Nuclear Terrorism Convention
|International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism|
|Type||anti-terrorism, international criminal law|
|Drafted||13 April 2005|
|Signed||14 September 2005|
|Location||New York, United States|
|Effective||7 July 2007|
|Depositary||United Nations Secretary-General|
|Languages||Arabic Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish|
The Nuclear Terrorism Convention (formally, the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism) is a 2005 United Nations treaty designed to criminalise acts of nuclear terrorism and to promote police and judicial cooperation to prevent, investigate and punish those acts. As of February 2014, the convention has 115 signatories and 91 state parties, including the nuclear powers China, France, India, Russia, and the United Kingdom. (The United States has signed the treaty but has not ratified it.)
The Convention covers a broad range of acts and possible targets, including nuclear power plants and nuclear reactors; covers threats and attempts to commit such crimes or to participate in them, as an accomplice; stipulates that offenders shall be either extradited or prosecuted; encourages States to cooperate in preventing terrorist attacks by sharing information and assisting each other in connection with criminal investigations and extradition proceedings; and, deals with both crisis situations, assisting States to solve the situations and post-crisis situations by rendering nuclear material safe through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Definition of the crime of nuclear terrorism
Article 2 of the convention defines the offence of Nuclear terrorism as follows:
1. Any person commits an offence within the meaning of this Convention if that person unlawfully and intentionally:
(a) Possesses radioactive material or makes or possesses a device:
- (i) With the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury; or
- (ii) With the intent to cause substantial damage to property or to the environment;
(b)Uses in any way radioactive material or a device, or uses or damages anuclear facility in a manner which releases or risks the release of radioactive material:
At the same time, article 4 expressly excludes the application of the convention to the use of nuclear devices during armed conflicts, without recognizing though the legality of the use of nuclear weapons:
1. Nothing in this Convention shall affect other rights, obligations and responsibilities of States and individuals under international law, in particular the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and international humanitarian law.
2. The activities of armed forces during an armed conflict, as those terms are understood under international humanitarian law, which are governed by that law are not governed by this Convention, and the activities undertaken by military forces of a State in the exercise of their official duties, inasmuch as they are governed by other rules of international law, are not governed by this Convention.
3. The provisions of paragraph 2of the present article shall not be interpreted as condoning or making lawful otherwise unlawful acts, or precluding prosecution under otherlaws.
- Definition of terrorism
- International conventions on terrorism
- United Nations General Assembly Sixth Committee (Legal)
- Heather R. Demner, The Nuclear Terrorism Convention: Will Detainees be classified as "enemy combatants" by the United States? 12 ILSA Journal of International & Comparative Law, 641 (2006).
- C.F. Diaz-Paniagua, Negotiating terrorism: The negotiation dynamics of four UN counter-terrorism treaties, 1997-2005, City University of New York (2008).
- Odette Jankowitsch-Prevor, International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, 76 OECD/NEA Nuclear Law Bulletin (2005).
- Christopher C. Joyner Countering Nuclear Terrorism: A Conventional Response, 18 European Journal of International Law 225 (2007).
- Introductory note by A. Rohan Perera, procedural history note and audiovisual material on the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism in the Historic Archives of the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law