The UN’s Fight Against Terrorism: Five Years After 9/11

The UN’s Fight Against Terrorism: Five Years After 9/11

Theme: This ARI describes and analyses the anti-terrorism measures undertaken by the United Nations, and more specifically by the Security Council, since the 9/11 attacks, and explains the problems that are hindering progress.

Summary: In the five years since the 9/11 attacks, the Security Council, which is quite often a victim to the influence of events, has been consistent in its condemnation of terrorism, strong in the adoption of measures, and resolute in the study of the phenomenon and in the search for new ways to combat it. All of this is underscored by the various resolutions that have been passed since then. Meanwhile, Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General, has been increasingly active in this area. Nonetheless, profound differences of opinion on the definition of terrorism have prevented Member States from reaching agreement on a general Convention against this threat to international peace and security. The danger of a bureaucratising and repetitive tendency, motivated by those who wish to leave the established system devoid of content, hampers the UN’s anti-terrorism efforts, as well as tensions among the five permanent members of the Security Council and in the General Assembly.

Analysis: The main impact on worldwide public opinion of 9/11 was to provoke such a strong and widespread rejection and condemnation that it produced a different sensitivity to the indiscriminate violence used by non-state groups to achieve their political ends. The attacks represented a watershed in the perception of international terrorism and thus in the measures that might be adopted to combat it, and eventually to eradicate it for ever. This statement, however, needs to be put into context: before September 2001 terrorism existed in all of its various forms, and countries had not been exactly defenceless when it came to facing up to it; moreover, nor has it been smooth sailing since then. We should also not overlook the fact that terrorism that claims to be Islamic was sufficiently well known before the destruction of the Twin Towers. But the orgy of barbarism brought about by Bin Laden and his followers in American cities is far worse than anything suffered up to then and made a change of attitude urgently necessary. From isolated acts of terrorism –what many considered to be just ‘disturbance tactics’, limited both in space and in their claims, seldom applauded but quite often understood, or at least tolerated, or perhaps explained away as the result of malformations that had never been adequately resolved– there has been a practically seamless shift to a global attempt at destruction, where the target is not a particular nation, but rather the whole fabric of the current international order. It is a ‘strategic threat’. A shiver ran down the spine of the international community after 9/11. Even those Members of the UN, who by virtue of their sympathy, or various affinities, might have been tempted to explain what had happened in terms of the stance derived from a certain view of the world understood the threat. There was no justification for the slaughter, nor understanding for those who had ordered its carrying out, nor were there any extenuating circumstances for the criminals and their accomplices. Nobody, not even the most powerful, was immune from such attacks. In quite a short space of time, and one enveloped in a profound and emotional anxiety, the international community came to realise that as the risk is different so too should be the response. While terrorism is brazenly imposing itself on the agenda of international issues, everybody believes that the solution, if indeed one exists, must be sought through a strengthened will of international co-operation.

The UN responded almost immediately and took up the challenge. The Security Council, which had unreservedly condemned the 9/11 attacks immediately, in resolution 1368 (2001), only a few weeks later, on 28 September, adopted resolution 1373 (2001), which has become a cornerstone  in the UN’s concept of terrorism and in its anti-terrorist actions. It is a resolution adopted pursuant to Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which contains legally enforceable obligations issued from the UN that can result in the threat of sanctions. This resolution was unanimously adopted by the members of the Security Council. The resolution imposes general obligations on all Member States –such as the criminalisation of both terrorism and its financing– and recommends a wide series of measures in terms of international co-operation against terrorism, ranging from collaboration between police and intelligence services to that between judiciaries, while at the same time asking for the signing and ratification of the international instruments against terrorism that have been approved by the General Assembly. [1] These agreements, which numbered 12 at the time of the approval of Resolution 1373, and which currently stand at 13, reflect the activity carried out within the framework of the United Nations against terrorism since the 1960’s. Every imaginable act of terrorism is covered by these agreements; together they constitute a veritable instruction manual on the actions that Member States must take in order to prevent terrorism.

