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Updated: Oct 23, 2022

In the ceremonial hall of the local community "Lipov lad", Municipality of Zvezdara, Belgrade, on October 14, 2022, a lecture and visual presentation with the theme "Violence in the modern world-Terrorism and the negotiation process" were held in the organization of IPO Serbia.

The education is founded on the knowledge and experience gained as a member of the Negotiation Team of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, as well as the literature of the author, dr. Zeljko Mojsilovi, in the scientific-teaching center of Avala by m.sci. Milorad Ili, Bachelor of Laws, Lieutenant Colonel, MUP of the Republic of Serbia.

Terrorism represents a major challenge to global security in modern society. Repressive action is still the most prevalent in the fight against terrorism.

This means that terrorism cannot be completely eliminated but only mitigated because if the causes have not been identified, the prohibition and punishment of terrorism has so far only encouraged a change in its manifestations. In order for terrorism to be controlled, it is important to take preventive action, that is, to treat the causes that encourage modern terrorism. Such prevention can only be conducted with the active involvement of all social structures.

Research into the emergence of terrorism as a security threat to the modern world is hampered by the lack of a single understanding and definition of terrorism. The causes of terrorism are primarily in deep and irreconcilable global social changes, changes in world politics, social position, and the economy, as well as in the subjective experiences of certain groups that, for them, an unsustainable social situation can only be changed by using violence. Terrorism is manifested by committing terrorist acts and is conditioned by the existence of a terrorist organization, as a collective, and man, as an individual, who are the direct actors of terrorism.

Terrorism can be defined as the use of violence or the threat of violence by an organized group or individuals as a member of the group, directed against the state or the international community, carried out in such a way as to cause and exploit fear in a wider population of people, the end result of which should be the achievement of the set terrorist goals, which are political in nature. Analyzing terrorist actions and the works of researchers who deal with this issue, three phases are distinguished in the actions of terrorists: the preparatory phase (before the execution of the terrorist act), the execution phase of the terrorist act, and the stabilization phase (activities of terrorists after the execution of the terrorist act).

In the second part of the lecture, negotiations were discussed as a strategy and tactic for solving crises and conflicts. Negotiation has proven to be one of the most effective means of mutual communication in situations where a conflict has already occurred. Resolving conflict situations by conducting negotiations is achieved by sending a message to the opposing party, which leads to a change in attitudes and behavior, thus achieving their reorientation in accordance with the interests of the negotiator. By improving negotiation skills and using negotiation techniques and knowledge that have been developed in various fields, it is possible to achieve greater success in resolving conflicts peacefully without the use of force.

The third part of the lecture was about the use of negotiations in countering modern terrorism. The goal of negotiation is that all participants, in a certain sense, are winners. When it comes to conflicts with terrorists, many overemphasize the objective essence of the conflict, believing that the side in the conflict can either win or lose everything. Although many governments claim they will not negotiate with terrorists, in practice they often do. Blindly adhering to the position that "no negotiations with terrorists" had the effect of avoiding any systemic analysis of how best to use negotiations. The arguments against negotiating with terrorists are simple: a democracy must never condone violence, and terrorists must never be rewarded for it. Arguments for negotiation usually rely on the negative characteristics of other ways of solving problems.

The use of force against terrorists did not lead to a reduction in terrorist activity but to the expansion of support for terrorists. In addition to the regular activities of the security forces in certain phases of terrorist activity (preparatory phase, execution phase, and stabilization phase), in each of the phase, negotiation can be used as a tool to oppose terrorism, both for the purpose of reducing the number of terrorist attacks, releasing captured hostages, and obtaining information about other members of terrorist groups in order to facilitate their finding and arrest.

In the first phase of terrorist activity (preparatory phase), negotiations are suitable for use in the environment of terrorists. Negotiation in this phase is also called preventive negotiation. Preventive negotiation should influence sympathizers and supporters of terrorists. Unlike the call to hunt terrorists, the call for negotiations will not cause more violence. On the other hand, the authorities' attempts to satisfy some of the terrorists' goals by peaceful means will eventually affect less support and belief in the need to use violence. Negotiations can also contribute to the successful resolution of terrorist situations in the second phase (the phase of the execution of the terrorist act).

The main conclusion is that a large number of victims during the classic approach to solving the situation caused by the execution of a terrorist act, i.e. approach that favors the use of force, especially when releasing hostages, obliges all those who decide on the choice of means to have awareness and knowledge about the possibilities of using negotiations as unarmed procedures. Research shows that during the release of hostages through the use of force, more people are injured than when negotiators are involved in resolving the specific situation.

In the third phase of terrorist activity (stabilization phase), negotiation also has its place, in the sense of negotiations with arrested terrorists on obtaining mitigating circumstances for them in exchange for revealing the terrorist network and easier arrest of the perpetrators of the attacks. Synthesis of all indicators of the influence of negotiation in opposing modern terrorism indicates that negotiations can be a means by which modern terrorism can be influenced. Negotiations can be a key factor in breaking out of a vicious cycle in which violence begets more violence.

At the end of the lecture, a small ceremony was held among the members of the association's assembly, and then IPO founder Professor Ilija Životić presented the Gold Order of the First Degree to the Colonel Mr. Milorad for supporting our team.

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