Impact of Terrorism On Social, Economic And Legal
Structure of The Countries
Obstacle to Global Peace
By : Dr. Arvind shukla
Sr. lecturer, Invertis Institute
Of management Studies, Bareilly.
The term "terrorism" since the 1970s was directed to various
phenomenon, starting from fearsome threats Until today the world under UN has
failed to come to an agreement about what is an acceptable definition for
terrorism. It is still under debate despite attempts made by many experts. The
effort to approach terrorism from a definitional perspective has thus become a
never-ending effort, let alone conform the definition itself.
So many definitions of terrorism have been attempted, but I am not going to
discuss the diversities of terrorism definition. What I intend to discuss here
is that for the purpose of enforcing the law against the act of terror,
Indonesia has enacted a law on terror in its Act number 15 and 16, 2003 which
goes as follows:
"Every person deliberately uses violence or threatens to use violence causing
terror or wide fear against person or causing massive victims, by taking others'
freedom or the loss of life, property of others, or causing damage and
destruction against vital and/ or strategic installations or environment or
public facility or international facility, shall be penalized with a death
penalty or life imprisonment or at least four years imprisonment and maximum 20
years imprisonment. "
It is vital tool for our law enforcement as a vanguard of terror act attempted
by any individual or group within our jurisdiction. So from law enforcement
perspective the law is vital to stop a would-be criminal (s) from attempting to
commit crime of terrorism which used to be absent in Indonesia for several
From a perspective of motives of terrorist acts are recognized as follows:
publicizing a statement through acts of ruthlessness. In that way they can make
fast and massive publication; act of vengeance towards groups considered
disadvantageous to them; serving as a catalyst for militarization or mass
mobilization; spreading hatred and inter-communal conflict; announcing a certain
group as the enemy and should be held responsible; victims are not the goal but
a means to create "neural war"; create mass panic, damage public trust towards
the government including security and law enforcement authorities.
Whereas the justifications of terrorism taken on by terrorists including:
justifying all means for the accomplishment of transcendental goals; extreme
violence considered to be therapeutic, full of blessings and regenerative; the
executor places himself/herself as part of history, where the act is a
consequential element of history under the perspective of moral balance (a
deserved treatment); the act of terrorism perceived as a minor crime; many among
them even take this act insignificant in comparison to the enemy's posing threat
that suppresses them structurally; Let us now look at how terrorism has
developed and its trend these days.
Trends of Terrorism:-
Terrorism is a global crime. It has become the predominant geopolitical
theme. The affairs of the world are influenced in important areas by the
terrorist agenda. The thinking of policy makers and law enforcers is shaped
increasingly by the need to respond appropriately to the threat of terrorism.
Terrorism represents a challenge not just to the bases of civilized society, but
also to the very foundations of the world order. Terrorism activities threaten
fundamental nations' law and order, human rights and it is the enemy of mankind.
Terrorism, in one form or another, has been around for a long time, and there is
no realistic prospect of its becoming extinct in the foreseeable future. All of
those concerned with the effective combat of terrorism must be prepared for the
long haul. There is no simple solution to terrorism.
Terrorism is fuelled by various factors. These include the openness of free
societies, the easy access to technologies by means of violence and a radical
and global ideology of hatred. Conflicts in some countries particularly in the
Middle East have inevitably formed a global issue and solidarity among
terrorists. This global issue has become a unifying factor to share the
sufferings and establish a sense of togetherness based on religious brotherhood
among the believers to resist against the oppressor.
Terrorism will remain a menace as long as there are people who are driven by
fanaticism, paranoia and extremism. So long as there exists in the world
poverty, strife, injustice and oppression, conditions will exist which
terrorists can turn to their advantage. No doubt that the campaign against
terrorism is one that must be mounted at various levels, including political,
economic, and humanitarian. The iron fist approach alone will not succeed.
