zzk. Freedom of teaching, terrorism and State restrictions




Edwin Figueroa Gutarra[2]



Introduction. 1. Democracy and rule of law. 2. Democracy and terrorism: a conflictive relationship. 3. Freedom of teaching and terrorism: a complex issue. 4. State restrictions in relation to the types of crimes. 5. Monitoring tasks in the freedom of teaching. 6. The constitutionality of a monitoring system. Conclusions.


ABSTRACT: Based on an analysis between the notions of democracy and constitutional State, this study addresses the complex relationships between the fundamental right of freedom of teaching and terrorism. It is an axis of all public policy to combat terrorism within the framework of rule of law and in that purpose, the State implements restrictions on non-readmission for teachers sentenced to jail for terrorism. However, it is necessary to elucidate these questions in order to avoid expressions of a culture of suspicion, or whether in their case there are measures for a legitimate defense of the same State.


KEY WORDS: Democracy, material democracy, rule of law, constitutional state, freedom of teaching, terrorism, state restrictions, culture of suspicion, legitimate defense of the State, monitoring, proportionality test.




From the material values ​​guaranteed by Luigi Ferrajoli, the constitutional State has the power to organize the most appropriate measures to combat terrorism, a contemporary problem that demands effective actions by States for an effective defense of fundamental rights. The issue we are referring to is complex: terrorism, as a formula of undemocratic action, takes advantage of democracy mechanisms and undermines the bases of societies, a situation that forces the State to adopt repression measures.

The question to be problematized is how these State measures should be carried out without affecting the fundamental right of teaching freedom of professors sentenced to jail for terrorism, who in front of State decisions of non-readmission when they intend to return to teach, pose a substantively complex question: on one hand, there is the right of freedom to teach, and on the other hand, it is necessary to fight terrorism with the constitutional weapons provided by democracy itself.

These issues lead us to a scenario in which both elements must be clarified from the perspective that the State needs to take care of education values, and that these ones must not be affected by sentenced teachers by terrorism, specifically teachers who intend to return to classrooms, once their imprisonments have finished.

In the Peruvian case, the State has ruled that teachers sentenced for terrorism cannot teach again. It is a special measure in defense of the right of students not to be contaminated by a culture violence that is very difficult to eradicate. It is usual that a convicted person who was in jail because of terrorism actions, does not completely distance himself later from violent ideas. Thus, it is important to combat terrorism under the rule of law.

However, the controversial issue arises when the professor convicted of terrorism has served his penalty and his judicial case has established no additional consequence. Nevertheless, this person cannot teach again. We understand this issue, apparently, as an unconstitutional prolongation of the punishment, and at the same time, as a contrary matter to the fundamental right of no sanction beyond what the same penalty establishes.

The question to be determined in this regard is: if the State restricts this person’s right to re-teach when the judicial decision has not provided for any additional measure, does the State violate the fundamental right to teach, or is it a legitimate action to defend the State itself against the possibility of a culture of violence in which that person sentenced for terrorism may incur again?

Our proposal in this study starts from the regular idea that State can sanction those convicted teachers of terrorism, but this must not happen extending the judicial sentence carried out beyond what it establishes, since it represents a severe violation of rights of persons who served their penalty. Validly, the legal system cannot extend the penalty beyond the criteria provided by law.

Therefore, it is necessary to implement ex post control systems in order to evaluate the activity of teachers sentenced for terrorism, under the rules of a system we call monitoring. Here it must take place to make a conceptual division: the ex ante systems, without previous examination and strictly outside the context of the penalty applied, are unconstitutional, since they consider the notion of extending the penalty beyond what it provides . This can lead to issues of international responsibility of States.

However, an ex post system is compatible with constitutional order, in this case the State does allow a professor sentenced for terrorism to teach again, in order not to extend unconstitutionally the validity of the imposed sentence, but strictly implements an ex post system that seeks foreseeing that the professor does not re-disseminate violent terrorism thoughts. From this perspective, it is feasible for State to propose a monitoring system, that controls, through monitor professors assigned to participate in the classes of the professor sentenced for terrorism, or, if appropriate, through audiovisual systems, recording classes. In this case, this ex post verification is exercised regarding the teacher’s activity readmitted in teaching.

In this way, if the monitor- teacher or audiovisual system corroborates that the teacher sentenced for terrorism, incurs again in the dissemination of ideas of a violent practice, administrative sanctions are necessary, and if applicable, the expulsion of the educational career will be reasonable, according to law and Constitution.

The system we propose has a constitutional basis, in so far as it is compatible with fundamental rights. In fact, properly implies higher economic resources, since these measures will certainly have to be implemented, and nevertheless, the concept of valid rules with the constitutional State, imposes legitimate actions- we call them legitimate charges-on States that are part of a system of human rights. How are these legitimate charges understood? As necessary measures, which involve resources certainly, but they are part of the need to provide congruent, proportional and appropriate responses to contexts of possible involvement of fundamental rights, of those who have engaged in violent practices. These people must be repressed, but within the principles, values ​​and guidelines of the constitutional State.

The State has the right to defend values ​​that give life to social coexistence, on one hand, and needs, on the other hand, to realize its status as a social entity, where the rights to equality are respected in its material sphere, that is to say, of essence and hard core of the rights of the people. This practice, which should aspire to realize the value of equality, then requires adequate measures to achieve this end.

A teacher sentenced for terrorism misses his values ​​to his duty of teaching if in class he returns to disseminate violent ideas. Our idea is convincing when affirming that the essence of the duty to educate is broken if the teacher spreads the idea that terrorism is a means of realizing social good. Under these conditions, the State is entitled to act to defend values ​​of constitutional State – unrestricted validity of fundamental rights and normative primacy of the Constitution – but the moral requirement, within the postulates of Ronald Dworkin and Robert Alexy means, also, to reconcile Law and Moral to ensure a balance in social relations.

