CONVENTION ON PLASTIC EXPLOSIVES Inventory of International Nonproliferation Organizations and Regimes Center for Nonproliferation Studies Last Updated: 4/23/2010 Plastic-1
Opened for Signature: 1 March 1991. Entered into Force: 21 June 1998. Duration: The Convention does not set any limits on its duration.
Number of Parties: 143
Signatories that have not ratified: 8
Depository: International Civil Aviation Organiza-tion (ICAO).
Treaty Text Background: In December 1988, Pan American flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland. To prevent future explosions onboard aircraft, the ICAO Council passed a resolution urging its Member States to expedite current research and development on de-tection of explosives and on security equipment dur-ing its regular session meeting in February 1989.
Also deeply concerned about preventing terrorist bombing of aircraft, the UN Security Council (SC) met on 14 June 1989 to discuss the marking of plastic or sheet explosives for the purpose of detection. On the same day, the SC unanimously adopted Resolu-tion 635 condemning all acts of unlawful interference against the security of civil aviation and calling on Member States to co-operate in devising and imple-menting measures to prevent all acts of terrorism, including those involving explosives. The SC urged the ICAO to intensify its work to prevent all acts of terrorism against international civil aviation, and in particular its work on devising an international re-gime for the marking of plastic or sheet explosives for the purpose of detection. Also in June, the ICAO Council decided to include preparation of a new legal instrument regarding the marking of explosives for detectability as a priority in the general work program of the Legal Committee.
From 9-19 January 1990, the ICAO Sub-Committee for the Preparation of a New Legal Instrument Re-garding the Marking of Plastic Explosives for Detec-tability met in Montreal, Canada and drafted a new international agreement to ensure that plastic explo-sives were marked with an additive to enhance their detectability. The ICAO Legal Committee considered this draft during its 27th session, which met from 27 March-12 April. This meeting resulted in a final text of six ar-ticles for a draft convention. From 12 February-1 March 1991, the International Conference on Air Law met in Montreal to consider the draft articles prepared by the ICAO Legal Com-mittee in 1990. The Conference adopted the Conven-tion by consensus and without a vote. By the end of the year, 45 States had signed the Convention and one State had submitted an instrument of approval. Obligations: This Convention calls on States Parties to take the necessary and effective measures to pro-hibit and prevent the manufacture of unmarked ex-plosives in their territories, to prevent the movement of such explosives into or out of their territory, to exercise strict control over the possession and trans-fer of unmarked explosives made or imported prior to the entry into force of the Convention, to ensure that all stocks not held by the military or police are de-stroyed or consumed, marked, or rendered perma-nently ineffective within three years of the Conven-tion’s entry into force, with respect to a State, and to ensure the timely destruction of any unmarked explo-sives manufactured after the entry into force of the Convention for that State. States Parties agree to mark plastic explosives with a chemical agent that can be detected by commercially available vapor or particle trace detectors and/or ca-nines. There are four such chemical agents identified in the Convention.
Compliance and Enforcement: The Convention establishes an International Explosives Technical Commission composed of members appointed by the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organiza-tion (based on nominations of States Parties to the Convention). The parameters for membership allow between 15 and 19 experts with direct experience in matters relating to the manufacture, detection of, or research in explosives. Members will serve three-year renewable terms. Sessions of the Commission shall
CONVENTION ON PLASTIC EXPLOSIVES Inventory of International Nonproliferation Organizations and Regimes Center for Nonproliferation Studies Last Updated: 4/23/2010 Plastic-2
be convened at least once a year at the ICAO Head-quarters or as directed or approved by the ICAO Council. The Commission is tasked with evaluating technical developments relating to the manufacture, marking, and detection of explosives, reporting findings to the States Parties and international organizations in-volved, and making recommendations for amend-ments to the Technical Annex to the Convention. Under Article 13, States are requested to declare whether they are producer States when depositing their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approv-al, or accession. Amendments: The Council, on the recommendation of the Commission, may propose to States Parties amendments to the Technical Annex to the Conven-tion. Within 90 days of the notification of a proposed amendment to the Technical Annex, States Parties may convey comments to the Council. The Commis-sion will consider these views and make a report to the Council. Any proposed amendment that has not been objected to by five or more States Parties will be adopted. The Commission will give further con-sideration to any amendments objected to by five or more States Parties. Reservations and Withdrawals: Under Article 11 paragraph 1, disputes between two or more States concerning the interpretation or application of the Convention will be submitted to arbitration at the request of one of the States if the matter cannot be settled through negotiation. However, at the time of signing, ratification, or accession, a State may make a reservation that it does not consider itself bound by this paragraph, in which case other States Parties shall not be bound to it with respect to any State Par-ty that has made such a declaration. In addition, States Parties may denounce this Con-vention by written notification to the Depository. In such a case, denunciation will take effect 180 days following the date on which notification is received. Several States including Algeria, Brazil, Honduras, India, Peru, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, have made reservations with respect to Article 11. States that have declared their status as producer States under Article 13 include Argentina, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, India, Japan, Norway, Slovakia, Spain, Swit-zerland, United Kingdom, and the United States. Developments: 2007: The 36th session of the ICAO Assembly was as held 18-28 September. 