By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
11 September 2005
The proposed Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) will be one more weapon of US imperialism for oppressing under the guise of combating terrorism persons and groups fighting for national liberation and social justice. It is principally a legal cover for the United States to intervene in the domestic affairs of other states. Articles 3 and 6 of the current draft legally allow the United States in conducting its “war on terror” to extend its police activities to all parts of the globe.
The definitions under Article 2 of the working draft actually considers armed struggle a criminal offense rather than a political act: “Any person commits an offence within the meaning of this Convention if that person…causes: …serious damage to public …property …when the purpose of the conduct …is to compel a Government …to do or abstain from doing any act.”
The draft Convention also makes resistance to foreign occupation a terrorist act. In Iraq for example any attack on US forces, whether those openly acknowledged as military or the so-called “military civilians,” is a terrorist act according to the definition in the previous paragraph.
It requires signatory states to “align” their domestic law with the Convention. This means that they would have to pass national anti-terrorism laws criminalizing so-called terrorist acts. Many national legislatures have been unable to pass anti-terrorism laws because of strong objections and resistance by the people. As proposed the Convention is an example of “policy laundering,” a tactic increasingly employed by the United States of using international or foreign forums or mechanisms to force acceptance of its policies by sovereign states without going through their national political processes.
It also retrospectively legalizes the many so-called anti-terrorism measures which have been strongly criticized as arbitrary and unjust and which violate basic civil, political and human rights such as the right to _expression, association, due process and the right not to be discriminated and to a good reputation. In particular, the practice of drawing up unjust lists of terrorist groups and individuals by the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom will now be legal and entities on these lists would now be considered terrorists outside their original jurisdictions.
These so-called terrorist lists have been compiled solely on the basis of intelligence assessments which have not been or could not be subjected either to legislative or judicial review. These lists have been exposed by human rights experts and activists as “arbitrary and politically-motivated.” Not only individuals and groups are affected by these lists. Entire communities have suffered racial discrimination because of these lists.
The Convention would criminalize not only specific “terrorist acts” but also so-called “preparatory acts.” “Instigating” the commission of a terrorist act or “tolerating” terrorist activities would also be criminal offenses. This is a serious abridgement of the right to free _expression for example of journalists, writers, filmmakers and others artists who tackle or discuss terrorist acts or entities in their professional work.
The Convention would be a global extradition treaty and would extend the police powers and operations of the United States to all parts of the globe. Under proposed articles 11 to 17, a state may request extradition even without a formal extradition treaty with regard to terrorist crimes. Moreover, Article 14 explicitly states that any terrorist act defined by the Convention shall not be regarded as a political act in connection with an extradition request. Article 7 would revise the Refugee Convention by including terrorism as among the grounds for refusing asylum. But more serious would be an interpretation of the Convention as negating the principle of non-refoulement guaranteed by the Refugee Convention. #
—————————– Amnesty International Statement to the U.N. General Assembly
22 October 2001
United Nations General Assembly, 56th Session 2001, Draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism: A Threat to Human Rights Standards
Working document submitted by India on the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism