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International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings
New York, 1997
Core Treaties  
Treaties you might not expect  

Objectives

  The Convention expands the existing legal framework for international cooperation in investigating, prosecuting and extraditing people engaged in terrorist activities. It does this by creating a system of international jurisdiction to punish the crime of terrorist bombings.

  The Convention's goal is a uniform means of guaranteeing that penalties for the offenses the Convention sets forth are applied consistently around the world. It requires each country that is party to the Convention to adopt any measures necessary to establish those offenses as criminal under its domestic law, and to make them punishable with penalties that take into account the grave nature of these acts. When such offenses are meant to provoke a state of terror in the general public, these countries must establish them as criminal under domestic law.

Key Provisions

  Countries that are party to the Convention must, under their domestic laws, criminalize the unlawful and intentional use of explosives and other lethal devices in public places with the intention of causing death, serious bodily injury, or extensive destruction. (The Convention also covers attempts to commit these offenses, and help in committing them.) These countries must extradite or prosecute anyone accused of committing such offenses, or helping commit them.

  The Convention does not apply when:

  • the offense is committed within a single country
  • the alleged offender and the victims are nationals of that country
  • the alleged offender is found in the territory of that country
  • no other country has a basis for exercising jurisdiction.

  The scope of the Convention goes beyond bombing attacks specifically to cover attacks with "explosive or other lethal devices." It also includes a wider range of potential targets than earlier terrorism conventions did, by including references to

  • government facilities
  • infrastructure facilities
  • public transportation systems
  • places of public use.

  The Convention does not apply to military activities whether during armed conflict, or not during armed conflict but during the exercise of official military duties.

  The Convention sets out a system of mandatory and discretionary jurisdiction over the offenses. A country must take measures to establish the necessary jurisdiction if an alleged offender is not extradited to a country that has jurisdiction. The Convention does not exclude the exercise of any criminal jurisdiction established by a country that is party to the Convention in accordance with its domestic law. It also prohibits extraterritorial enforcement jurisdiction.

  The Convention covers the principle of "extradition or prosecution": when a country that is party to the Convention does not extradite an alleged offender, it must prosecute the offender in its own courts.

  Anyone who commits the offenses the Convention describes can be extradited not only in any future extradition treaties, but in treaties that existed before the Convention. In cases where one country that is party to the Convention makes the existence of a treaty a condition of extradition, and another country requests an extradition when there is no extradition treaty in force, the Convention may be considered a legal basis for extradition. In cases where extradition is not conditional on the existence of a treaty, offenses under the Convention will be recognized as extraditable.

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