Nuclear Terrorism Convention

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Nuclear Terrorism Convention
International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism
Type anti-terrorism, international criminal law
Drafted 13 April 2005
Signed 14 September 2005
Location New York City, United States
Effective 7 July 2007
Condition 22 ratifications
Signatories 115
Parties 100
Depositary United Nations Secretary-General
Languages Arabic Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish

The Nuclear Terrorism Convention (formally, the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism) is a 2005 United Nations treaty designed to criminalize acts of nuclear terrorism and to promote police and judicial cooperation to prevent, investigate and punish those acts. As of October 2015, the convention has 115 signatories and 100 state parties, including the nuclear powers China, France, India, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.[1]

The Convention covers a broad range of acts and possible targets, including nuclear power plants and nuclear reactors; covers threats and attempts to commit such crimes or to participate in them, as an accomplice; stipulates that offenders shall be either extradited or prosecuted; encourages States to cooperate in preventing terrorist attacks by sharing information and assisting each other in connection with criminal investigations and extradition proceedings; and, deals with both crisis situations, assisting States to solve the situations and post-crisis situations by rendering nuclear material safe through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Definition of the crime of nuclear terrorism

Article 2 of the convention defines the offence of Nuclear terrorism as follows:

1. Any person commits an offence within the meaning of this Convention if that person unlawfully and intentionally:

(a) Possesses radioactive material or makes or possesses a device:

(i) With the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury; or
(ii) With the intent to cause substantial damage to property or to the environment;

(b)Uses in any way radioactive material or a device, or uses or damages a nuclear facility in a manner which releases or risks the release of radioactive material:

(i) With the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury; or
(ii) With the intent to cause substantial damage to property or to the environment; or
(iii)With the intent to compel a natural or legal person, an international organization or a State to do or refrain from doing an act.[2]

At the same time, article 4 expressly excludes the application of the convention to the use of nuclear devices during armed conflicts, without recognizing though the legality of the use of nuclear weapons:

1. Nothing in this Convention shall affect other rights, obligations and responsibilities of States 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, and the activities undertaken by 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.

3. The provisions of paragraph 2 of the present article shall not be interpreted as condoning or making lawful otherwise unlawful acts, or precluding prosecution under other laws.

4. This Convention does not address, nor can it be interpreted as addressing, in any way, the issue of the legality of the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons by States.[3]

See also


  1. Ratifications.
  2. Nuclear Terrorism Convention, art. 1.
  3. Nuclear Terrorism Convention, art. 4.


External links