Victims of Terrorism Policies: Should Victims of Terrorism Be Treated Differently?
Producing large-scale victimization is one of the prime goals of terrorists worldwide. A regular characteristic not only of the unparalleled attacks of 9/11 but with its more than 3,000 direct fatalities is to provoke maximum public attention by producing as many casualties as possible. Victims fall prone to such events due to a terrorist preference for soft and symbolic targets. Not surprisingly, victims of terrorism receive particular attention when counterterrorism policies are formulated. In practice, however, compensation and support for those directly or indirectly affected by terrorist acts is often rather poor. This chapter aims to analyze (1) the situation of victims of terrorism in a theoretical victimological framework and (2) legislation in favour of victims of terrorism from a comparative perspective. Significant differences can be found not only within Europe where victim policies are basically guided by European Union and Council of Europe but likewise in comparison with the policies in the US and Israel, which have both implemented particular legislation for victims of terrorism decades ago. The chapter argues for the adoption of a principled approach to compensation, based on social solidarity instead of tort law rules. Further attention is drawn to a particularly unprivileged group: those individuals who become victims of terrorist threats abroad and who, as a consequence of the territorial limitations applicable to compensation rules, have no access to victim compensation schemes in their home countries.