Terrorist will often have the advantage over the law enforcer in the sense that
he/ she is able to decide when and where he/she will strike, and how hard he/
she will strike. Law enforcement, on the other hand, has to maintain constant
vigilance. That is not easy at a time when commercial airlines can be used as
flying bombs, and when terrorist strategy is planned by internet, mobile phone,
satellite and coded messages on websites.
The threats we face from terrorism are constantly changing in all sorts of ways.
Just when progress is being made against a terrorist group, splintering often
occurs, and hardliners break away and form splinter groups committed to the
campaign of violence. It is feared that weapons of mass destruction previously
controlled by governments can now be purchased on the black market. It is said
that not only the weapons but also the scientists with the knowledge of how to
make them are available if the price is right. And finance may be the key.
Terrorists, like more conventional criminals, need access to adequate funds in
order to finance their activities. Weapons, communication systems and transport
all come at a price, as does training.
Terrorism seeks power through violence, and money is a means to achieve that.
Terrorism needs access to international payment systems in order to finance and
sustain its campaigns. Terrorists, like organized criminals, make active use of
credit card fraud and check fraud. This is why vigorous identification checks
regime must be exercised on potential customers by credit card companies. The
loopholes are in the area of money laundering legislation that must be closed.
Terrorism as it was defined a systematic use of violence or the threat of
violence to achieve political, social or economic goals. Terrorism uses extreme
physical violence to shock the targeted audience. The psychological impact
generated in the mind of people as a natural corollary of that matters more to
the terrorists than the physical attack on the victims (Cline, Ray S, 1998).
Terrorism is as old as the civilization of mankind itself and has existed in all
ages in some form or other which might be known anarchists, revolutionaries,
fundamentalist or dissidents against the established authority or even ruling
tyrants having no tolerance or dissent. However, terrorism was not as widespread
phenomenon as it is today in contemporary political system of the world.
Terrorism has, in fact, become a global phenomenon with increasing and rather
well identifiable links between different terrorist group and organization. They
use each other's areas for recruitment and training, exchange of illegal
weapons, engage in joint planning and ventures and also provide administrative
and other logistic support. This type of terrorist activities show a new
dimension due to circumstances characterized by the advancement of science,
technology and diverse social, economic, political and historical reasons
The development of computer science, satellite and mobile links have also
affected the modernization of terrorist activities. This further facilitated by
support of states/ governments unfavorable to each other. An element of
international terrorism comes into the picture when specific persons of the
nation are designed as targets by the members of another group outside that
nation. It is, therefore, described as warfare without territory. It is warfare
without neutrals and with few or no by standards. Another form of global
terrorism is sponsored terrorism, which is operated from safe areas in another
country, which are out of reach of the counter insurgency forces of the targeted
There cannot be any single cause of terrorism. Causes of terrorism may range
from socio-economic and political conditions to theories based on the
personality and environment of the terrorist. Terrorism is motivated by a
variety of inner drives ranging from financial gains to revenge, from
fundamentalism to deprivation, political frustration, regional disparities,
marginalization of sub-national groups, extremism, despair, injustice,
discrimination, resentment against the existing regime, feeling of
insignificance, intervention into personal freedom, weak government, separatism
and oppression, inequality etc.
Terrorism produces harmful effects in several ways. The consequences of
terrorism can be disastrous for all countries, both rich and poor, and their
people. The normal social life gets totally disturbed and a large number of
innocent lives go in vein. Fear and terror haunt everybody and the productivity
of people is miserably stalled. Everything may come to a halt and the dream of
leading a life of happiness and peace is shattered. Economic and social
development of the society cease to uncertainly. Almost all become paralyzed
amid terrorist incidents.
Terrorism breaks down the social, economic political and legal structures of the
affected countries and the entire process of development stops. Socio-cultural
mosaic goes to rack and ruin, and the economy of the country suddenly becomes a
shamble. The rule of law and human rights crumble and people suffer terribly.
