New Institute for Counter-terrorism in The Hague 07 Apr 2010
A new institute to study the legal and preventative aspects of counter-terrorism is to be established in The Hague.

Recent incidents have reminded us once again of the permanent threat of international terrorism. Just last week, we were confronted with the horrendous suicide bombings in Moscow where many innocent civilians lost their lives. The subject of terrorism demands our continuous attention and alertness.

Three Hague-based organisations will now join forces to shape a new, independent institute that will contribute to study and policy-making in the field of counter-terrorism. The initiative is financed by the Dutch Ministry for Foreign Affairs and will be officially opened in May 2010. The institute stems from a request from Parliament as set out in the motion ‘Çörüz’, dating from 2008.

The institute will focus primarily on the preventative and international legal aspects of counter-terrorism. Over the last few years, these issues have commanded attention at  both the national and international level within the EU as well as the UN.


At the international level, there is insufficient insight into the process of radicalisation and into the success and failure of preventative and de-radicalisation policy. Policy-makers have insufficient access to the available knowledge and expertise that exists.
The domains of research and policy are rarely brought together, particularly outside of Europe and North America. In this respect, the Netherlands has played a pioneering role at both the EU and UN level. It is from this leadership position that the institute can contribute to this field.

Public International Law and Humanitarian Law

International law must provide a framework for the continuously changing reality of the terrorist threat. The manner of operation of international terrorists in extraordinarily complex and constantly changing. Allowing these deeds to go unpunished is not an option. Respect for international humanitarian law and public law are central to counter-terrorism activities, but the results of counter-terrorism policy must also be inventorised. A start has been made in the Netherlands in studying these questions in the framework of the so-called 'Oud Poelgeest' process. That process, the results and recommendations of which have been made public on 1 April 2010, will be continued and followed up in this new institute.

The new institute will develop expertise that will be shared with (inter)national stakeholders such as academics, policy-makers and other professionals. To this end the institute will provide for  an international knowledge hub where expertise on, for example, legal instruments and academic findings can be more deeply explored, studied and disseminated. The institute will function as a meeting place where existing and new networks can be brought together.

Putting policy into action

The institute will do that which it says it will by pooling the existing specific knowledge present within the three consortium partners. In addition, cooperation will be sought with other existing knowledge institutions at home and abroad, for example, in Singapore, Egypt, and the United States. The institute’s mission is not to reinvent the proverbial wheel but to perform research, identify sources of information and to make this information widely available as a source of inspiration for others.


The institute will be formed by a consortium composed of the  T.M.C. Asser Instituut, the Centre for Terrorism and Counterterrorism of the  University of Leiden/Campus Den Haag and the Dutch Institute for International Relations ‘Clingendael’.

For further information please contact Ms van Egmond; Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael  Tel 070-3746654.

Source: The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Translated from Dutch.

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