Beijing Protocol (Protocol to the 1971 Hague Convention on the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft)

Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, member states of ICAO endorsed a global plan for strengthening aviation security, to include a review of legal instruments in aviation security to identify gaps and inadequacies in relation to emerging threats. It was concluded that the use of aircraft as weapons, suicide attacks, electronic and computer-based attacks, chemical, biological and radioactive attacks, were not adequately cov­ered by existing agreements.

It was also concluded that existing law focused mainly on persons who actually perpe­trated the attacks, usually on board the aircraft or at the airport, without considering the people who might be responsible for organizing, direct­ing, or financing the attack.

The Beijing Convention and the Beijing Pro­tocol may be considered together as two new coun­terterrorism treaties that promote and improve aviation security. These agreements 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 chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons is a pun­ishable offense, as well as conspiracies to carry out such attacks. Making threats against civil aviation is also covered. The effect of these provisions is to require signatories to criminalize these acts.

After entry into force, the Beijing Con­vention of 2010 will prevail over the Montreal Convention of 1971 and the Protocol signed in Montreal in 1988.

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