For developing countries, terrorism is fatal to their development planning
because they can hardly withstand the violent assaults of terrorism; their
longing for a better and brighter future goes up in smoke. Moreover, terrorism
not only weakens the established political authority but also brings about
political instability. In that situation the maintenance of the rule of law and
human rights become almost impossible.
Terrorism idealizes violence, does away with morality, distorts politics,
promotes totalitarianism, subverts progress, destroys the apparatus of freedom
in democratic societies. In fact, it destroys the will of a civilized society to
defend itself. It appears that everything the mankind strives for collapses like
a house of cards. As a matter of fact, terrorism is war against civilization.
Today, terrorism poses a great threat not just to human life, human rights,
dignity and democratic values but to very existence of a civilized life. If the
present trend continues, human civilization itself will be a casualty. That is
why Jerusalem Conference on International Terrorism held in 1979 declared that
‘terrorism is a serious and growing threat to the people of all states which
live under the rule of law, that it is no longer a national problem, but a
global one; that it cannot be constrained, and eliminated, except by concerted
international action; and that the case for such action is overwhelming and
urgent’. (Jonathan Institute, 1979)
Prevention and Control Strategies:-
In this age of increasing globalization and interdependence, the national and
international dimension of terrorism in fact, constitutes two facets of the same
social phenomenon which infringes upon the interest of all states, not only as
an assault against their public order and institutions that protect the liberty
and security of their citizens but, also at the same time as a serious danger to
peaceful international relations and cooperation, which is clearly understood as
encompassing human rights and values as well as the principles of equal rights
and self determination of people. It is, therefore, that the transnational
character of contemporary terrorist events has prompted international efforts to
suppress them at the global regional and bilateral levels.
Suggestions for stemming the growth of transnational crime:-
The answer seems to be intensifying law enforcement, more vigilance along
borders, depriving the criminals of their profits, assisting poor countries with
their efforts at strict law enforcement by way of providing training to their
law enforcement officers, providing necessary technology, harmonizing laws,
sharing information, concluding international agreements to facilitate
co-operation and co-ordination in law enforcement and more importantly,
political will and commitment.
Profits generated by organized crime far exceed those that legitimate business
enterprises could make. The incentive for organized crime, whether local or
transnational, is profit. If organized crime syndicates can be deprived of their
profits, they will cease their activities – altogether. It will therefore be
worthwhile to examine and explore the ways and means of depriving them of their
profits. The most effective way to do this is confiscation of the proceeds of
such illegal activity by judicial means or with sufficient safeguards, by
A sine qua non in this direction is effective mutual legal assistance in the
investigation and prosecution.
It has been found that certainty of detection and effective and expeditious
disposal of cases is a deterrent to would be criminals. At present extradition
procedures take a long time. Simplified extradition procedures will go a long
way in expeditious disposal of cases.
The international community responded to the phenomenal growth of transnational
organized crime by signing in the year 2000, the UN Convention against
Transnational Organized Crime. By the end of 72 hours 124 countries have signed
the Convention. This is an indication of the enormity of the problem
transnational crime poses to the world.
Success of the struggle against transnational organized crime lies in the
answers to the six points set out above.
The most significant step in the direction of the prevention of transnational
organized crime is the adoption of the UN Convention against Transnational
Organized Crime. It has obligated states to act despite constraints of bank
secrecy and also to extend co-operation in confiscating and seizing of assets
obtained through corruption and transferred to different jurisdictions.
The following four protocols add muscle to the convention, namely,
i. Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, specially
Women and Children.
ii. Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants
iii. Protocol against trafficking in Firearms and
iv. Protocol against Corruption
Combating terrorism at regional level is becoming effective and popular. The
external support is often found in every operation of terrorist acts in any part
of the world whether in the context of inter-connection between a group and its
rival group, a group and its enemy state, or a state and its unfriendly state.
It is here that regional cooperation can be an effective instrument for the
suppression to terrorism. In Europe, besides their individual national legal and
institutional measures, a historic convention known as the “European Convention
on the Suppression of Terrorism, 1977” was signed and ratified. “South Asia
Countries also recognized the importance of combating terrorism at regional
level and consequently, signed a Convention titled the “Convention on
Suppression of Terrorism, 1987” and ratified it.
