Reactions to Indefinite Preventive Detention: An Analysis of How the Singapore, United Kingdom and American Judiciary Give Voice to the Law in the Face of (Counter) Terrorism

Eunice CHUA, Singapore Management University


"[A] mid the clash of arms, the laws are notsilent" - and it is up to judges to give voice to the law. Acts ofterrorism have not ceased since 11 September 2001 and news of fresh attacks orfoiled attempts continues to surface regularly. It is not surprising that inorder to preserve the nation state, governments have used legislative tools todeter and punish terrorism, including the tool of indefinite preventivedetention. In this article, I analyse the pieces of legislation providing forindefinite preventive detention in Singapore, the United Kingdom and the UnitedStates, as well as the judicial response to them. Adopting Justice AharonBarak's approach, I submit that the ideal role for the judiciary in respondingto counter-terrorism is two-fold: (1) to bridge the gap between law and societyand (2) to protect the constitution and democracy.