2004: During the 35th session of the ICAO Assembly, held from 28 September to 8 October, the Council presented proposals for carrying forward the Plan of Action into the 2005-2007 triennium and for updating the Consolidated statement of continuing ICAO poli-cies related to the safeguarding of international civil aviation against acts of unlawful interference. 2002: The ICAO approved the International Explo-sives Technical Commission’s (IETC) recommenda-tion to amend the Technical Annex to the Convention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives for the Purpose of Detection by deleting ortho-Mononitrotoluene (o-MNT) from the list of detection agents. In accordance with Article 7, paragraph 3 of the Convention, the amendment was adopted on 27 September 2001 and entered into force on 27 March 2002. As recommended by the high-level Ministerial Con-ference, which met 20 February 2002, the ICAO Le-gal Committee was requested to review the adequacy of the existing aviation security legal instruments and, if necessary, to develop an appropriate legal instrument addressing this issue. 2001: The ICAO Assembly met from 25 September-5 October in Montreal, Canada. Recognizing the crit-ical need to enhance aviation security, following the tragic developments of 11 September 2001, States were urged to immediately review their aviation se-curity measures and take additional appropriate steps to strengthen aviation security consistent with ICAO Annex 17. States were urged to ratify various Con-ventions related to civil aviation security, especially the Convention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives for the Purpose of Detection, which was signed at Montreal on 1 March 1991, as a matter of urgency. Specifically, resolution A33-2 requested the Council (the governing body of ICAO) to complete, in addi-tion to the International Explosives Technical Com-mission (IETC) mandate as prescribed by the Con-vention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives for the Purpose of Detection, studies into methods of detect-ing explosives or explosive materials, especially into the marking of those explosives of concern, other than plastic explosives, with a view to the evolution, if needed, of an appropriate comprehensive legal re-gime.
2000: The Aviation Security Panel of the ICAO con-ducted a comprehensive review of Annex 17 to adjust its structure and relevancy of Standards and Recom-mended Practices (SARPS). Draft Amendment 10
CONVENTION ON PLASTIC EXPLOSIVES Inventory of International Nonproliferation Organizations and Regimes Center for Nonproliferation Studies Last Updated: 4/23/2010 Plastic-3
was developed based on the Panel’s recommenda-tions and was to be considered in April 2001. The amendment included provisions relating to code-sharing, the Standard Airline Security Program Tem-plate, preventive measures relating to cargo, pre-employment background checks, development of human factors, management of response to acts of unlawful interference, armed persons on board an aircraft, and penetration of security systems by the news media. To assess the implementation of Annex 17, States will be audited on a voluntary basis. 1998: The Council of the ICAO considered proposals for the formation, composition, and mandate of the International Explosives Technical Commission es-tablished under Article 5 of the Convention. 1997: The 11th meeting of the Ad Hoc Group of Spe-cialists on the Detection of Explosives was held at ICAO Headquarters from 3-7 November. The spe-cialists reported on their work and findings since the last meeting. The group was mandated to maintain the technical annex to the Convention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives for the Purpose of Detection until such time as the Convention enters into force. At such time, the ICAO Council considered the for-mation of the International Explosives Technical Commission. The ninth meeting of the Aviation Security Panel was held at ICAO Headquarters in Montreal from 8-12 September. The agenda included issues related to screening of checked baggage, the security regime of cargo, collaborative arrangements between operators, and the “one-stop” security concept.
1996: Immediately after the crash of TWA 800, a group of Ministers from the G-7 countries, with the Russian Federation, met in Lyon to address the issue of international terrorism. As a result of that meeting, the ICAO was asked to expedite its activities on ex-plosive detection, as well as to intensify its work on screening of checked baggage. The Council subse-quently convened an informal meeting of the Ad Hoc Group. The result of the Group’s efforts was the pub-lication of criteria for explosives detection, which was circulated to States. The Council also adopted an amendment to Annex 17 of the Chicago Convention, which contained recommendations to conduct back-ground checks for security personnel, a standard to conduct a security survey to identify needs, a recom-mendation to ensure that catering supplies are subject to scrutiny, and a recommendation that operators carry only baggage authorized for carriage.
1992: At the 29th session of the ICAO Assembly, it adopted a resolution dealing with the implementation of the 1991 Convention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives. Point of Contact: International Civil Aviation Organization 999 University Street Montreal, Quebec H3C 5H7 Tel: +1 514 954 8219 FAX: +1 514 954 6077 Telex: 05-24513
Website: http://www.icao.org/ The Terrorism Prevention Branch United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention Vienna International Centre P.O. Box 500 A-1400 Vienna, Austria Tel: +43-1-26060-4177 FAX: +43-1-26060-5968 Website: http://www.icao.int/