In this way, we believe the constitutional State must assume legitimate charges that means its duties and as such, it is inherent the adoption of necessary measures within a system of respect for the rights of people. Let´s sanction what has to be sanctioned, but within the material limits imposed by our Constitutions.   



The notion of material democracy[3] represents in the 21st century a conquest of constitutional State. The transition from legislative State of law, typical of the 19th century, to a constitutional State of law, rooted towards the end of the 20th century and at the same time, towards the beginning of the 21st century, has meant the consolidation of the values of democracy. Norberto Bobbio and Giovani Sartori refer this as values ​​of social coexistence. This formula of rule of law represents the attainment of effective enforcement of fundamental rights and the principle of normative primacy of the Constitution.

Democracy, therefore, represents a stage that gathers diverse values: it adjusts the standards of the culture of force, controls excesses of power through constitutional control, and develops formulas to defend the rights of citizens. Tyrannies and deviations from power are part of former times, and it is through democracy that a government system is consolidated, and despite its shortcomings, democracy represents the most optimal form of social coexistence.

The use of fair terms obliges us to make a precision: it is not democracy itself the best system of government, we prefer to use the reference to the most optimal system of government, and this has an explanation: there is no better form of government and it is not feasible to conclude that others are worse forms of government. In this sense, it is important to point out that all government systems have strengths and shortcomings, but it is democracy, within this mechanism of distinction, the concept that refers us to a wider number of favorable scenarios for fundamental rights, against a set of shortcomings that exhibit the governments of force: the Machtstaat[4].

Democracy, then, representing a more optimal form of government, admits in this definition, the recognition of problems ​​that undermine it inside, and of course such situation does not delegitimize it, but tends to coexist with democracy. These are problems that afflict democracy and certainly test it. Thus, poverty, crime, drug traffic and terrorism, among other major social problems, are also manifestations of democracy.

The concept of the rule of law allows us to add to the term democracy the idea of ​​a so-called material democracy, an idea that means a conventional opposition to the notion of formal democracy. This last expression refers us the simple idea of ​​existence of democracy, in the sense of a lineal, uniform concept of democracy. This kind of democracy only requires the existence of certain institutions, including the separation of powers, the existence of a legal system and the configuration of a jurisdictional system, between other formal expressions.

However, an idea of ​​material democracy, in reference to aforementioned elements, allows us to infer the existence of a balance between powers, as a concomitant element of a separation of powers. Similarly, if we allude to the existence of a legal order, it is important to bear in mind that in a material democracy there is compatibility between these rules and Constitution. On the other hand, in a thesis to open the concept of jurisdiction, we have a system in which there are necessary relations of complementarity between ordinary justice and constitutional justice.

What do we appreciate from the ideas above? Material democracy represents an important scenario of aggregate values ​​with respect to formal democracy, and this set of intrinsically axiological elements is precisely constructed from the formula of the rule of law, a range that represents the existence, validity and compatibility of values ​​that emerge of coexistence in a society that respects fundamental rights, as well as the clause of constitutional supremacy that in its moment enunciated, with emphasis, the leading case Marbury vs. Madison.[5]

On the other hand, material democracy, as a product of the rule of law, is also expressed in the notion of a constitutional democracy, an idea that Elster[6] prefers to explain like the scene of a tied Ulysses, the Achaean hero who wanted to listen the songs of the sirens when passing his boat near to Antemoesa, the dangerous island of these mythological beings. Ulysses was tied to a mast to avoid the consequences of drowning, natural effect for all sailor who dared to listen the beautiful songs of the sirens, and desperate, threw into the sea.

What has been described allows us to assimilate the ideas of a tied Ulysses and a constitutional democracy. In both cases, there is subjection, control and restrictions, necessary so that in one case, Ulysses is still alive, and on the other hand, democracy survives as institution in the rule of law.

The problem would arise when the so-called Odysseus manages to free himself from the ropes that bind him to the mast of his boat. If this happens, he could die drowned because of the deadly siren chants. A contemporary democracy, as in the case of Ulysses, can succumb figuratively when it ignores its own controls, or if it is the case, ignores the reasons beyond its control standards.

Thus, under an approximate example to this figure, a democracy can well dispose, by majority vote, to archive investigations for crimes against humanity for the sake of social reconciliation, and invoking a need to sow social peace, especially if the transition processes from conflict scenarios to social peace options, have been traumatic.

Something similar happened in the case Gelman vs. Uruguay,[7] while a law of investigation closure of crimes in 1986[8] in Uruguay was subject of a popular referendum, and people approved the submitted standard for consultation. In that case, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered the Uruguayan State to rescind that rule because it contravened principles included in the American Convention on Human Rights.

It is true that a law passed by referendum enjoys a special status. It is not an ordinary law, whose approval requires simple majority, and represents even greater scope than the organic laws or constitutional reform, which require qualified majorities. On the other hand, it is a rule that a referendum means a very special condition, because sovereign people endorses a decision of Legislative Power.

If the old aphorism asserted that vox pópuli vox Dei[9]represented the attainment of the popular will, it is to be noted that from the perspective of the rule of law, that old adage does not go any further, because in the constitutional State there are no zones exempt from constitutional control, and everything is impregnated by Constitutional Law, just as there is an effect of irradiation of the effective validity of fundamental rights and the principle of normative primacy of the Constitution.