Naturally, Security Council resolutions concerning terrorism prior to 9/11 must also be added to this number. Resolution 1267 of 15 October, 1999 had laid down a sanctions regime for people and institutions associated with al-Quaeda and the Taliban, the list of which is at the disposal of a Monitoring Committee – created as a subsidiary body of the Council to track implementation of the resolution. Prior to this the Council had imposed sanctions against Libya as a result of its participation in the terrorist attack on the Pan Am jet that went down in Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988, as well as for the attack on the French airline UTA felled in Niger in September 1989. The Council had also imposed sanctions against Sudan for providing shelter to those responsible for the terrorist attack against the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, in June 1995 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the African Unity summit. In both cases, and though the results of the Council’s actions took some time to bear fruit, especially in Libya’s case, the initiative achieved nearly all of the desired effects. Sudan handed over those suspected of being responsible for the attack in Egypt, while Libya did the same, either making the suspects available to the French justice system, or to the Dutch courts in The Netherlands, albeit subject to Scottish law, and having agreed to pay compensation to the victims. We should also bear in mind the many resolutions concerning terrorism approved by the General Assembly since the start of the Organisation. Such resolutions cover different aspects of terrorism, including  respect for human rights, and are always a useful pointer to learning about the state of mind of the international community and underscore their usefulness in the event of having been approved unanimously by Member States. When the international community was rocked by 9/11, the least that can be said is that the United Nations, through its Member States, had already manifested over many years its condemnation and resolute rejection of terrorism. It goes without saying that 9/11 forced a rethink of the phenomenon of terrorism in international life. The first response in this changing scenario is reflected in Resolution 1373.

As I have already stated, this resolution represents a new factor in the attitude of the Security Council – the imposition of obligations on all Member States. In accordance with normal UN procedures, it is up to the General Assembly to ‘legislate’, while it is Council’s responsibility to make decisions that concern issues affecting international peace and security; decisions that are normally translated into actions against those who have committed violations, and who have been explicitly identified as being in breach of them. Resolution 1373 is a compulsory, international legal regulation adopted by the Security Council. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that since its approval it has been critically received as representing an ‘invasion’ by the Council of the powers that were, in principle, conferred on the General Assembly, even more so, if one bears in mind that the text associates terrorism unequivocally with acts contrary to international peace and security. Those who resent the incursion of the Security Council into the responsibilities of the General Assembly hold the atmosphere of upheaval created by the 9/11 attacks as responsible for the forceful text of the resolution, but no member of the international community, except for a slight and relatively insignificant exception, has publicly dared to oppose compliance with the resolution’s provisions. On the contrary, the Resolution has created a decidedly favourable dynamic, clearly inspired by the widespread conviction against terrorism in all of its forms.

All of this has been fomented in the resolution itself by creating another subsidiary body, the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), the basic aim of which is to check compliance with the terms of the resolution through a continuous and direct relationship with all Member States. The relationship also includes the provision of technical assistance to those countries that do not have sufficient resources to enable them to comply with the Council’s rules. In the five years since 2001, the CTC has received over 600 reports from member states in response to the letters it sent regarding the level of compliance with the resolution. There has also been a considerable increase in the ratification of International Conventions on terrorism: after the approval of resolution 1373, the 12 Conventions that existed prior to 9/11 received from one to two-thirds of the corresponding ratifications after 2001. The total number reached around 180 for  protection of air navigation and 120 for protection of nuclear materials or the making of plastic explosives. The latest Convention, concerning nuclear terrorism, was adopted by the General Assembly on 13 April, 2005, and immediately received 82 signatories. It has currently been taken on board by 106 countries, while three have actually ratified it. This new and praiseworthy readiness to sign and ratify anti-terrorist conventions undoubtedly has a lot to do with 9/11 and Resolution 1373.

The impetus acquired by the Security Council in the field of anti-terrorism has manifested itself in several ways over the last five years. The first measure arose a little after the adoption of Resolution 1373 and is a clear reaffirmation of it: Resolution 1377 of 12 November, 2001, which refers to ‘the global effort to combat terrorism’. In the same sense, though at greater length, and also reaffirming the validity of Resolution 1373, a statement ‘on the issue of combating  terrorism’ was added as a rider to Resolution 1456 (2003) approved, like the previous one, at the Ministerial session of the Council on 20 January, 2003.

On 26 March, 2004 the Security Council adopted Resolution 1535, which endorses the so-called revitalisation plan of the Counter-Terrorism Committee and sets up the Committee’s Executive Board, whose task is to help the Committee carry out its responsibilities. The drawing-up of this text was a long and very meticulous labour. The final impulse came with another tragic event – the March 11, 2004 terrorist attacks in Madrid on commuter trains as they headed for Atocha station. The Executive Board was set up as a ‘special political mission’ included in and governed by the rules of the United Nations in order to serve the Committee and its members.

