International Conference

"Establishing a Global Knowledge Network:

ISIS as a Threat and Legal Challenge and the Prevention of Recruitment

April 25-29, 2016 – Dubrovnik, Croatia



The Department of Faculty of Law University of Zagreb together with the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law (Freiburg, Germany), is pleased to invite participants, including students, to apply for the International Conference “Establishing a Global Knowledge Network: ISIS as a Threat and Legal Challenge and the Prevention of Recruitment.” The Conference will take place during the International Spring Course EU Substantive Criminal Law and the Protection of Victims, accredited with the 4 ECTS by the Faculty of Law.



For Registration and further information on the Conference please contact Executive Organizers of the Conference: Ass.Prof. Sunčana Roksandić Vidlička: or Dr.Marc Engelhart: 

For students registration please contact Janko Havaš, e-mail: or Domagoj Dananić,  

Every participant is obliged to pay 40 eur fee to the InterUniversityCenter. 


The Deadline for Registration is April, 10th, 2016.


For detailed program description please see:


The Background and Reasoning for the Organization of Conference   



The terrorist organisation Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has not only been active in the Middle East since the end of the 1990s but also been a constant threat to the security in Europe for several years and lately also in the United States. The terrorist attacks in Paris and in California this year show the dangerousness of the group and especially of their anti-western propaganda. The organisation and their struggle to establish an Islamic state with its center located in Iraq attracts many people especially in Europe to join their fight in the Middle East as foreign fighters. Also, other citizens undergo training in terror camps in order to be prepared for attacks after their return home or just radicalize and attack Western societies in the homeland due to propaganda by ISIS. Western legal systems struggle to deal with the threat caused by the activities of ISIS. Especially the questions how to prevent citizens to become foreign fighters or how to deal with homecoming fighters is a legal challenge as neither criminal law nor other measures as police law provide clear and easy applicable solutions.

The answers of legal systems to the threat of terrorism by ISIS are complex and have only been partly addressed in research as they are related to often separately handled discussions in criminal law, police law and intelligence law. The Conference provides a holistic approach on the matter as it combines an empirical and legal view on specific phenomena of the activities of ISIS. It will therefore contribute in finding areas for improvement and suitable answers in the national justice systems.

Therefore, The Conference brings together European and American experts in order to analyze the specific nature of the ISIS recruitment process and the different international and national legal answers to recruitments and homecoming fighters. The program will identify working solutions and existing deficiencies in the legal system in approaching terrorism. In addition, strategies for ongoing cooperation in countering and preventing violent extremism and building post-conflict justice in Syria will be discussed.


The papers presented at the conference will be published in a separate publication (publishing house Duncker & Humblot (Berlin)).


Conference Topics

ISIS causes one of the main terrorist threats for Western societies and is responsible for several attacks with casualties in recent years, increasingly within Europe and since December 2015 in the USA. Several legal system have adjusted their legislation by broadening criminal offences, strengthening police and intelligence measures. The situation represents an additional challenge for border countries of the EU, like Croatia, with its south/south-eastern neighbours. With the terrorist attacks in November 2015 in Paris the quality of the attacks has changed insofar as the general population and not only specific persons or institutions have become the main target of the organisation. This development shows the ongoing need to review existing (and maybe insufficient) legal mechanism critically and to search for adequate and better solutions. The American legal system, especially its legal responses to the attacks of 9/11 and subsequent research, offers an invaluable comparative view for further developments in Europe. In addition, an effective solution to the threat by ISIS can only be reached if Western societies coordinate their efforts wherefore the American-European cooperation is of upmost importance. The course shall especially strengthen the cooperation between Croatian and American experts.

The conference brings together expert speakers from academia and from legal practice in order to enable a discussion on the central practical aspects from a theoretical point of view.

The Conference takes up central questions the actions of ISIS cause for Western legal systems. As ISIS attracts people by claiming to lead a religious war and insofar promises to provide a just Muslim State, an analysis of the recruitment process forms the first part of the conference. By the extensive use of modern technology many especially young and vulnerable people in social networks can be reached, convinced and in the end be radicalized for the goals of ISIS. As the radicalization process has not been analyzed sufficiently the program addresses the mechanism used to recruit and sheds a light on the recruiters (also with special emphasis on women recruiters) and the recruited from an empirical viewpoint.

The aspect in how far ISIS not only attracts personnel in Western societies but is also financed with Western money (by selling oil, arts and laundering money) forms a separate part of the event. The problem of how different legal systems deal with people recruiting and being recruited, especially with the plan to become foreign fighters, is the third element of the program. The fourth part analyses how the legal systems react to ISIS members coming back to their home countries. An emphasis is on police and intelligence surveillance measures and the cooperation between the affected states. The last part of the conference addresses future perspectives on prevention strategies and means for fighting extremism/terrorism in Europe and the United States.




As to the follow-up activities, the insights and the results of the presentations shall be made available to a wider public. The course speakers will be asked to contribute to a book publication on the topic of their presentation. In addition to the publication, specific aspects of the problems dealing with ISIS shall be deepened in additional workshops held at the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law. A first workshop is planned for the end of 2016.


For the accomodation, please check the following web page: or for more information contact Danijela Štrman at: 

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