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Explaining the Emergence of Transnational Counter-Terrorism Legislation in International Law-Making

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Altwicker Tilmann,
Project Transnational Public Security Law
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Finnish Yearbook of International Law
Volume (Issue) 24
Page(s) 3 - 50
Title of proceedings Finnish Yearbook of International Law

Open Access

Type of Open Access Green OA Embargo (Freely available via Repository after an embargo)


As the recent adoption of UN Security Council resolution 2178 on Foreign Terrorist Fighters shows once again, international law-making in the field of counter-terrorism has embraced a new mode. The article suggests that an approach drawing on new institutional economics is a commendable way to analyze the features of the new mode of international counter-terrorism law-making. Based on the reasons why states cooperate through law-making on matters of counter-terrorism, a taxonomy of international law-making techniques in this field is developed (‘harmonization’, ‘imposition’, and ‘diffusion’ of legal norms). The article argues that the new mode of counter-terrorism law-making can best be explained as emerging transnational legislation. ‘Transnational legislation’ refers to abstract-general norms on the conduct of non-state actors with cross-border application or intended cross-border effect. The key features of these norms are, i.a., their regulatory nature, their regulatory depth as well as their potential to be ‘self-executing’. The emergence of this new body of law poses two key problems: how to facilitate further integration of the international and the domestic legal orders, and how to safeguard the integrity of the new transnational norms.