Another terrible terrorist attack, carried out on a school in Beslan in the Russian Federation by pro-independence Chechen rebels in September 2004, gave rise to Resolution 1566 (2004), which was adopted by the Council on 8 October, 2004, and includes certain significant novelties. It offers a definition of terrorism, urges the Counter-Terrorism Committee to begin a series of visits to member states, as an extra measure to check the degree of compliance with Resolution 1373, and creates a working group to extend the list of terrorist individuals and organisations to others that are not exclusively associated with al-Quaeda and the Taliban, as well as consider ‘the possibility of setting up an international compensation fund for terrorist victims and their families’. Some months before, on 28 April, 2004, the Council approved Resolution 1540 aimed at preventing member states from supplying ‘any form of support to non-state actors that attempt to develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery’. Moreover, the resolution covers a series of measures to hinder the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, thus extending its scope beyond the strict confines of the fight against terrorism. The new obligations meant that its implementation became a slow and laborious task, something that did not exempt it from criticism as some members saw the Council as going back to interfering in matters that are the remit of the General Assembly. Resolution 1540, as with 1267 or 1373 before it, set up a Committee, a subsidiary body to the Council, charged with monitoring compliance. This is the only resolution over the last five years that has not been motivated or inspired by terrorist attacks and perhaps for that very reason it underlines with greater force the steadfast political will shown by the Council when it comes to taking preventative measures against terrorism.

The list is completed by Resolution 1624, adopted by the Council on 14 September in 2005 on one of those rare occasions when the body held a meeting at the head-of-state level – three in its entire history. This meeting was tragically brought about by the terrorist attacks against the  public transport system in London on 7 July. The Resolution covers two, novel aspects of terrorism. On the one hand, it provides for and urges actions by the state against ‘the incitement to commit a terrorist act, or acts’, which must be prohibited by law. On the other hand, it calls on all states to ‘enhance dialogue and broaden understanding between civilisations’. The Counter-Terrorism Committee  is responsible for monitoring compliance.

As can be readily seen, over the five years since the 9/11 attacks, the Security Council, though often moved to action by events, has been coherent in its condemnation of terrorism, firm  in the adoption of the corresponding measures and decisive in its exploration of the phenomenon and in its search for new methods to combat it. All of the Resolutions mentioned above have been passed unanimously by the members of the Council; and one should not overlook the fact that the Council has certain non-permanent members which adds further significance. Resolutions 1373, 1540 and 1566, in addition to 1267, are subject to the authority of Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter –‘Action with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, and acts of aggression’–. Only Resolution 1624 breaks the rule by being subject to Chapter VI –’Pacific settlement of disputes’– in an clear compromise between those that wanted a tough response to the ‘incitement to terrorism’ and those who fear that it may interfere with freedom of speech. Nonetheless, it would be a mistake to conclude from this that Resolution 1624 ‘is of less value’ than the others, or that its mandate is less compulsory, though the respective and particular breaches be different. Chapter VI does not include sanctions.

In parallel with the Council’s actions, the Secretary General has been acting with increasing intensity. An ‘Advisory Group on the United Nations and Terrorism’ was set up in October, 2001 in the Secretariat, which would later become the ‘Special Team’ to combat terrorism. Its first and only conclusions, reflecting an albeit tentative approach, foreshadow some of the later proposals of the Secretary General, and they were submitted to the General Assembly and the Security Council on 6 August, 2002. This is the same Secretary General who, in September 2003 and before the General Assembly, called for the setting-up of a High Level Panel on ‘the threats, challenges and the change ‘in order to assess the risks that mankind has to face in the 21st century and propose the best way in which the United Nations can provide collective security for all. The report, presented by the High-Level Panel to the General Assembly on 2 December, 2004, represents a powerful and detailed analysis of the problems facing mankind and the role that the United Nations might play to solve them, as well as containing the essential elements of the reform package that the Organisation has been considering in recent times, and which it continues to consider.

Specifically, as regards terrorism, to which the report dedicates Chapter VI, the text is relatively contradictory (it condemns terrorism, while at the same time enumerating the causes that supposedly go to explaining its appearance), and it does not shy away from the most controversial aspects of the phenomenon itself, ‘lack of agreement on a clear and well known definition [of terrorism] undermines the normative regulatory and moral stance against terrorism and has strained the image of the United Nations’. As regards the argument that any definition of terrorism must include ‘the State’s use of armed force against civilians’, the authors of the report consider that ‘the legal and normative framework against State violations is far stronger than in the case of non-State actors’ which is sufficient to disregard the need for this subject to be covered in the definition of terrorism. And in the face of the demand that a definition of terrorism avoid abrogating the right of a people to resist foreign occupation, the report quite reasonably argues that ‘it is not the central point: the central point is that there is nothing in the fact of occupation that justifies the targeting and killing of civilians.’ The authors of the report even have the courage to promote a possible definition of terrorism: ‘Any action, in addition to actions already specified by the existing conventions on aspects of terrorism, the Geneva Conventions and Security Council Resolution 1566 (2004), that is intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants, when the purpose of such act, by its nature, or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a Government, or an international organisation, to do  or to abstain from doing any act’.

