Top UN legal official calls for ratification of treaty against nuclear terrorism
15 December 2006 – The United Nations top legal official today appealed to Member States to become parties to the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.
“The Convention closes for signature on 31 December,” said the UN Legal Counsel, Nicolas Michel. “Currently, more than 110 States have signed and 11 have ratified, hitting the half-way mark as the Convention needs 22 ratifications to enter into force. I call on Member States to join in this crucial treaty as soon as possible.”
The Convention, adopted by the General Assembly on 13 April 2005, covers a broad range of possible targets, including nuclear power plants and nuclear reactors. Under its provisions, the alleged offenders must be either extradited or prosecuted. States are to cooperate in preventing terrorist attacks by sharing information and assisting each other in criminal investigations and extradition proceedings.
“The Convention will play a crucial role in preventing terrorists from gaining access to weapons of mass destruction, the use of which could lead to catastrophic consequences,” Mr. Michel said. “It will strengthen the international legal framework for suppressing terrorism and be a valuable addition to the already existing universal anti-terrorism conventions.”
Of the five terrorism-related treaties deposited with the UN Secretary-General, this Convention is the only one not in force, Mr. Michel said. “We are approaching the second anniversary of its adoption, and it would be wonderful if it could enter into force in 2007.”
States which are not in a position to sign the Convention before 31 December 2006 will retain the possibility of becoming party to the Convention at a later stage by acceding to it directly.
On 8 September 2006 all 192 UN Member States adopted the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which Secretary-General Kofi Annan called “an historic breakthrough in many ways”.
“The General Assembly has set out its vision for defeating terrorism around the world,” Mr. Annan said on that occasion. “Member States must embark without delay on the journey they have mapped out so carefully. They must start translating their commitments into reality at once.”
In the Strategy’s Plan of Action Member States commit to become parties without delay to the existing international conventions and protocols against terrorism and also pledge to implement their provisions.
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