Ulrich SIEBER, PhD
Full Professor of Criminal Law
Director of the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, Freiburg im Breisgau
Cases of international terrorism, organized crime, economic crime, and other forms of complex crime illustrate the significant impact of crime and the importance of crime control to society as a whole.
Not only do these cases dominate public discussions, the media, and political discourse.
They are also causing a fundamental paradigm shift in criminal policy in general and in the architecture of security law in particular – a development that goes largely unnoticed by the general public.
This paradigm shift is based, on the one hand, on objective changes such as the emergence of new threats and new types of complex crime, for example, terrorism, organized crime, and cybercrime.
On the other hand, it is due also to changes in people’s subjective levels of well-being: objective changes lead to greater fear of crime. In many countries, these feelings of insecurity and the resulting demands for stricter laws are embraced by populist politicians seeking (re-)election.
Their policy of “governing through fear of crime” is reflected in the rise of extremist parties calling for protection against migrants and strangers and for increased security against crime.
The combination of these objective, subjective, and political factors has greatly influenced criminal policy in recent years: in many areas, crime control is no longer dominated by the traditional questions of culpability and punishment but rather by the issues of risk and dangerousness and by the future-oriented themes of prevention and security.
This dogma of security as described has led to fundamental changes in existing approaches to social control and to the emergence of a new aim: providing security by means of early prevention.
This development can be seen both within and outside of criminal law, dissolving the limits between the legal regimes into a kind of overall “security law”.
This law is governed by a new architecture, which is no longer monopolized by criminal law but by a variety of different legal regimes such as intelligence law, police law, the laws of war, or civil law.
The new architecture of security law goes hand in hand with a loss of legal guarantees within and, in particular, outside of criminal law.
The aim of this lecture is to describe and to understand these fundamental changes within the global risk society better.
For this purpose, it will briefly analyse the contours and regimes of the emerging security law (part II),
It will then deal especially with the accompanying process of decreasing legal guarantees (part III).
Lastly, the summary (part IV) will recapitulate and explain this overall legal development in the global risk society in more detail and stress the need for future research on this topic.