Volume 36 (2011) / Issue 3
Aviation is an important global business and a significant driver of the global economy. It is vital therefore that stringent measures are taken to counter acts of unlawful interference with civil aviation. Following a diplomatic conference, held in Beijing from 30 August to 10 September 2010 under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), representatives from more than eighty States adopted two international air law instruments for the suppression of unlawful acts relating to civil aviation. The two instruments are the Convention on the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Relating to International Civil Aviation (hereinafter 'Beijing Convention' or 'Beijing Treaty') and the Protocol Supplementary to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft.
The Beijing Convention serves international civil aviation well by requiring parties to criminalize a number of new and emerging threats to the safety of civil aviation, including using aircraft as a weapon and organizing, directing, and financing acts of terrorism. These new treaties reflect the international community's shared effort to prevent acts of terrorism against civil aviation and to prosecute and punish those who would commit them. The treaties promote cooperation between States while emphasizing the human rights and fair treatment of terrorist suspects. The Beijing Convention also obligates States to criminalize the transport of biological, chemical, and nuclear (BCN) weapons and related material. Many provisions of the Beijing Convention, which is a newcomer to aviation security in the context of some new provisions it introduces, may need reflection, particularly in interpreting the intent of its founding fathers. This article discusses some aspects of the Beijing Treaty, which may need that reflection
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