Politicisation, law and rights in the transnational counter-terrorism space: Indications from the regulation of foreign terrorist fighters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Colleges, School and Institutes


Since 2001 a transnational counter-terrorism space has emerged that is vast in its scale and ambition and which can be discerned at both ‘universal’ (i.e. United Nations) and regional (e.g. European Union) levels, as well as in other formal and informal international organisations (for example the G7 and the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum). This article explores the question of politicisation within that transnational counter-terrorism space, and the potential for meaningful politicisation in respect of initiatives and measures emanating from transnational processes. Taking the example of ‘foreign terrorist fighters’ it argues that a shift in arena to the transnational counter-terrorism space has fundamentally challenged the capacity for effective and meaningful politicisation; that the transnational counter-terrorism space can be depoliticised by design, that where this happens the domestic counter-terrorism space is depoliticised by implication, and that the legal benefits of politicisation may thus be lost to the detriment of rights, legality and accountability.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-138
JournalEuropean Review of International Studies
Issue number3
Early online date17 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2019


  • terrorism, foreign terrorist fighters, counter-terrorism, transnationalism, transnational counter-terrorism, human rights, EU counter terrorism, UN security council