The Law and Combating Radicalization: Solutions and Limits

Preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) is quickly becoming a central component of numerous national counter-terrorism strategies. Despite this, P/CVE is an understudied topic that is often wrought with controversy.  In an effort to help move the discussion forward, the Program on Extremism and GW Law hosted a one-day conference, with panels focusing on two crucial elements of this emerging challenge.

As extremist groups become increasingly adept at using social media and digital communications platforms, governments and technology companies have struggled to devise effective responses.  While several recent initiatives have experienced positive results, there is much more work to be done.   With this in mind, the first panel - "Legislating Extremist Content Online" - addressed recent legislative and other government initiatives in Europe and elsewhere that seek to sanction technology companies who do not remove extremist content from their platforms in a timely fashion.

A second major challenge states face in implementing P/CVE is that, in many cases, potential terrorists do not break the law until carrying out an act of terrorism. The second panel - "The Challenges of Terrorism Prevention Measures" - analyzed which measures states are pursuing in order to stop those who are on the path to violent radicalization from committing a crime. The panel discussed several current efforts in this space, including the UK government's Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIM) and Canada's peace bond approach.

 

Panel 1: Legislating Extremist Content Online

  • Dawn Nunziato, William Wallace Kirkpatrick Research Professor, GW Law
  • Seamus Hughes, Deputy Director, Program on Extremism
  • Jason Pielemeier, Policy Director, Global Network Initiative

 

Panel 2: The Challenges of Terrorism Prevention Measures

  • Arturo Carrillo, Professor of Clinical Law, GW Law
  • Robin Simcox, Margaret Thatcher Fellow, Heritage Foundation
  • Kent Roach, Professor and Prichard Wilson Chair in Law and Public Policy, University of Toronto