The Secretary General took on board many of the conclusions of the Report drawn up by the High Level Panel –and even went so far as to endorse the definition of terrorism that had been proposed by the Group– in the speech he gave on 10 March, 2005 in Madrid, in an event to commemorate the first anniversary of the Atocha train bombings. It was at that very moment that Kofi Annan outlined the UN’s global strategy against terrorism that can be summarised into ‘five D’s’:

  • Dissuading people from resorting to terrorism or supporting it.
  • Denying terrorists the means to carry out an attack.
  • Deterring States from supporting terrorism.
  • Developing State capacity to defeat terrorism.
  • Defending human rights.

The Madrid text deserves not only a second reading, but to be borne in mind, among other reasons for the conclusive manner in which the Secretary General condemns terrorism –’it cannot be justified by appealing to any cause… it is in itself a direct attack on human rights and on the Rule of Law’– and for what he says about all the victims of terrorism –’We must respect the victims. We must listen to them. We must do everything in our power to support them’–.

The Secretary General’s report to the General Assembly submitted on 21 March, 2005 under the title ‘In Larger Freedom: Towards Security, Development, and human rights for all’, covers some of the essential aspects of the High Level Panel’s report, endorses some of its conclusions, and in particular, its proposed definition of terrorism, requests that Member States adopt a strategy against terrorism, urges the conclusion of an international convention to suppress nuclear terrorist acts –which was adopted a few weeks later–, asks for the appointment of a special reporter ‘on the compatibility of the steps against terrorism with international human rights’ regulations’ –also appointed during the course of that year– and further urges member states to agree to a general convention on terrorism. The Final Document of the 2005 World Summit, passed by resolution of the General Assembly on 16 September that same year reiterates the request, underlining ‘the importance of supporting the victims of terrorism and helping them and their families to cope with their loss and their pain’. It also warmly receives the elements of an anti-terrorism strategy presented by the Secretary General and which should be later developed by the General Assembly. In fulfilment of the mandate arising from the 2005 Summit, on 27 April, 2006 the Secretary General presented the General Assembly with the report entitled, ‘United against terrorism: Recommendations for a global counter-terrorism strategy’ which should serve as the basis for the corresponding decision by the Assembly. It is a text that is directly inspired in the earlier statements of the Secretary General including the Madrid speech. It does not make any concession that might be used in any way, shape or form to justify terrorist acts –the slippery slope of the recourse to appealing to the ‘causes of terrorism’ is put into a different prism to ‘the conditions that can be taken advantage of by terrorists’. Moreover, it focuses on practical measures that international co-operation, in collaboration with the United Nations and under its auspices, can develop in the fight against this scourge of modern society. There is no mention in it of the much spoken of, and sought after, Comprehensive Convention Against Terrorism. Such an omission is not coincidental. The discussions that had taken place about terrorism in the months prior to the issuing of the report, including those about the convention project itself,  clearly reflected the profound divergences of criteria on the issue of terrorism. In the light of these difficulties the Secretary General took a more realistic approach. The text avoids any reference to subjects that so far have proved to be the basis for ‘philosophical’ discussions – the definition, the causes, state terrorism, and the right to resistance– in order to focus on international co-operation measures. In July 2006, there was no agreement on this new initiative of the Secretary General and the hope, not shared by all, is that in autumn the General Assembly can reach some type of agreement.

It is precisely the inability of the member states of the United Nations to reach an agreement on the Comprehensive Convention Against Terrorism that eloquently sums up the difficulties facing the international community in achieving a high level of efficiency in the fight against terrorism.  The United Nations continues to be the most powerful regulatory instrument in the pursuit of a more just and safer world, and the results so far –including that which is mentioned above as regards terrorism– are impressive. However, there is little that the United Nations can do regarding the management and application of these regulations without the willingness, or against the will, of the Member States. This reality, quite often overlooked, of attributing defects to the Organisation that are wholly attributable to the parts that go to make it up – the UN continues to be an inter-state organisation in which the dogma of national sovereignty holds much greater sway than anywhere else– is one that needs to borne in mind when analysing the imperfections of the fight against terrorism in the terms in which this is being pursued, practised and perceived by the UN.

