Responding to Transport-Related Terrorist Offences

In a global context, illegal acts against aircraft, ships, their passengers, cargo or crew, airports and sea ports represent an alarming threat.

The  importance of addressing this growing threat is demonstrated by the fact that 11 of the 18 international legal instruments related to the prevention and suppression of terrorism have been adopted to address violent acts against international civil aviation and maritime navigation. An effective legal regime and adequate criminal justice response measures are essential to prevent and counter terrorist acts and serious criminal offences against means of transportation. However, many States are yet to ratify and implement the provisions contained in the maritime and aviation-related conventions and protocols. Moreover, the capacity of criminal justice officials to implement these standards needs to be further strengthened given that, in many countries, criminal justice officials lack the specialized expertise required to effectively prosecute and adjudicate unlawful acts committed against the safety of air and maritime navigation, fixed platforms located on the continental shelf, and acts of violence against persons onboard an aircraft, vessel or a fixed platform.

 The Terrorism Prevention Branch (TPB) supports Member States by providing technical assistance in the ratification, legislative incorporation and implementation of all the universal legal instruments related to terrorism, including the most recent conventions and protocols related to maritime and aviation security, adopted in 2005 and 2010 respectively. The Branch also provides specialized assistance to build the capacities required for criminal justice officials to handle cases involving maritime and aviation-related terrorism. As part of its ongoing efforts in this subject area, TPB is currently developing, in consultation with the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Maritime Organization, a new legal training curriculum module on Transport-related (civil aviation and maritime) terrorism offences. The module is a technical assistance tool for training purposes that aims to familiarize counter-terrorism practitioners and interested readers with the requirements of the international legal instruments to effectively implement the provisions related to maritime and civil aviation terrorist offences.