Diplomatic Conference Adopts Beijing Convention and Protocol

Montreal, 10 September 2010 – Under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a diplomatic conference in Beijing composed of representatives from 77 States adopted two international air law instruments for the suppression of unlawful acts relating to civil aviation.

The two instruments adopted by the Diplomatic Conference on Aviation Security held from 30 August to 10 September are the Convention on the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Relating to International Civil Aviation and the Protocol Supplementary to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft.

Since the 1960s, a number of treaties on aviation security have been concluded under the auspices of ICAO. These legal instruments criminalize acts against international civil aviation, such as hijacking and sabotage, and facilitate the cooperation between States to make sure that such acts do not go unpunished. The treaties adopted in Beijing further criminalize the act of using civil aircraft as a weapon, and of using dangerous materials to attack aircraft or other targets on the ground. The unlawful transport of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons and their related material becomes now punishable under the treaties. Moreover, directors and organizers of attacks against aircraft and airports will have no safe haven. Making a threat against civil aviation may also trigger criminal liability.

“We need to send a clear message to the international community, and to terrorist groups, that any form of unlawful interference against civil aviation is not tolerable,” said Mr. Roberto Kobeh González, the President of the Council of ICAO. “Let’s work together to construct a modern great wall to safeguard international civil aviation.”

Some 400 participants from more than 80 States and international organizations attended the Conference. The Conference unanimously elected Mr. XIA Xinghua from China as the President, and Mr. Terry Olson from France as the First-Vice President.

A specialized agency of the United Nations, ICAO was created in 1944 to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world. It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity, as well as for aviation environmental protection. The Organization serves as the forum for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its 190 Contracting States.

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