There is still no universal consensus about prohibiting the use of indiscriminate violence by non-state actors –that is to say, the terrorists– in order to achieve political aims. Under the cover of the despicable cynicism, reductionistic and egalitarian in its pretensions, which has been used so often in this debate –‘my freedom-fighter is your terrorist’– there are still state sectors, though many  do not dare to say so publicly, that, under various pretexts, encourage, finance, allow, award and applaud terrorist activities. The fight against terrorism, which many a time has proved itself to be effective in national scenarios, and to a lesser extent on the international scene, and which does not need the definition of terrorism to continue with its task, encounters considerable obstacles if the very nature of the object against which it is fighting is radically questioned. That is the real background to the problem of the definition of terrorism and of the inability of the Untied Nations to reach a consensus over a Comprehensive Convention.

But this is not the only dilemma. In certain political scenarios, some states deem terrorism only to be that which affects them, while others that are suffering from the same violent methods –and it would be a good idea to remind everyone that what makes all terrorists alike is not ideology, but rather method– are only referring to various struggles for self-determination, or against tyranny. Both the former and latter countries believe that the other is receiving their just deserts. From this standpoint, there is bad and not so bad terrorism, explained by different yardsticks, which gives rise to the famous situation whereby there is one law for some people and another for the rest, a perfect example of the double standard complex.

Obviously there are also those who, in the absence of a definition, and making the most of the elasticity of the concept, are tempted to classify everything that moves against them as a terrorist agent, above all anything that can be deemed to be contrary to the government in office, in order to capitalise on the wave of terror produced by the phenomenon, while at the same time taking advantage of the circumstances to ignore the human rights and basic liberties of dissidents, opponents or critics.

Others, on the contrary, do not consider the fight against terrorism, no matter what the UN might say, to be among their national priorities, dedicated as they are to achieving acceptable living standards for their citizens. This fact, which does not reveal so much a belief but rather a respectable reality, means that at least half of the Member States of the United Nations do not regularly inform the subsidiary bodies of the Security Councils of their compliance with their obligations in this field. The expression reporting fatigue is one of the most repeated in counter-terrorist circles around New York’s East River. The provision of technical assistance to countries that find themselves in such difficulties is a priority question for the relevant, competent bodies in this sphere, even in the knowledge of the obstacles involved in the task: there are many people who still do not understand that improving the anti-terrorism response for those countries in need of it does not merely involve directing attention to security matters, but rather done so for the benefit of development and prosperity. Terrorism, its reasons and its consequences are terribly destructive elements of lives and homes.

However, sometimes such is the power of attraction of the technical assistance that some people actually come to confuse it with the fight against terrorism, as if this ought not to be the result of a specific political will, but merely the subject of paying careful attention to the policy of economic development. This phenomenon can lead to such a profound lack of focus that it gives rise to forgetting what we are talking about. Terrorism disappears from the conversation.

Terrorism, as with all bad news, provokes feelings as deep as they are short-lived. The Member States of the Security Council or, at least, of the General Assembly, that react so swiftly and forcibly in the face of terrorist attacks and promise, as was the case of the Spanish Interior  Minister, to go looking for the terrorists even ‘in hell itself’, forget the urgency of the call to action when the dust settles, and simply move on to the next crisis. Even though the bodies set up by the Security Council to ensure compliance with Resolutions still persist, the work of which can in no way be underestimated, and with the worthy and coherent attitude adopted by the Secretary General, the fact is that the danger of falling into repetitiveness and bureaucratisation, ably aided by all of those who want for the most diverse of reasons to empty the system of its content, still haunts the UN’s anti-terrorist tasks, and perhaps affects many other tasks as well. Security Council subsidiary bodies make decisions on the basis of member unanimity. Thus one can easily understand that, apart from exceptional circumstances, and even though we are dealing with only 15 member states, decisions take a long time to be finalised and are as solid as they are minimalist. It comes as no surprise in these circumstances, therefore, that there are countries that play down the importance of what the UN may contribute to their fight against terrorism, preferring to employ domestic or bilateral instruments.