From this axis of reasoning, it is important to bear in mind that decisions of people, as referendum, are susceptible of constitutional control. It is true, with a certain logic, that in a referendum people exercise the attribution of a derivative constituent power, as there is a formative will to approve a law from the grounds of universal voting. It may even be argued that in these areas of democracy, the people on universal ballot represent an inscrutable majority or the product of a universal decision. Nevertheless, the theory of constitutional control makes possible the revision of even majority decisions, reasoning that there is no area exempt from constitutional control.

In conclusion, democracy, moving towards a stage of material democracy, represents the formula of conjugation of democracy itself and the rule of law, not from the coldly syllogistic position of formal democracy, but from a dynamic vision of our reality. It is for this reason that the idea of ​​a living Constitution[10] persuades us of the dynamics of democracy in all its spheres of influence. Material democracy is, under these parameters, expression of life and support of an idiosyncrasy in the key of strengthening fundamental rights, as well as the hegemony of the primacy of Constitution.



In appearance, there is a relationship of exclusion between democracy and terrorism. The first meaning represents the opening of rights of citizens in the contemporary scene, while the second concept is just a form of organized crime and an existential threat,[11]means no progressiveness of human rights. However, it often happens that terrorism is a consequence of the mechanisms that democracy itself generates.

A brief reference to the attacks of September 11, 2001 in the United States, would allow us to conclude that this terrorist incursion, even with dialectical perspectives to be clarified in the context of globalization itself,[12] would not have been possible without the spirit of openness and trust that in its moment impelled the American system with respect to the free, almost unrestricted transit of national and foreign citizens in its territory. Or in its case, that the same planning of the attack of terror would not have been possible to be carried out, if it wouldn’t have existed an extended freedom of communication. Thus, being USA a democracy that hoisted liberties and rights, the excessive confidence of the intelligence services of that country made possible the known result: the fall of the Twin Towers in New York and the death of almost 3,000 people.

Even more, the terrorist attacks at Bataclan Theater in Paris in November 2015 would not have been possible without French trend of incentive of arts in its multiple manifestations. We know this is a common element in all contemporary democracy, since from the same State there is the endorsement of impulse to all facets of culture, with the only requirement that public morals and good morals are not contradicted. Terrorism in this case, as an element of contradiction, capitalizes internal elements of the art manifestations in a democracy, and works against democracy, via indiscriminate killings, an activity of hatred, death and destruction over innocent lives.

The previous statement leads us to different scenarios, one of which is, strictly speaking, that democracy generates spaces for diverse anomies. In fact, terrorism is an activity that finally instills fear and disappointment, but precisely one of its axes of action is to maximize the gaps left by democracy when it grows but cannot sufficiently develop internal mechanisms of self-control, resulting in a statement that Reinares[13] remarks, and it is explained in the idea that terrorism is technically a possible fact in regimes of a tolerant nature, than in others with repressive characteristics.

In addition to this, the terror component here is important, according to Schmill,[14] when picking up a Chomsky definition, insofar as it can also be defined as “the calculated use of violence or the threat of the use of violence to achieve ideological, political or religious objectives, through intimidation, coercion or fear.” In this line of reflection, terrorism grows in constitutional democracies despite the surveillance mechanisms that States implement.

Following the examples we have referred, even the captured terrorist after an attack, has this necessary right to defense, fair trial and due process, which democracy itself raises as standards of citizens’ rights, without the possibility of restricting the same to any person by the sole condition of terrorist.

Then we find a manifest contradiction: terrorism capitalizes every possible vacuum of contemporary democracies and establishes its strategies of action from the same axis of opening of human rights in legal systems established in the western world. This leads us to support a very specific thesis: the relationship between democracy and terrorism is not one of total exclusion but of mutual coexistence, almost of product one of the other, and in this way terrorism flourishes, expands and develops on the mechanisms of opening of legal systems. Thus, we warn that democracies are more likely to be victimized by domestic terrorism.[15]

It is in this way that where rights constitute important conquests of normative instruments on human rights – let us say the American Convention of Human Rights and the European Convention of Human Rights to mention the two closest examples to the actual scene – it is in those areas where terrorism, defined as the system of breaking democratic values, uses the same mechanisms of democracy to undermine its spirit.

Now, if we choose to affirm that terrorism emerges in democratic regimes, there is also no relation of total exclusion in relation to tyrannies or to systems of government outside democracy. However, the relation of degree is ostensible and by this we mean that in democracies, terrorist movements germinate more easily, while in tyrannies precisely the lack of respect for human rights, a mechanism that is usually expressed in an extended form in the legal, social and institutional spheres, the development of terrorist movements is much more difficult, although not impossible.

Notwithstanding the assertion, there is also no exclusive relationship between terrorism and tyranny, but it is also true that in undemocratic regimes, the razing of rights is of total effect on all citizens, including terrorist elements. In this way, it will be usual for a citizen to be arbitrarily affected in his individual freedom in those regimes, but this can also happen with terrorists. Thus, there will be no guarantees for any social status.



The right to education is one of the rights contemplated by both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights[16] and the American Declaration of Human Rights,[17] and its main manifestation is the non-restriction of the person to enjoy access to education. Along with this basic content of the rule of law, another important manifestation coexists. Certainly if there is a right to be educated, its implicit manifestation is that it is a teacher who teaches, and this is understood as the freedom of education,[18] also called academic freedom.

Conceptually UNESCO points out that academic freedom consists in “the freedom to teach and debate without being limited by instituted doctrines, the freedom to carry out research, disseminate and publish the results of the same, the freedom to freely express one’s opinion about the institution or system in which one works, freedom from institutional censorship and freedom to participate in professional bodies or representative academic organizations. All the teaching staff must be able to exercise their functions without suffering any discrimination and without fear of repression by the State or any other instance”.

