Press Releases

    31 January 2002

    Ad Hoc Committee Engaged in Consultations on Convening High-Level Conference on International Terrorism

    Convention on Nuclear Terrorism, Comprehensive Convention on Terrorism Also Envisaged

    NEW YORK, 30 January (UN Headquarters) -- The Ad Hoc Committee on international terrorism met this afternoon to confirm its deliberations on the convening of a high-level conference on terrorism and on the elaboration of two instruments, a convention on nuclear terrorism and a comprehensive convention on terrorism.

    Opening the meeting, Ad Hoc Committee Chairman Rohan Perera of Sri Lanka summarized the subjects of the informal consultations. He said Richard Rowe of Australia, who had been coordinating the informal consultations, would present an oral report tomorrow.

    With regard to convening a high-level conference under the auspices of the United Nations to formulate a joint international response to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, the representative of Egypt said bilateral consultations were being held with capitals in concert with the informal consultations. Information would be made available as it arrived.

    For its consideration of the draft convention on the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism, the Committee had before it the revised text proposed by the Friends of the Chairman, contained as Annex I in a 1998 report of the Sixth Committee (Legal) (document A/C.6/53/L.4). The 28-article draft defines terms such as "radioactive", "nuclear" and "facility". It defines the types of offences covered by the convention and those to whom the convention's provisions would apply. It sets out the obligations of States in signing or acceding to the convention in such areas as apprehension of offenders and protection of hazardous materials.

    Further, the convention sets forth the procedures to be followed when offences were committed, including the rights of those suspected of the wrongful acts and the obligations of States to cooperate in bringing offenders to justice. Also covered by the convention are procedures for the disposition of seized materials, with an emphasis on protecting States, parties or entities unprepared to deal with the materials unexpectedly in their jurisdiction. Finally, the draft contains provisions for determining jurisdictions, resolving disputes and proposing amendments to the convention.

    For its consideration of the comprehensive convention on international terrorism, the Committee has before it a 2001 Sixth Committee report in which the draft text is included as Annex I (document A/C.6/56/L.9). It indicates that articles 1, 2 and 18 are still to be elaborated, as is the preamble. The comprehensive convention is intended to fill the gaps and define the applicability of existing and future instruments related to sectoral aspects of terrorism. (For further background on the convention, see Press Release L/2989 of 29 January.)

    The Ad Hoc Committee, known formally as the Ad Hoc Committee Established by General Assembly Resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996, has the task of harmonizing international legal structures for combating terrorism. Two treaties have already been negotiated, a 1997 Convention on suppression of terrorist bombings and a 1999 Convention on suppressing the financing of terrorism.

    The Ad Hoc Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 31 January, to continue its consultations and to consider its report for this, its sixth session.

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