UN Security Council Resolution 1566
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This resolution, introduced by Russia and adopted unanimously by the security council, provides an internationally recognized definition of terror for the first time and calls on countries to prosecute terrorists who aid and abet terrorists.
The resolution was inspired by the mass terror attack in Beslan, Ossetia, in which hundreds of students and their teachers were killed by Chechenyan separatists who had held them hostage in a school. It was given further impetus perhaps by terror attacks in the Sinai which killed Israelis, Russians and Egyptians.
The definition of terror was remarkable in that for the first time it seems to provide an inclusive ban on all forms of violence that intentionally targets civilians, regardless of the motive: Paragraph 3 states:
“3. Recalls that criminal acts, including against civilians, committed with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, or taking of hostages, with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public or in a group of persons or particular persons, intimidate a population or compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act, and all other acts which constitute offences within the scope of and as defined in the international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism, are under no circumstances justifiable by considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or other similar nature, and calls upon all States to prevent such acts and, if not prevented, to ensure that such acts are punished by penalties consistent with their grave nature;
While, the language would appear to be straightforward the UN press release noted, however, that not all states accepted the obvious interpretation:
Algeria’s representative, noting that the resolution had avoided linking acts of terror and the legitimate right to fight against foreign occupation, said the text would significantly enhance the anti-terror campaign.
The resolution is also noteworthy for what it does not do. It does not impose any penalties on states that do not cooperate in prosecuting terrorists nor on states that provide a haven for terrorists, and it does not call for a ban on incitement to terror. Moreover, the list of organizations that might be considered terrorist groups is not included in the resolution, and is bound to be a subject of controversy.
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United Nations S/RES/1566 (2004)
7 October, 2004
Resolution 1566 (2004)
The Security Council,
Reaffirming its resolutions 1267 (1999) of 15 October 1999 and 1373 (2001) of 28 September 2001 as well as its other resolutions concerning threats to international peace and security caused by terrorism,
Recalling in this regard its resolution 1540 (2004) of 28 April 2004,
Reaffirming also the imperative to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law,
Deeply concerned by the increasing number of victims, including children, caused by acts of terrorism motivated by intolerance or extremism in various regions of the world,
Calling upon States to cooperate fully with the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) established pursuant to resolution 1373 (2001), including the recently established Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), the “Al-Qaida/Taliban Sanctions Committee” established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999) and its Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, and the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004), and further calling upon such bodies to enhance cooperation with each other,
Reminding States that they must ensure that any measures taken to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, and should adopt such measures in accordance with international law, in particular international human rights, refugee, and humanitarian law,
Reaffirming that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to peace and security,
Considering that acts of terrorism seriously impair the enjoyment of human rights and threaten the social and economic development of all States and undermine global stability and prosperity,
Emphasizing that enhancing dialogue and broadening the understanding among civilizations, in an effort to prevent the indiscriminate targeting of different religions and cultures, and addressing unresolved regional conflicts and the full range of global issues, including development issues, will contribute to international cooperation, which by itself is necessary to sustain the broadest possible fight against terrorism,
Reaffirming its profound solidarity with victims of terrorism and their families,
Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
1. Condemns in the strongest terms all acts of terrorism irrespective of their motivation, whenever and by whomsoever committed, as one of the most serious threats to peace and security;
2. Calls upon States to cooperate fully in the fight against terrorism, especially with those States where or against whose citizens terrorist acts are committed, in accordance with their obligations under international law, in order to find, deny safe haven and bring to justice, on the basis of the principle to extradite or prosecute, any person who supports, facilitates, participates or attempts to participate in the financing, planning, preparation or commission of terrorist acts or provides safe havens;
3. Recalls that criminal acts, including against civilians, committed with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, or taking of hostages, with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public or in a group of persons or particular persons, intimidate a population or compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act, and all other acts which constitute offences within the scope of and as defined in the international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism, are under no circumstances justifiable by considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or other similar nature, and calls upon all States to prevent such acts and, if not prevented, to ensure that such acts are punished by penalties consistent with their grave nature;
4. Calls upon all States to become party, as a matter of urgency, to the relevant international conventions and protocols whether or not they are a party to regional conventions on the matter;
5. Calls upon Member States to cooperate fully on an expedited basis in resolving all outstanding issues with a view to adopting by consensus the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism and the draft international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism;
6. Calls upon relevant international, regional and subregional organizations to strengthen international cooperation in the fight against terrorism and to intensify their interaction with the United Nations and, in particular, the CTC with a view to facilitating full and timely implementation of resolution 1373 (2001);
7. Requests the CTC in consultation with relevant international, regional and subregional organizations and the United Nations bodies to develop a set of best practices to assist States in implementing the provisions of resolution 1373 (2001) related to the financing of terrorism;
8. Directs the CTC, as a matter of priority and, when appropriate, in close cooperation with relevant international, regional and subregional organizations to start visits to States, with the consent of the States concerned, in order to enhance the monitoring of the implementation of resolution 1373 (2001) and facilitate the provision of technical and other assistance for such implementation;
9. Decides to establish a working group consisted of all members of the Security Council to consider and submit recommendations to the Council on practical measures to be imposed upon individuals, groups or entities involved in or associated with terrorist activities, other than those designated by the Al-Qaida/Taliban Sanctions Committee, including more effective procedures considered to be appropriate for bringing them to justice through prosecution or extradition, freezing of their financial assets, preventing their movement through the territories of Member States, preventing supply to them of all types of arms and related material, and on the procedures for implementing these measures;
10. Requests further the working group, established under paragraph 9 to consider the possibility of establishing an international fund to compensate victims of terrorist acts and their families, which might be financed through voluntary contributions, which could consist in part of assets seized from terrorist organizations, their members and sponsors, and submit its recommendations to the Council;
11. Requests the Secretary-General to take, as a matter of urgency, appropriate steps to make the CTED fully operational and to inform the Council by 15 November 2004;
12. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.
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