Although the freedom of teaching is a human manifestation, the central notion of freedom of education is limited to the power to teach without any restrictions except law regulations. In addition to this, this right takes place in all areas of education. A material democracy ensures that this freedom of education is exercised at all levels – primary, secondary and higher – without overt restrictions, since two fundamental rights are linked: the right to education and freedom to teach.

The positive linkage of these rights is expressed in the result of students that are prepared with strengths, competences and skills for the future. However, there is also a negative manifestation when there are incompatibilities between both rights, and dissonances in the exercise of one of these fundamental rights. We refer here, among other cases, to the specific situation of wrong exercises of this freedom of education. If this happens because of the fact that the person who teaches preaches a violent creed such as terrorism, then an educational pathology takes place, since teaching does not achieve the primary goal of preparing and creating competencies in students, but rather teaching of a violent preaching associated with spreading ideology based on practices contrary to goals of material democracy.

The logical consequence of this scenario is the breaking of teaching duties that flow from the essential content of the freedom to teach, being a perfectly viable consequence the legal prosecution of teachers who incur in the typical behavior of terrorism. In this regard, we must specify that the repression of criminal behavior will not necessarily be associated with the spread of a violent creed, a technical figure that we can understand as apology of terrorism, but, more often, it may happen that the teacher is prosecuted again for his effective membership in terrorist groups and his active incursion in this type of movement.

It is important to emphasize that a teacher can keep and reserve his violent ideas in classroom, while teaching. This behavior is not punishable. However, the action linked to the realization of crimes of terrorism through specific actions against public tranquility and damaging lives of innocent people will be unlawful. If this happens, the State fulfills its duty by stopping, prosecuting and sentencing people who preach the damage terrorism means.

The complex problem that our study points appears when teachers sentenced for terrorism have served their sentence in prison, have paid the civil compensation imposed by the criminal justice system, and intend to teach again. Moreover, the penalty imposed in the criminal process does not establish, in the case we propose, that there is a teaching ban once the sentence has been served. The situation to be defined then takes place in the following way: can the State legitimately prohibit the teacher sentenced for terrorism to teach again?

The possible scenarios are bifurcated in the following way: if the State effectively prohibits teaching this professor sentenced for terrorism, is there not an undue extension of an extraordinary penalty that was not contemplated in the terrorism process? If the deprivation of liberty and the payment of civil compensation have already taken place, what is the constitutional justification for extending the punishment beyond its content?

In the same way, if the State does not fix any restriction and allows the teacher sentenced for terrorism teaching again, how do we prevent this professor from spreading his convictions, if applicable, regarding a violent preaching at the expense of the State law? Our work outline aims to cover these two options for examining the problem that we propose, and which requires a response within the principles of constitutional State. It is a duty then the safeguarding of fundamental rights, a clause that expresses a prior requirement of impartiality, a necessary condition in the examination of fundamental rights.



Developing the study of conditions in which State can legitimately exercise the right to restrict certain activities depending on the type of crime, can be a very extensive task, in order of the number of legal assets that may be involved.[19] However, making a tentative effort to group areas of restrictions from the type of crime involved, we can establish prima facie three ranks: crimes linked to the sexual indemnity of minors, those related to the exercise of the fundamental right to choose and be elected, and properly the cases of teachers sentenced for terrorism.

Regarding the first case, in relation to teachers sentenced for proven aggressions against sexual minor’s indemnity, we consider that in the case of the sanctioning pattern of prohibiting these sentenced persons from teaching again, and restriction is fully justified. The affectation of a minor sexual indemnity by a teacher justifies the high sanction that implies the restriction of not teaching again. In addition, it is a behavior that could be repeated in the future and, therefore, could extend the physical, moral and emotional harm to other minors. In this case, the State exercises a preventive task when preventing this type of harmful behavior from happening again.

We believe that in this first case the restriction task is legitimate, even though the judicial penalty has not imposed any restrictions. Besides, the restrictive regulation of State, whether through a rule with the status of law or an administrative provision, is an ideal tool, necessary and proportional in strict sense, in order to establish restrictions in education of teachers sentenced for this reason.

In a second order of ideas, the fundamental right linked to the free election with respect to public positions, presents two senses: the right to choose and the right to be elected. If a person is sentenced for terrorism, the fulfillment of penalty and payment of civil compensation enable this person to recover their right to choose. Here there is a simple new exercise of civil rights, this means extinction of penalty cannot go beyond its own limits; this is what is fair in a constitutional State.

The dilemma that we face about the legitimacy of the restriction of this right to be elected constitutes a different manifestation about the problem we analyze, and our proposal takes place due to the non-viability of the restriction. Since the Spanish Constitutional Court established the criterion of a culture of no suspicion,[20] the exercise of political rights should not admit more restrictions than those that comply with conditions of reasonableness and proportionality.

In this way, it cannot be established a priori or preconfigured or unreasonable idea, that the only choice of someone sentenced for terrorism, may involve recidivism in this same type of crime. One of the reasons that justifies this assertion is linked to the notion that  people sentenced for terrorism who may eventually hold a position in public service, must not necessarily imply a veiled suspicion of society in the sense that violent ideas will be again defended by the authority who in former times belonged to terrorism.

In this regard, the right to democracy is an always sensitive component for society, and State cannot predict, from a prejudice formed, a formulated suspicion, or a basically aprioristic assumption, that necessarily an elected authority with antecedents for terrorism, will incur the same conduct contrary to law and right.

The case of professors sentenced for terrorism is a different case from the two ones previously mentioned, and such problem has sui generis characteristics. Terrorism finally implies serious behaviors but not at the same level of involvement of the sexual indemnity of minors. On the other hand, the election for public responsibilities, through the materialization of the right to be elected, picks up another type of problem, because it implies the exercise of democratic responsibilities.

