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Terrorism and Ethics


            Terrorism is extremely condemned as a violent and brutal activity by people. However, the war against terrorism seems to be a lost war because the vice is not viewed on a broader perspective, that is; terrorism is only viewed to be killing of civilians and as such, aspects such as ethics and morals are rarely considered. The fact that terrorism is morally wrong calls for morality in controlling the crime.

Ethical Considerations in the Criminal Justice

            Pollock, (2012) defines ethics to be the moral principles which are accepted in the society. The field of criminal justice is a broad one dealing with the human rights and wrong-doing. Therefore, there are detailed ethical considerations that criminal justice officials should observe.

            One ethical concern is police discretion. The law enforcement officers are bestowed with the power to make decisions which according to them, are deemed right. In fighting crime, the officers are required to be wise so as not to violate human rights while handling crime. Gross misconduct among the law enforcement officers and other criminal justice officials is also an ethical concern that should be addressed. For example, a law enforcement officer could plan evidence in a suspect. Planting hinders the application of justice as the innocent individuals would end up serving jail terms at the expense of real culprits.

            Since the criminal justice system involves service to the public, the officers are likely to be encountered with in the course of duty. Law enforcement officers could be bribed not to arrest while court officials could also be bribed to hide case files.

Ethical Considerations for Prosecution of a Terrorism Case

            Corruption is the major ethical concern in terrorism. According to the CIA report of 2012, terror links such as the Al-Qaida control investments in most Arab countries and even the West like the United States. Therefore, the terrorists have access to large sums of money that could be used to bribe law enforcement officers. Bribing hinders the access to justice by the civilian population when the terrorist buy their way out of the criminal system (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks, 2012).

            There have been instances when the Agents in the Criminal Intelligence Agency (CIA) leak intelligence information to terror groups. The result is interference in investigations and thus, subsequent interference on prosecution. Prosecution could fail because access to intelligence allows the terrorists to cover up any possible leads. Leaking intelligence information is misconduct. Gross misconduct not only occurs amongst the law enforcement officers but also among the prosecutors. For one reason or the other, prosecution officials could hide prosecution files, inhibiting successful prosecution (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks, 2012).

Prosecution Problems and Consequences in Case of an Unethical Investigation

            Ethical measures are highly significant in the criminal justice system and if not observed, could result to detrimental consequences. For example, in the event where the investigator planted evidence in a suspect, there would be a likely contradiction of facts during the presentation of the case.

            According to Pollock (2011), planting evidence involves bribing witness. Having fake witnesses amounts to falsifying of evidence and the result is contradiction of case facts on the part of the prosecution. Therefore, the major problem facing prosecution as a result of unethical investigation is possible contradiction of facts, therefore, case collapse.

            However, the State might opt to proceed with the case even with the knowledge of unethical practices. This decision by the State is a contradiction of the constitutional and a violation of human rights. Citizens are entitled to protection from unlawful conviction. Citizens also have the right to assembly and movement. However, with unethical investigation, all these constitutional provisions could be violated.

            In relation to terrorism, different investigative approaches are used. Proactive investigation includes creating a controllable situation that provides a suspect with an opportunity for illegal conduct. On the other hand, reactive investigation is where the investigators respond urgently to a crime.


National Commission on Terrorist Attacks. (2012). The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report     of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. W.W. Norton

Pollock, J. M. (2012). Ethical Dilemmas and Decisions in Criminal Justice. Belmont, CA:             Wadsworth Cengage Learning.


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You are here: Home Resources Samples Terrorism and Ethics