Access to Justice 4 Known or Potential Extremists?

Local Professionals on Legal Remedies Against Person-Specific Interventions

in Security and Human Rights
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This article discusses, from the local professional perspective, access to justice for person-specific interventions to prevent or counter (violent) extremism in Europe. Using a Dutch case study it focusses on legal protection for hand-tailored interferences that are part of a wider-ranging counter-terrorism policy. While the so-called person-specific interventions, carried out by professionals, target designated high-risk individuals and groups, it is primarily the municipal authority that coordinates these criminal –, administrative – or social based measures. Furthermore, although researchers and human rights advocates have repeatedly sounded the alarm over access to justice for those affected, little research has been done into how those responsible for implementation perceive the necessity of legal protection. Also, the potential side-effects such as executive arbitrariness are modestly reflected in the literature. Henceforth, by reviewing policy documents and conducting semi-structured interviews, this exploratory study concludes that as far as legal protection for hand-tailored interferences are concerned, local professionals have faith in the checks and balances of the criminal justice system. Yet from their perspective this was less self-evident in cases of administrative – or social measures. Therefore, one may wonder if legal protections for person-specific interventions that deal with (potential) extremists are sufficient in practice.