In the case of teachers sentenced for terrorism who intend to return to teaching, it is understandable that a sentenced teacher intends to exercise their right to freedom of education, after being a teacher at the primary, secondary or higher levels. Moreover, it is part of the constitutionally protected content of the right to freedom of education that there is no arbitrariness in procedures of teachers election by the State. Nevertheless, justice has been made if the State just punishes these teachers, after being guilty of terrorist crimes.

Therefore, it is legitimate for the State, through its administrative rules, to restrict the freedom of teaching of teachers convicted of terrorism. It is particularly important that terrorism, as a crime against public tranquility, is also a type of social pathology that deserves the most severe sanctions, in so far as it seeks to destroy the most representative values ​​of democracy, that is, unrestricted respect for fundamental rights, the existence of a material Constitution as an expression of the rule of law, and the pluralism of ideas, expressions and political tendencies.

The problem we propose is how to perform this task of defending values ​​of democracy against citizens who mistakenly embraced a violent creed and after serving their sentence, intend to rejoin the social life pretending to join again in the educational work, invoking the freedom of education as a fundamental right.

We must remember that an elementary principle of constitutional State is the interdiction of arbitrariness, and in this way, this notion informs the relevance of the State itself, in the face of fundamental rights. This means fulfilling a special duty of protection- Schutzpflicht-notion that expresses the perspective that it is a State duty protecting, with more emphasis, the rights that have fundamental connotation. In this sense, there is the idea of a special duty of protection, insofar as it is not an ordinary duty. So, a fundamental right demands special normative, factual and jurisprudential treatment, by authorities that mean part of the constitutional jurisdiction.



The demand for optimal standards in educational quality guides the activity of every State towards excellence in education. In this way, the design of public policies in education, demands the implementation of rules to improve educational systems. From this premise, state entities have to regulate the activity of teachers in all their areas, from the normative, legal and administrative, to strictly procedural regulations regarding human resources and collateral issues for an adequate exercise of the obligations that correspond to the State itself.

The complex question to be determined is, according to that normative production, when these regulating restrictions do not imply serious damage to fundamental rights. In fact, rules of due process are of special importance in Sanctioning Administrative Law. In this way, State has the power to sanction as a general duty, in reference to the power of sanction, but there is a specific duty to respect, with special emphasis, the formal and material rules of due administrative procedure when imposing sanctions. .

Developing this idea, it is a requirement for State to respect essential rules of due administrative procedure. One of these rules is the principle of legality, insofar as it requires for the imposition of the sanction, together with the principle of limitation, the basic criteria of lex previa, lex certa and lex scripta. In the same way, the sanction requires the observance of the principles of reasonableness and proportionality, to the extent that arbitrariness implies a behavior to be excluded in relation to fundamental rights. If these minimum rules of legality and reasonableness are observed, we can affirm, with sufficiency, that sanctions are, in addition to legal, also constitutional ones, and even conventional ones, if we refer to the respect of human rights that contemplate international instruments such as the American Convention of Human Rights.

Once that framework has been designed, we have to define what is the optimal framework for State action if we refer to the idea of ​​defining the need to impose sanctions on teachers convicted of terrorism, once they have served their sentence, but at the same time, in the exercise of this sanctioning duty, it is required that the state action is respectful of the fundamental rights involved in the matter we refer.

Our proposal is guided by the implementation of a teacher monitoring system, which can be defined, from the baseline notion of monitoring as “the collection of routine data to measure progress towards meeting the objectives of the program. It is used to track the performance of programs over time, and its purpose is to help relevant stakeholders make informed decisions regarding the effectiveness of programs and the efficient use of resources. “[21]

It is important to differentiate between ex ante and ex post control systems in relation to cases we have referred. An ex ante system usually implies deficiencies, both formal and material. We mean that the ex ante sanction, assumed as a prior sanction, would tend to affirm that a professor sentenced for terrorism, in an exhaustive manner, is prevented from re-teaching, based on the assertion proper to the quality of the crime.

In our opinion, this system is complex because it is not only an expression of the culture of suspicion, a criterion that can be extracted from the Sortu case, based on the emblematic decision of the Spanish Constitutional Court on the right to form political organizations, but also a behavior contrary to fundamental rights, from the notion that a prejudice can not constitute a ratio decidendi criterion, a premise reaffirmed by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the case of Karen Atala Riffo v. Chile.[22]

The assertion represents a complex issue against fundamental rights in its current conception of rights with a very extensive material content. If the State Administration prohibits a teacher sentenced for terrorism to teach again, we will see that it will be difficult, but not impossible, to oppose a constitutional argument of sufficient sustenance to dismiss the question to which the penalty is unduly extended beyond what is strictly established in the sentence.

Indeed, the main objection to overcome by the State in a possible legal action for protection against the state restriction of the freedom of education of the teacher sentenced for terrorism, will be that the sanction cannot be extended beyond the scope that it imposes. This situation would ultimately result in the unconstitutionality of the administrative sanction for extending beyond the penalty the restrictive limits imposed by the sanction itself.

The execution of the sentence imposed on the sentenced professor, would even imply for us doubts regarding the constitutionality of the rule itself, insofar as the laws can invoke needs of defense of the State against threats to democracy, but it is necessary to reaffirm that the state restrictions regarding the employability level in relation to crimes committed, demand compatibility with the principles, values ​​and guidelines that inform every Constitution. Moreover, the freedom of education is closely linked, even to the fundamental right to work, on one hand, to freedom of work itself, and on the other hand, to conditions that demand democratic behavior of the State against this type of situation.

We insist on one aspect: the laws of restrictions of rights linked to freedom of education, freedom of work and the fundamental right to work, must not exceed the requirements of being strictly necessary standards if there is a less burdensome option that pursues and achieves equally an end of constitutional relevance, but that in turn is not as burdensome as the same norm of restriction of absolute prohibition of education.

