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This paper consists of six parts and argues against the supposed need for constitutional provisions on terrorism, in particular in Chile. In part one, I try to define the problem and the questions it may give rise to. Part two provides a brief historical overview of some of the rather paradoxical relations that have existed between constitutionalism and terrorism, and the difficulties in defining the latter concept. In part three, I present a comparative and non-exhaustive analysis of approaches to terrorism in Great Britain and the United States. In part four, I extend the comparative analysis to some continental European countries, such as Germany, Italy and Spain. Part five focuses on article 9 of the Chilean Constitution. In part six, I develop some ideas about State terrorism and try to show how, in Chile, we may still be under the spell of this kind of political organization which is so difficult to eradicate. Finally, I present some conclusions which, like the rest of the paper, are preliminary and only meant to stimulate discussion on this issue.


Paper presented in the panel on “The New Wave of Constitutionalism” at SELA 2002, Law as Object and Instrument of Transformation, in Punta del Este, Uruguay