Magazine article UN Chronicle

Terrorism Convention Adopted

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Terrorism Convention Adopted

Article excerpt

The Sixth Committee (Legal), chaired by Phakiso Mochochoko of Lesotho, succesfully completed its work on 9 December 1999, when the General Assembly adopted 12 draft resolutions it had recommended. Chief among them was a global treaty designed to cut off funding for terrorist activities. A year after the initial proposal by France, the Assembly followed the Committee's recommendation and adopted without a vote the Convention on the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.

The most recent of 12 anti-terrorism instruments, which cover such acts as bombing, hostage-taking and hijacking, the Convention requires its States parties to criminalize the provision or collection of funds for acts defined as terrorist offences, and to confiscate assets allocated for such purposes. It further provides for liability of legal entities and excludes the possibility of using political motives as any kind of defence. The new Convention, opened for signature on 10 January 2000, will enter into force once it has received 22 ratifications.

In another resolution, adopted by a recorded vote of 149 to none, with 2 abstentions (Lebanon, Syria), the Assembly asked States to enact legislation to ensure that violators of various anti-terrorism instruments are brought to trial. Strongly condemning all terrorist acts as criminal and unjustifiable, it urged States to become parties to the anti-terrorism treaties.

In another matter, the Assembly asked the Preparatory Commission on the International Criminal Court to finalize by 30 June 2000 two key texts: Rules of Procedure and Evidence; and Elements of Crimes. The Preparatory Commission has also begun work on a definition of the crime of aggression. Once a definition is agreed upon, the Court will be able to try individuals for that crime, in addition to genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. For the Court to become operational, 60 ratifications are needed. To date, the Court's Statute has been ratified by six States (Senegal, Trinidad and Tobago, San Marina, Italy, Fiji and Ghana); 91 States have signed the Statute.

In view of the increasing value to global economic development of modernizing international trade law, the Assembly urged that higher priority be given to the work of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) in anticipation of several new trade law texts being readied for adoption: a draft legislative guide on privately financed infrastructure projects; a draft convention on assignment in receivables financing; and uniform rules on electronic signatures. …

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