Our proposal consists, then, of a monitoring system as an ex post procedure rule, in the case of cases involving the admission of teachers sentenced for terrorism in education.

We define this monitoring system under the following guidelines:

5.1. Requirement of a subject sanctioned by terrorism whose penalty has been fully complied with.

This is relevant because the crime of terrorism implies a situation of special antidemocratic importance, it doesn´t only mean a punishable conduct and in fact it is a crime that seeks to damage the values ​​of democracy. In that sense, this conduct asks the State adopting administrative measures in a system of restrictions to be designed.

5.2. Monitoring as an ex post inspection system.

The reference to a control system is important here as it involves a set of rules of procedure, which take place after the professor sentenced for terrorism has fully complied his imprisonment sentence. The compliance of the principle of legality in a monitoring system leads us to the idea that these are procedures that States must design based on a minimum set of rules.

And why the emphasis on an ex post system? Because this takes place to exclude the criteria of a culture of suspicion or configuration of prejudices. It is against fundamental rights to punish a person under the assumption of something they can do in the future. An exception occurs in situations of crimes attempt, very different from the issue we are dealing with, because the attempt requires demonstration acts that imminent criminal conduct is involved, and strictly speaking, acts of preparation are required it is almost a behavior to be real.

Suspicion or prejudice are contrary circumstances to fundamental rights. They do not constitute, in fact, an area of ​​justification, and express a high level of weakness in arguments because they do not adequately express the necessary force of a constitutional sanction to be imposed.

5.3. Monitoring implies the cooperation of a monitoring means.

Here we highlight the State allows the teacher convicted of terrorism to teach again, but this acceptance does not imply a situation of free will. This is not the case because in this system we propose, the State reserves the right to allow another professor, who participates randomly in the classes of the readmitted teacher, to evaluate the academic content of the classes of the professor sentenced for terrorism.

In this way, if that teacher in evaluation fulfills the purposes as a correct teacher of generations of students, and does not reoffend, this time through teaching, in the dissemination of his violent ideas, the purpose of the ex post monitoring is fulfilled. Thus it is highly probable to infer a re-socialization of the monitored teacher.

On the other hand, if it occurs that the readmitted teacher returns to incur these practices of defense of violent conceptions, then an administrative sanctioning procedure must take place and, of course, the maximum sanction may consist on the expulsion of the trainee from the teaching profession.

Is there arbitrariness in the monitoring procedure? We do not think so. The right of defense is guaranteed in every case. The right to contradict a possible sanction because of the teaching duties, which occur in a monitoring action, is also part of due process of law.

The exercise of this power by the State constitutes the observance of the principle of interdiction of arbitrariness, inasmuch as the rules of due administrative procedure are scrupulously respected, we mean, the sanction only takes place after an administrative procedure that respects the right of defense, and to contradict.

Now, our concept of monitoring has involved the ostensible variable of a teacher who personally develops the important work of monitoring a teacher sentenced for terrorism that returns to the classroom to teach. However, technology is today a component that we cannot ignore. We refer to the feasibility that the classes of the professor sentenced for terrorism can be recorded and this also constitutes a form of control.

In our opinion, this procedural option does not constitute invasion of privacy in the exercise of the freedom of education, since it includes a procedure that implies a reasonable control mechanism and that does not ostensibly affect the fundamental rights at stake for this task of inspection.



The proportionality test, as a technique of constitutional interpretation, constitutes in the contemporary legal system an optimal alternative to control the compatibility between rules and Constitution. From the joint concurrence of the suitability, necessity and proportionality requirements in the strict sense,[23] we can reach the conclusion a rule is legitimate, if this expressed legitimacy implies its validity with Constitution.

In this way, it is not enough that today a rule only has the status of existence, that is, that it has been discussed, approved, promulgated and published, but that it requires a special harmony with Constitution. This is achieved, among other variants of the interpretation of fundamental rights and the normative primacy of the Law of Laws, through the proportionality test. So, if one of the requirements of this test isn’t fulfilled, the rule will become unconstitutional.

Monitoring, as an alternative procedure, supports the proportionality test to which we can submit a rule of this type. We can affirm that a prima facie exclusion of the teacher sentenced for terrorism of the teaching function, may constitute a foretaste of judgment that may eventually result in a contrary behavior to fundamental rights.

This monitoring measure supports the suitability examination because a purpose of constitutional relevance is expressed in the figure that seeks, through a measure of control such as monitoring, excellence in education. Properly, a student with adequate and suitable training is an important purpose in any educational system and the way to get this requires a set of rules, mechanisms or procedural guidelines for that purpose.

From this perspective, the regulatory activity of the State implies the adoption of standards whose purpose requires, in order to approve this sub-rule of suitability, that the rule is adequate in relation to an end of constitutional relevance. In other terms, the adopted rule must guarantee that purpose for the one was built.

A monitoring system fulfills the purpose of constitutional relevance referred to. A direct control modality, a teacher monitor in the class of the teacher sentenced for terrorism who has been readmitted in teaching, or an audiovisual recording system in class, are valid methods. It is logical to affirm students must have a formation oriented to highlight the values ​​of a system that allows peaceful coexistence, and this is achieved through the values ​​of material democracy and not violent preaching. Described these inferences, the monitoring standard supports the proportionality test in its first requirement of suitability.

In the same way, this rule fulfills the need examination because monitoring constitutes a more guaranteed system of fundamental rights. In fact, if the purpose of constitutional relevance is excellence in education, the immediate question to be clarified is how that purpose is achieved and, even more, the option to be raised must be respectful of fundamental rights.

