Terrorism

Concept

At present here is no universally accepted definition of terrorism. Nonetheless, the definition of terrorism is included in the legislation of every state, also some regional organisations (e.g. the League of Arab States) have managed to agree upon a single definition. Regardless the fact no agreement has been reached so far to establish the common notion, and primarily for the reason that it has not been possible to unambiguously distinguish terrorism from its adjacent phenomena, first of all from separatism, fight for freedom and revolution. The outcome, as evidenced by professional literature, is the rather cynical truth that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.[1]

In the judicial area of Estonia the definition of terrorism is provided in § 237 of the Penal Code:

Acts of Terrorism

(1) Commission of a criminal offence against international security, against the person or against the environment, or aimed against a foreign state or international organisation, or the manufacture, distribution or use of prohibited weapons, the illegal seizure, damaging or destruction of property to a significant extent or interference with computer data or hindrance of operation of computer systems as well as threatening with such acts, if committed with the purpose to force the state or an international organisation to perform an act or omission, or to seriously interfere with or destroy the political, constitutional, economic or social structure of the state, or to seriously interfere with or destroy the operation of an international organisation, or to seriously terrorise the population is punishable by five to twenty years' imprisonment, or life imprisonment.

In addition to an act of terrorism, pursuant to the Penal Code membership in a terrorist organisation (§ 2371), preparation of and incitement to the commission of an act of terrorism (§ 2372) and financing and support of an act of terrorism (§ 2373) are punishable.

Other relevant information

  • Pursuant to the Prüm Treaty the Estonian Internal Security Service is a contact point of counter-terrorism combat;
  • The Estonian Internal Security Service is a special agency who pursuant to national law has the right to receive and who collects all pertinent information on a pre-trial investigation conducted by law enforcement authorities of a EU member state in relation to acts of terrorism, and who cooperates with the Europol in these matters.

[1] Definitions of terrorism http://www.unodc.org/unodc/terrorism_definitions.html 13.09.2004