Similarly, in view of the complexity and problems of terrorism some bilateral
and multilateral agreements between groups of countries have also been
concluded. And many countries have extradition treaties between them.
At the international level, response and cooperation against international
terrorism has been invoked many a time, and a variety of measures and
counter-measures have been designed for checking the menace of terrorism.
Concerned by the increase of terrorist acts, the United Nations General Assembly
in 1972 established a 35-member ad hoc Committee on International Terrorism, and
in 1977 asked it to study the underlying causes of terrorism and recommend ways
to combat terrorism. In 1979, the Assembly stressed the importance of
International cooperation for dealing with the acts of international terrorism.
Adopting the report of the Committee, it condemned all acts of international
terrorism that endangered or took human lives or jeopardized fundamental
In 1994, the General Assembly adopted a Declaration on Measures to Eliminate
international Terrorism, which condemned all acts and practices of terrorism as
criminal and unjustifiable, wherever and whomever they were committed. States
were urged to take measures at the national and international levels to
eliminate international terrorism.
Important international Conventions on terrorism are the Convention on Offences
and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft (Tokyo, 1963), the Convention
for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft (The Hague, 1970); the
Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Act against the Safety of Civil
Aviation (Montreal, 1971); the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of
Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including diplomatic Agents
(New York, 1973); the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material
(Vienna, 1980); the Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts of Violence at
Airports Serving International Civil Aviation (Montreal, 1988); the Convention
for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms
located on the Continental Shelf (Rome, 1988) and the Convention on the Marking
of Plastic Explosives for the Purpose of Detection (Montreal, 1991).
The UN General Assembly also adopted the Convention against the Taking of
Hostages in 1979 and the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and
Associated Personnel in 1994, and International Convention for the Suppression
of Terrorist Bombings in 1997.’
Despite all these Conventions adopted and ratified, declarations made, and
resolutions passed against international terrorism within the UN system outside,
terrorism has become a ubiquitous phenomenon in the contemporary international
affairs, and continues to grow. Every state is supposed to refrain from
organizing, instigating assisting or participating in acts of civil strife on
terrorist acts in another state or involved in organized activities within its
territory directed towards the commission of such acts as well as prosecuting
and punishing the perpetrators of terrorist acts. A concerted action has to be
initiated and sustained by all States whether they are affected or not in
collaboration and co-operation with each other with strong determination and
will to root out terrorism altogether from the world.
Of course, mutual agreement at the international, and regional levels have
consolidated and strengthened co-operation between the countries in the fight
against terrorism. Hard line policies against terrorism adopted by some
countries have achieved success in this regard. But, it seems that combating of
terrorist activities in a significant proportion will be possible only if
terrorism is condemned and fought universally, unequivocally and effectively, by
all the countries in the world.
Terrorism has no respect for national boundaries, and the problem-taking place
in any part of the world today will sure enough to become the problem of all
tomorrow. Terrorism is a monster like Frankenstein’s creation that is too
horrible and dangerous. It is even a threat to those countries that create or
promote it. Therefore, terrorism is a phenomenon which must be condemned,
fought, resisted, controlled and, eventually, eliminated at all levels-national,
regional and international. Conditions necessary for wiping out terrorism must,
accordingly, be cultivated and strengthened nationally, regionally and
internationally, and unilaterally, bilaterally or multilaterally.
Terrorist acts confronted by a state cannot be eliminated by the affected States
alone because of the international linkage of the terrorist groups. It is,
therefore, clear that all the nations must form a common front to fight
terrorism. If the much needed spirit of international cooperation in the
required degree is not properly established, the world would become a dangerous
place to live. It is for this reason that one nation’s peace and security will
be determined by the success of all nations’ response to any kind of terrorism
particularly for international terrorism.