According to this, our opinion expresses an excessive onerousness in the absolute prohibition of teaching to teachers sentenced for terrorism who intend teaching again. It is an expensive alternative because it constitutes a harmful modality of the fundamental right of freedom of education. This prohibition constitutes a consolidation of the culture of suspicion in the sense of an a priori assumption that the person sentenced for terrorism must incur the spreading of a violent creed. We must verify here that this ex ante system expresses features of unconstitutionality as it supposes a prejudice in determining the capabilities of the teacher.

On the other hand, it is true that the purpose of resocialization in the fulfillment of the sentence means a reincorporation of the convicted person into society, and this again constitutes a useful element for the common good. Thus, it is a damaging notion to associate the type of crime with the non-feasibility of reincorporation.

Terrorism is certainly one of most damaging crimes in relation to public tranquility and therefore, to the values ​​of democracy; nevertheless, the State is one of the first entities to defend the necessary unrestricted respect for fundamental rights of citizens. If the State adopts harmful measures against fundamental rights, these decisions can not only face constitutional problems in the processes of protection of rights of constitutional order, but also can even face conventionality problems, in cases in which an internal process is subject to control of the supranational jurisdiction.

Therefore, compared to an a priori injurious measure such as the total exclusion of teachers sentenced for terrorism in education, the monitoring system we expose is a less harmful measure. In our opinion, the need examination seeks the application of the least harmful measure, among the existing alternatives, for the attainment of an end of constitutional relevance.

If excellence in education is sought in any education system, the total exclusion of a teacher sentenced for terrorism is more serious, as it is an ex ante trial with features of contrariety with Constitution. On the contrary, the ex post alternative that a monitoring system means, seeks excellence in education and respects the fundamental right of freedom of education.

Finally, the measure satisfies the standards of the strict sense proportionality exam. This legal examination makes possible two fundamental rights are clearly identified: the fundamental right to freedom of education, in everything that concerns the professor sentenced for terrorism who aspires to be readmitted into teaching, and on the other hand, it is not only a purpose of constitutional relevance, but also a right of society, this expressed excellence in education.

What does the proportionality in strict sense examination mean in this case? That of two fundamental rights opposed, we determine the levels of affectation and satisfaction of both rights, always under the rule of balancing: to greater affectation of a right, the greater must be the satisfaction of the opposite fundamental right.[24]

The above statement leads us to recognize two things: on one hand, the importance of recognizing that a right can be effectively affected, but the satisfaction of the opposite right must be greater. This is not a purely discretionary conclusion but rather demands the concurrence of factual and legal circumstances that demonstrate that level of satisfaction of a fundamental right is greater than the level of affectation of the fundamental right in dispute.

For this, the doctrine of proportionality test has foreseen, via a triadic scale, the existence of three levels, both of affectation and satisfaction: high, medium and weak.[25] If we assign numerical values ​​to these levels, the high value may well imply a hypothetical determination of 3 points, and in turn, the medium level, 2 points, as well as the weak range 1 point. If we contrast the scores of affectation and satisfaction, it would be demanded that the satisfied right always should have greater value than the affected right.

In the case we analyze, we believe that this right to excellence in education would be in part affected, since the State’s respect for fundamental rights impedes the validity of a rule that doesn´t accept  sentenced teachers in education again. Therefore, the affectation value of this right is medium, and its numerical rating range would be 2.

On the other hand, we consider that the level of satisfaction of the right to freedom of education would be 3, understanding that satisfaction of this right respects the constitutionally protected content of freedom of education. In this way, arbitrary decisions are avoided in the State task of supervising education. It is important here to remark the State has the duty to adopt constitutionally legitimate measures.

If the value of affecting the right to excellence in education is medium and scoring 2, as well as the level of satisfaction of the right to freedom of education is high and score 3, we can certainly affirm that the monitoring system supports the proportionality test and, consequently, is constitutional.



Democracy is a common good that States must protect not only through nominal or semantic Constitutions but, strictly speaking, through public policies whose axis is the effective respect of fundamental rights and the normative primacy of the Constitution.

The transit of ideas in this study has been to give form to the complex relationship that provokes the action of the State in front of the professors sentenced for terrorism who intend to return to education. Thus, there are legal rights of transcendence as the fundamental right to freedom of education, as well as the implications of terrorism as a serious threat against democracy.

The States foresee, in this fight against terrorism, legal restrictions such as the impediment of readmission for teaching of these sentenced teachers, but in fact, there are features of unconstitutionality in this type of decision, and this happens it the sanction extends, beyond the judicial sentence, the repression of the State.

We have started this paper from the idea that punitive action of the State is necessary with respect to this type of crimes and, nevertheless, those State decisions must be respectful of constitutional State, in its formula of respect for the effective enforcement of fundamental rights and the principle of normative primacy of the Constitution.

It is appropriate to emphasize that the State cannot impose a culture of suspicion or a decision system based on prejudice. This happens, in our opinion, when the professor sentenced for terrorism is not readmitted in his purpose to re-teach after complyinghis imprisonment sentence. We qualify this as an ex ante system that remarks unconstitutional characters.

Consequently, we propose an ex post or monitoring system, that accepts readmission of the teacher, but the State adopts effective control measures, through a monitor teacher or through a recording system of classes, in the goal of measuring an adequate development of the classes and of not accepting the preaching in classrooms of violent creeds. This measure is a faithful expression of legitimate defense of the constitutional State.

We have included, with regard to this monitoring proposal, an examination of the measure through the proportionality test, a constitutional interpretation technique that allows determining the compatibility of a rule, disposition or provision with Constitution. The result of this examination has been positive and therefore demonstrates the constitutionality of the measure, which per se is not invasive but is fully justified.

We agree, then, on the need for State restrictions against terrorism, but these decisions demand to be compatible with the principles, values ​​and guidelines that Constitutions of all countries all over the world develop.

