaining tailored to the local context.

Our Work

REPORT: When the Music Stops: The Impact of Terrorism on Malian Youth

On the basis of 116 attacks occurring from 2004 up to and including 2019, the report analyses the phenomenon of the democratization of terrorism from three separate, but interlinked angles: operational involvement, weapon choice, and target selection. From the lens of operational involvement, the authors note three different types as being (1) directed attacks, (2) remotely controlled/involved attacks, and (3) inspired attacks. The modern day modus operandi of Jihadist fighters in the West has adapted, now typically characterized by the use of knives, axes, or even cars as a weapon.

PROJECT: Countering Violent Extremism in Mali (MERIT)

Since 2016, ICCT has been developing and implementing activities in Mali to prevent and counter violent extremism in prisons and local communities. We have focused on improving the management of Violent Extremist Offenders (VEOs) in prison and on increasing the resilience of Malian youth and their communities against violent extremism. Young people play a key role, as they represent a majority of the Malian population (almost 70% are 24 years or younger) and therefore the future of the country. Their engagement in promoting alternatives to violence is therefore crucial for any counter-terrorism initiative to succeed.

PUBLICATION: Re-Offending by Released Terrorist Prisoners: Separating Hype from Reality

The aim of this essay is to trace the evolution of extreme right-wing violence by paying close attention to its changing patterns from the late nineteenth century to the present. Its basic subject is the specific form of violent actions that have historically emerged from the Right. As such, it takes the form of a study of deeds rather than propaganda. This paper will go on to discuss the perpetrators and methods of right-wing violence from its statist emergence in the late nineteenth century to its pivot in the early twentieth century to taking the ‘low route’ to power, as Italian fascists and Nazi stormtroopers developed strategies focused upon the ‘conquest of the streets’. This essay will conclude by asking: having examined the historical violence of its antecedents, just how tactically innovative is today’s right-wing violence?

Core Staff

Julie Coleman
rogramme Lead, P/CVE

Julie’s work focuses on the prevention of radicalization and violent extremism, particularly on the management of radicalization in prisons, and on the rehabilitation and reintegration of Violent Extremist Offenders (VEOs) and returning Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs) and their families.

Méryl Demuynck
Junior Research Fellow, P/CVE

Méryl’s work focuses on the prevention of radicalization and violent extremism in Mali, both inside and outside the prison context. She is also involved in a research project exploring the trafficking of small arms and light weapons as a source of financing for terrorist organisations.

Lilly Riedel
Intern, P/CVE

Lilly’s main research interests include different topics at the interface between psychology and international relations, such as radicalisation and de-radicalisation processes, the prevention of radicalisation at the individual and community level, and extremist groups’ strategies to attract new members.

Our Partners

Council of Europe