Criminal lawyers and criminologists often refer to contemporary society as the risk society, dominated by an awareness and fear of risks that threaten security: for instance, terrorist attacks. Governments respond to this fear by taking measures that prevent such risks as much as possible. This has led to the development of a concomitant change to preventive criminal justice, illustrated most prominently with regard to recent anti-terrorism legislation. There is much debate in criminal law circles, engaging both scholars and politicians, on the need for preventive criminal law. Different points of view are expressed. Often, the framework against which preventive criminal law is assessed is human rights law: in European circles, the European Convention for the Protect of Human Rights. In this paper, we opt for a different approach: preventive criminal justice is evaluated on the basis of the precautionary principle.

criminal law, human rights, precaution, precautionary principle, terrorism
Criminal Law (jel K14)
Erasmus Law Review
Erasmus Law Review
Erasmus School of Law

Borgers, M, & van Sliedregt, E. (2009). The Meaning of the Precautionary Principle for the Assessment of Criminal Measures in the Fight against Terrorism. Erasmus Law Review, 2(2), 171–195. Retrieved from