UN: no consesus over the definition of terrorism

From the Counterterrorism blog:

The UN appears no closer to working out a consensus on a definition of terrorism – a key element holding up the adoption of new UN Comprehensive Anti Terrorism Convention – than it was at the start of this sixtieth session of the UN General Assembly last fall. Achieving a Comprehensive Anti Terrorism Treaty is one of the principal objectives set by heads of state attending this special anniversary session. Nevertheless, UN legal committee negotiators continue to wrangle over phrases that continue to convey major differences over the application and scope of the convention. The drafters, members of a working group of the UN General Assembly’s Sixth (Legal Affairs) Committee ended their week-long meeting March 3rd without even setting a new date to reconvene. All 191 UN members have a seat on the working group.

Following negotiations last summer, the Sixth Committee Working Group Coordinator put together a consolidated draft convention text for further consideration. Article 2 in that draft states:

1. Any person commits an offence within the meaning of the present Convention
if that person, by any means, unlawfully and intentionally, causes:
(a) Death or serious bodily injury to any person; or
(b) Serious damage to public or private property, including a place of public
use, a State or government facility, a public transportation system, an infrastructure
facility or to the environment; or
(c) Damage to property, places, facilities or systems referred to in paragraph
1 (b) of the present article resulting or likely to result in major economic loss;
when the purpose of the conduct, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a
population, or to compel a Government or an international organization to do or to
abstain from doing any act.
2. Any person also commits an offence if that person makes a credible and
serious threat to commit an offence as set forth in paragraph 1 of the present article.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference Countries (OIC) protested the consolidated draft stating that it prejudiced its position in the negotiations. The OIC, along with the Unaligned Group insist on additional language in the treaty that could be interpreted as exempting armed resistance groups involved in so-called “struggles against colonial domination and foreign occupation.” At the same time they want the convention to specifically cover the activities of regular armed forces, which, because they are covered by other humanitarian and Law of War Conventions, now fall outside the purview of the terrorism convention. (For more details on these issues see my October 25, 2005 Blog)

Read all: I repeat it: the OIC wants to exempt armed resistance groups “on struggles against colonial domination and foreig occupation” and to punish the regular armed forces. These countries are the same that signed an Islamic Human Rights Treaty, that do not apply the Human Rights all the other countries in the world -regardless their religion- apply and that are funding just now Hamas, that yesterday rejected (again) the two state-road map.

A Hamas spokesman in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) told AFP, the French news agency, that Hamas rejects the two-state Road Map. Assad Farhat said Hamas

considers the Road Map an “American Zionist program”, in response to a Russian Foreign Minister’s statement that Hamas has not turned down the Road Map.

Farhat said Hamas would only be willing to negotiate with Israel under the these conditions:

– “When Israel announces that it will retreat from the conquered territories of 1967
– releases the Palestinian [terrorist] prisoners
– stops its aggression against the Palestinian nation
– announces its willingness to solve the refugee problem [accepts the right of return of millions of Arabs into Israel

only then will we agree to negotiate.”

Arabian Dissent has a very good comment about these “conditions“.

Other blogs treating this issue: Noisy Room.Net, The Muslim Question.

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Filed under Israel-Palestine, terrorism, UN

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