In our opinion, there are legitimate charges that democracies impose on States today, and in that purpose of concordance and harmony with common good, it is required from State compatible positions with fundamental rights and with primacy of Constitution. From that perspective, a real constitutional State means a permanent, continuous and sustained action of real protection of principles, values ​​and guidelines of contemporary times.


[1]Paper presented to the X Congress “Violent conflicts, the construction of peace and Constitutional Law”, organized by the International Association of Constitutional Law IACL. Seoul, South Korea, June 18 to 22, 2018.

[2]Doctor in Law. Superior Judge at the Judicial District of Lambayeque, Peru. Professor of the Magistracy Academy of Peru. Teacher of Constitutional Area at San Martín de Porres University, Chiclayo branch. Former fellow of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECID).Member of the Peruvian Association of Constitutional Law and of the International Association of Constitutional Law (IALC). estudiofg@yahoo.com

[3] The closes idea to the notion of material democracy that we propose is linked to the idea of ​​substantial democracy that Luigi Ferrajoli defends, for whom the latter is one of the forms of expression of constitutional democracy, in reference to primary rights, relating to what is decided, and to individual and social rights. Vid DURANGO ALVAREZ, Gerardo. “Aproximaciones conceptuales a la democracia en la Teoría de L. Ferrajoli.” In Opinión Jurídica. Vol. 6, No. 12, p. 196. Julio-Diciembre 2007. Medellín, Colombia. Available at http://www.scielo.org.co/pdf/ojum/v6n12/v6n12a10.pdf.

[4]     ZAGREBELSKY, Gustavo. El derecho dúctil. Ley, derechos, justicia. Madrid. Editorial Trotta, 1995. p. 21.

[5]  CARBONELL, Miguel. “Marbury vs Madison: en los orígenes de la supremacía constitucional y el control de constitucionalidad.” In Revista Iberoamericana de Derecho Procesal Constitucional. Nº 5, Enero- june 2006, p. 298.

[6]ELSTER, Jon, “Ulises desatado: las constituciones como restricciones”. In Ulises desatado: estudios sobre racionalidad, precompromiso y restricciones. Barcelona. Gedisa, 2002, p. 111

[7]   INTER-AMERICAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS. Gelman v. Uruguay. Judgment of February 24, 2011. Fund and reparations.

[8]   Law of expiration of the punitive claim of the State, promulgated in 1986 by the democratic government of Uruguay.

[9] Aphorism understood as “the voice of the people is the voice of God.” Nicolás Machiavelli was already approaching this idea when holding in his Discourse about Tito Livio the expression: “The crowd is wiser and more constant than the prince.”

[10]   STRAUSS, David A. The Living Constitution. Oxford University Press. 2010. p. 51

[11] PEREZ ROYO, Javier. “La democracia frente al terrorismo global”. In Terrorismo, democracia y seguridad, en perspectiva constitucional. AA.VV. Madrid. Marcial Pons, 2010. p. 9

[12]   KELLNER, Douglas. Globalization, terrorism and democracy: 9/11 and its aftermath. p. 2.Available at https://pages.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/kellner/essays/globalizationterroraftermath.pdf.

[13]   REINARES, Fernando.”Estado, democracia liberal y terrorismo político”. In Revista del Centro de Estudios Constitucionales. Num. 16. Setiembre- diciembre 1993. p. 113

[14] SCHMILL ORDOÑEZ, Ulises. Terrorismo y democracia. p. 37. Available in https://archivos.juridicas.unam.mx/www/bjv/libros/2/833/3.pdf

[15]   OENEMA, Marianne. “The interaction between democracy and terrorism”. In Social Cosmos. p. 94. Available in file: /// C: / Users / user / Downloads / 51-186-1-PB% 20 (2) .pdf.

[16]Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 26.

  1. Everyone has the right to education. (…) 
  1. Education shall aim at the full development of the human personality and the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; it will promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations and all ethnic or religious groups, and will promote the development of United Nations activities for the maintenance of peace. (…)

[17]American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man

Article 12. Every person has the right to an education, which should be based on the principles of liberty, morality and human solidarity (…)

[18]UNESCO. United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture. Recommendation No. 27 concerning the status of teaching staff in higher education. Adopted on November 11, 1997 at the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), held in Paris from October 21 to November 12, 1997.

[19] If a sane action damages several legal rights, we must assume that we are dealing with multi-offensive crimes. This leads to a scenario of greater severity.

[20]   Judgment of the Spanish Constitutional Court of June 20, 2012. Sortu case.

[21]   FRANKEL, Nina; GAGE, Anastasia. Fundamentos de monitoreo y evaluación. USAID, 2009.p. 6.Available in file:///C:/Users/usuario/Downloads/ms-07-20-es.pdf

[22]  Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Atala Riffo and girls vs. Chile. Judgment of February 24, 2012 (Merits, reparations and costs).

[23] ALEXY, Robert. Teoría de la argumentación jurídica. Lima. Palestra Editores, 2007. p. 459.

[24]BERNAL PULIDO, Carlos. “Estructura y límites de la ponderación”. In DOXA 26. CUADERNOS DE FILOSOFÍA DEL DERECHO. Universidad de Alicante. 2003. p. 227.

[25] BERNAL PULIDO, Carlos. Op. cit. p. 228

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La Mirada de Peitho

Retos del constitucionalismo en el siglo XXI


Retos del constitucionalismo en el siglo XXI

Justicia en las Américas

Blog de la Fundación para el Debido Proceso

Blog of the IACL, AIDC

a network of constitutionalists from countries throughout the world

Pensamientos de Derecho Constitucional

Retos del constitucionalismo en el siglo XXI

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