Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism

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The Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism is a proposed treaty which intends to criminalize all[citation needed] forms of international terrorism and deny terrorists, their financiers and supporters access to funds, arms, and safe havens. The negotiations for this treaty are currently (May 2018) under way has been[clarification needed] under negotiation at the United Nations General Assembly's Ad Hoc Committee established by Resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996 on Terrorism and the United Nations General Assembly Sixth Committee (Legal). The negotiations are currently deadlocked (Recently - JULY 2017 - the question regarding this has been asked in Loksabha and answered by Minister of External Affairs) even after two decades of proposal i.e. through 1996 till 2016.

Although consensus eludes towards adoption of the terrorism convention, but discussions have yielded three separate protocols that aim to tackle terrorism: International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, adopted on 15 December 1997; International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, adopted on 9 December 1999; and International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, adopted on 13 April 2005.

Deadlock[edit]

Currently, the negotiations of the Comprehensive Terrorism Convention are deadlocked because of differences over the definition of terrorism. Thalif Deen described the situation as follows: "The key sticking points in the draft treaty revolve around several controversial yet basic issues, including the definition of ´terrorism´. For example, what distinguishes a "terrorist organisation" from a 'liberation movement'? And do you exclude activities of national armed forces, even if they are perceived to commit acts of terrorism? If not, how much of this constitutes 'state terrorism'?"[1] India proposed this convention in 1996 and has since demanded consistently, especially in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The issue was once again pushed by the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in his address at the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly held in September 2014.[2] India further pressed for the adoption of CCIT following the July 2016 Dhaka attack.[3]

Proposed comprehensive definition of terrorism[edit]

Being a criminal law instrument, the definition of terrorism to be included in the proposed Convention must have, in the words of Carlos Diaz-Paniagua, the coordinator of negotiations on the proposed convention, the necessary "legal precision, certainty, and fair-labeling of the criminal conduct – all which emanate from the basic human rights obligation to observe due process."[4] It cannot be a political definition.

The definition of the crime of terrorism which has been on the negotiating table of the Comprehensive Convention since 2002 reads as follows:

"1. Any person commits an offence within the meaning of this Convention if that person, by any means, unlawfully and intentionally, causes:

(a) Death or serious bodily injury to any person; or
(b) Serious damage to public or private property, including a place of public use, a State or government facility, a public transportation system, an infrastructure facility or the environment; or
(c) Damage to property, places, facilities, or systems referred to in paragraph1 (b) of this article, resulting or likely to result in major economic loss,

when the purpose of the conduct, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a Government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act."[5]

This definition is not controversial in itself; the deadlock in the negotiations arises instead from the opposing views on whether such a definition would be applicable to the armed forces of a state and to Self-determination movements. The coordinator of the negotiations, supported by most western delegations, proposed the following exceptions to address those issues:

"1. Nothing in this Convention shall affect other rights, obligations and responsibilities of States, peoples 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.

3. The activities undertaken by the 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.

4. Nothing in this article condones or makes lawful otherwise unlawful acts, nor precludes prosecution under other laws."[6]

The state members of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference proposed instead the following exceptions:

"2. The activities of the parties during an armed conflict, including in situations of foreign occupation, as those terms are understood under international humanitarian law, which are governed by that law, are not governed by this Convention.

3. The activities undertaken by the military forces of a State in the exercise of their official duties, inasmuch as they are in conformity with international law, are not governed by this Convention."[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thalif Deen, POLITICS: U.N. Member States Struggle to Define Terrorism Archived 11 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine., IPS 25 July 2005.
  2. ^ "India to garner support for anti-terror initiative CCIT at BRICS". The Economic Times. 15 October 2016. Retrieved 17 November 2017. 
  3. ^ "Dhaka Attack: India calls for quick adoption of CCIT IN UN General Assembly". The Financial Express. 2 July 2016. Retrieved 17 November 2017. 
  4. ^ Robert P. Barnidge, Non-State Actors and Terrorism: Applying the Law of State Responsibility and the Due Diligence Principle 2007, p. 17.
  5. ^ United Nations General Assembly, Report of the Ad Hoc Committee established by General Assembly resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996, Sixth session (28 January-1 February 2002), Annex II, art. 2.1.
  6. ^ United Nations General Assembly, Report of the Ad Hoc Committee established by General Assembly resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996, Sixth session (28 January-1 February 2002), Annex IV, art. 18.
  7. ^ United Nations General Assembly, Report of the Ad Hoc Committee established by General Assembly resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996, Sixth session (28 January-1 February 2002), Annex IV, art. 18.