In combating terrorism, States must recognise certain limits: they are required to respect human rights and international law in general. The legal bases they are required to comply with in this context derive from customary international law, international treaty law and international conventions on the protection of human rights and the rights of refugees as well as humanitarian law. The fundamental rules governing the use of force are set out in the Charter of the United Nations.
The kinds of legal instruments in force
International efforts to fight terrorism today are based on numerous international agreements and treaties, including:
- conventional agreements on cross-border crime
- bilateral legal assistance and extradition treaties and treaties on police cooperation between Switzerland and other states
- specific United Nations conventions and resolutions on terrorism
At the UN, decisions on fighting terrorism are taken primarily by the General Assembly and the Security Council. In addition, more than 20 UN organisations deal with the prevention and combating of terrorism. In September 2006, the General Assembly, building on a report of the UN Secretary-General, adopted a Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.