By virtue of the Law of 27 April 2016, the Belgian legislation was amended to allow house searches and arrests to take place between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. in case of a terrorist offence or a planned attack. Furthermore, the Law of 5 August 1992 on the Police Service was amended to provide for the establishment of common databases aimed at the prevention and suppression of terrorism or of extremism that can lead to terrorism, as well as for the possibility to share information from such databases with foreign law enforcement and intelligence services and international organisations for police and judicial cooperation. The existing provisions of the Belgian Criminal Code were extended by the Law of 3 August 2016 to include the incitement (Article 140bis) and the recruitment (Article 140ter) to travel to or from Belgium for terrorist purposes (Article 140sexies).

Furthermore, the Law of 3 August 2016 extended the Belgian extraterritorial jurisdiction to allow the prosecution of those who commit terrorist offences, provided for in Book II, Title Iter of the Criminal Code, against a Belgian national or a Belgian or European institution abroad. The Law also specified the powers of the Federal Prosecutor’s Office in relation to terrorist offenc- es. The Law of 14 December 2016 introduced further amendments to the Criminal Code, concerning: (i) the participation in an activity of a terrorist group, making it sufficient to know or could have known that such participation could contribute to the commission of a crime by the terrorist group (Article 140, § 1), (ii) the preparation of terrorist acts by the so-called ‘lone wolves’ (Article 140septies), and (iii) the provision or collection of direct or indirect material support, including financial means, for the commission of a terrorist offence (Article 141).


Amendments concerning Article 114j of the Danish Criminal Code came into force on 30 September 2016. They criminalise the travel to certain areas in Syria and Iraq without a permit from the Danish authorities. The amendments envisage a penalty of up to six years of imprisonment for Danish nationals or persons with a permanent residence in Denmark, who travel into or stay in the designated areas.


As of December 2016, new legislation entered into force in Finland. The new legislation criminalises travel to a State other than the State of residence or nationality of the traveller, if the purpose of the travel is to commit, plan or prepare a terrorist act or to give or to receive terrorist training. The new legislation also criminalises funding of travel for the aforementioned purposes. The new legislation is based on United Nations Security Council Resolution 2178 (2014) of 14 September 2014.


By Law n° 2016-731 of 3 June 2016, the French Criminal Code was amended and supplemented by criminalising: (i) the trafficking of cultural goods coming from areas in which terrorist groups are operating and (ii) the regular consultation of online content with messages, pictures or other material that can lead to or provoke someone to commit a terrorist act or that promotes or glorifies those acts. This last incrimination has been censored by the French Constitutional Court in Decision n° 2016-611 of 10 February 2017 and as a consequence has been redrafted by the new Law n° 2017-258 of 28 February 2017.

Law n° 2016-731 of 3 June 2016 also extended the powers of magistrates and investigators, making it possible to conduct night-time house searches and use new investigation techniques for data collection. Furthermore, the law reinforced arms and ammunition control, created provisions aimed at protecting witnesses, and strengthened the efficiency of administrative controls to avert terrorist acts and to allow for the surveillance of those coming back to France after travelling abroad to participate in terrorist activities.


In 2016, the Hungarian Parliament amended the regulation of acts of terrorism, provided for in Articles 314316 of the Criminal Code of Hungary. The amendment criminalises the travel through or from Hungary with the intention to join to a terrorist group, and envisages a penalty of between 2 and 8 years’ imprisonment. Furthermore, the ‘organisation of a terrorist group’ has also become punishable. The amendment entered into force on 17 July 2016.


A new provision was added to the Italian Criminal Code (Article 270quinquies), which criminalises any conduct consisting of gathering funds or goods with the objective of committing terrorist offences, even without a link to a criminal association or a conspiracy to commit terrorist offences. Therefore, any conduct for the purpose of procuring means to finance terrorist activities is criminalised as such. Furthermore, by Law No. 153 of 28 July 2016, Italy ratified several conventions in the field of counter-terrorism, including the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism, the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, the Protocol amending the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism, the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism, and the Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism.


In February 2016 the Latvian Saeima adopted amendments to the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing. The amendments concern, among others, the government regulations on the lists, compiled by certain countries or international organisations, of persons suspected of being involved in terrorist activities or of the manufacturing, keeping, transporting, using or distribution of weapons of mass destruction, as well as the sanctions lists compiled by the Latvian government with the aim of combating the involvement in terrorist activities or the manufacturing, keeping, transporting, using or distribution of weapons of mass destruction. The Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing was further amended in May 2016. The amendments envisage a number of measures to be taken by legal persons to ensure compliance with the law.

The Netherlands

On 1 April 2016, the legal possibility to take away Dutch citizenship in case of dual citizenship and final conviction for terrorist offences was extended to preparatory offences (including training for terrorism). Such a measure would require the decision of the Minister of Security and Justice.


In March 2016, Article 57 (2) of the Law 135/2010 on the Code of Criminal Procedure was amended. The article concerns the criminal investigation acts carried out by special criminal investigation bodies. In conformity with the amendment, these bodies may, upon the prosecutor’s order, enforce technical surveillance warrants in case of terrorist offences and of offences against the national security, as provided for in Title X of the Criminal Code. Also in March 2016, Articles 8 and 13 of the Law no. 14/1992 on the organisation and functioning of the Romanian Intelligence Service were amended to designate the National Centre for Interception of Communications of the Romanian Intelligence Service as a competent authority to obtain, process and store information on national security retrieved from providers of publicly available electronic communications. It was established that, for the purpose of enforcing technical surveillance (as a special investigative technique), the Centre has to allow the criminal investigation bodies to have direct and independent access to its technical systems.

The possibility, by way of exception, to designate the bodies of the Romanian Intelligence Service as special criminal investigation bodies in accordance with Article 55 paragraphs 5 and 6 of the Romanian Criminal Procedure Code, is also envisaged. Furthermore, in November 2016 Law no. 535/2004 on the prevention and fighting against terrorism was amended to define travel abroad for terrorist purposes. The amendment criminalises the (attempt to) travel to a state, other than the state of nationality or residence, for the purpose of committing, planning or preparing a terrorist offence, participating in or providing or receiving instruction or training for the purpose of committing terrorism, or for the purpose of supporting in any way a terrorist entity. The law envisages a custodial sentence between 5 and 12 years’ imprisonment and restriction of rights.


At the end of 2015 the Slovak Parliament adopted the so-called ‘anti-terror package’ in response to the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. As part of the package, police, prosecution offices, courts and intelligence services received new powers in the fight against terrorism. Prison sentences for those convicted of conspiracy to commit a terrorist act were extended, as the offence was included in the category of ‘particularly serious crimes’. A new criminal offence of ‘participating in combat operation within an organised armed group abroad’ was introduced into the Criminal Code also in response to the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters. All changes and amendments came into force in January 2016.


Further amendments to the Swedish Criminal Code were made to counter the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters. On 1 April 2016, new provisions came into force criminalising travelling to a country other than the country of which the suspect is a citizen, with the purpose of committing or preparing serious crimes, particularly terrorist crimes, gathering, supplying or receiving money or other property with the purpose of supporting such travel and also passive training for terrorism.