Security Council Resolution 1566, which opened up a promising channel for the UN to provide a global list of terrorist individuals and organisations, and also proposed the setting-up of an international fund to provide aid to terrorist victims and their families, has come to nothing. Security Council Resolution 1624, which already suffered the degradation of seeing itself positioned pursuant to Chapter VI of the UN Charter, instead of being subject to the more vigorous Chapter VII, along with the rest of the recent Resolutions on terrorism, should receive reports from all 192 UN member states on their compliance so that the Counter-Terrorism Committee  can convey to the Security Council on 14 September, 2006, one year after having been passed, information on the level of compliance. By July only 50 countries had met this commitment.

Neither should we lose sight of the fact that in the background of terrorism issues, as with many others that come under the competence of the UN, there is permanent tension between the Council and the Assembly – or between the Assembly and the five permanent Security Council members, to be exact– which complicates matters and exercises a negative influence. Assembly members complain of interference from the Council in these issues, while at the same time showing themselves to be incapable of reaching a consensus among themselves, but when the Council acts swiftly, something it can do due to its size and because of the weight of its permanent members, the Assembly, or some of its members, question the validity of the direction being taken, which they say solely responds to the national agendas of the big powers. The atmosphere that arises from this persistent situation also prevents the Council from resorting to sanctions, or the threat of same, tainted as they are with the suspicion of resulting from the imposition of the big powers, or at least some of them. As a result, calling on Chapter VII is never an easy feat and  can become a mere display of rhetoric.

Conclusion: The conceptual and regulatory contribution of the United Nations in the global fight against terrorism is both impressive and indispensable. The conduct of nations and international co-operation has seen considerable improvement as a result of the UN’s role in this field. The UN cannot and must not substitute the role of States, either individually, or collectively, with respect to the management of anti-terrorist measures, the legitimacy of which, nevertheless, must be in line with the UN’s regulations and guidance.

These regulations have yet to be finalised, basically because of the lack of agreement over concluding a General Convention against Terrorism. This lack of agreement, in turn, reveals profound differences at the heart of the international community over the central issues that affect it, such as the use of violence, the responsibility of armed forces in internal conflicts, the right to resist of foreign occupation, or the limits of the exercise of the right to self-determination. The Security Council, the Secretary General and the General Assembly itself have issued regulations and guidelines with respect to these issues, which, however, have still not been accepted by all members.

In spite of this and other constraints, which are basically stem from the inevitable presence in the United Nations of 192 different and sometimes conflicting national agendas, the system has managed to come up with a burgeoning, but already robust, machinery to enforce compliance with regulations and occasionally provide assistance to those in need. In the five years that have elapsed since 9/11, and in spite of the obvious improvement in the capacity of countries, both individually and internationally, as regards the prevention of and response to terrorism, people continue to be killed. It does not correspond to any specific national interest, but rather to mankind as a whole, to uphold that, as stated at the 2005 Summit, terrorism ‘constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security’. International co-operation under the inspiration and mandate of the United Nations is, at present, the most effective method to combat terrorism. In the last analysis, it is up to Member States to adopt the opportune measures.

Javier Rupérez
Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate at the Assistant Secretary-General level, United Nations, New York

Note: [1]
(1) Convention on Offences and Certain other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft. Signed at Tokyo on 14 September, 1963, entry into force 4 December, 1969.
(2) Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft. Signed at The Hague on 16 December, 1970, entry into force 14 October, 1971.
(3) Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil. Aviation. Signed at Montreal on 23 September, entry into force 26 January, 1973.
(4) Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts of Violence at Airports Serving International Civil Aviation, Supplementary to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation. Signed at Montreal on 24 February, 1988, entry into force 9 August, 1989.
(5) Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Internationally Protected Persons. Opened for signature at New York on 14 December, 1973, entry into force 20 February, 1977.
(6) International Convention Against The Taking Of Hostages. Signed at New York on 18 December, 1979, entry into force 3 June, 1983.
(7) Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. Signed at New York and Vienna, 3 March, 1980, entry into force 8 February, 1987.
(8) Convention on the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation. Signed at Rome 10 March, 1988, entry into force 1 March, 1992.
(9) Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf. Signed at Rome 10 March 1988, entry into force 1 March, 1992.
(10) Convention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives for the Purpose of Identification. Signed at Montreal, 1 March, 1991, entry into force 21 June, 1998.
(11) International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings. Approved by the General Assembly on 15 December 1997, entry into force 10 April, 2002.
(12) International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. Approved by the General Assembly on 9 December 1999, entry in force 10 April, 2002.
(13) International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. Approved by the General Assembly on 13 April, 2005. Not yet in force.