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UNPaper - Steven Vidor Professor Mackiewicz-Wolfe Political...

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Steven Vidor Professor Mackiewicz-Wolfe Political Science 4173 14 Nov. 2006 The U.S., The U.N and Terrorism Introduction The United States has been a primary actor in the international community in combating terrorism. Over the past half-century we have participated in multilateral talks within the United Nations, contributed to and approved twelve multilateral anti-terrorism treaties in the last forty years, worked with countries and regional organizations outside the UN framework and have set the general guidline for how to make the world a safer place for all its inhabitants. Now we continue to search for solutions to this international problem through a series of recommendations to the United Nations coupled with areas of debate that we shall label as either “negotiable” or “non-negotiable.” Past Policy Overview I. The United Nations Conventions As mentioned above, the United States has been party to all twelve United Nations conventions of terrorism (Association of the Bar of New York City, 2). Starting at the 1963 Tokyo Convention on Offenses and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircrafts, we have sought to address certain problem areas that we have seen as significant to furthering our cause. The first three conventions we were party to addressed the issue of aviation in terrorism. The 1963 Tokyo Convention was perhaps the most broadly stated convention, not defining specific offenses, but more so laid a groundwork for the norm of declaring acts of terror as illegitimate. In 1970, we supported the framework for the 1970 Hague Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft, which “covers the prosecution of individuals accused of committing hijackings
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using force, threat of force, or any other form of intimidation” (3). This treaty attempted to bind states to harsh penalization of anyone caught participating in such acts. We helped further the scope of terrorism from simply hijackings to include bombings and other dangerous acts on board an airplane. These treaties were significant in our fight against terrorism because they helped secure a growing international norm against such acts. Once the foundation was laid for anti-terrorism policy by the various aviation conventions, we sought to participate in the expansion of the anti-terrorism scope. A major breakthrough came at the 1979 Convention Against Taking Hostages. Here, we helped define the taking of hostages as “seiz[ing] or detain[ing] and threaten[ing] to kill, to injure or to continue to detain another person . . . in order to compel a third party . . . to do or abstain from doing any act as an explicit or implicit conditions for the release of the hostage” (3). In this convention, we sought to add the human protection element beyond the area of aviation and gave further power to the states to either choose to prosecute or extradite those accused of terrorist acts. From that point on, states authority over such actions became legitimized and thus expanded the scope of the international community’s power over terrorists.
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