Miscellaneous Series No. 9 (2007)
for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism
New York, 13 April 2005
Presented to Parliament
by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
by Command of Her Majesty
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INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE SUPPRESSION OF ACTS OF
International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism
The States Parties to this Convention,
Having in mind the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations
concerning the maintenance of international peace and security and the promotion of
good-neighbourliness and friendly relations and cooperation among States,
Recalling the Declaration on the Occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the United
Nations of 24 October 1995,
Recognizing the right of all States to develop and apply nuclear energy for peaceful
purposes and their legitimate interests in the potential benefits to be derived from the
peaceful application of nuclear energy,
Bearing in mind the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material of
Deeply concerned about the worldwide escalation of acts of terrorism in all its forms
Recalling the Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism annexed to
General Assembly resolution 49/60 of 9 December 1994, in which, inter alia, the
States Members of the United Nations solemnly reaffirm their unequivocal
condemnation of all acts, methods and practices of terrorism as criminal and
unjustifiable, wherever and by whomever committed, including those which jeopardize
the friendly relations among States and peoples and threaten the territorial integrity and
security of States,
Noting that the Declaration also encouraged States to review urgently the scope of the
existing international legal provisions on the prevention, repression and elimination of
terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, with the aim of ensuring that there is a
comprehensive legal framework covering all aspects of the matter,
Recalling General Assembly resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996 and the
Declaration to Supplement the 1994 Declaration on Measures to Eliminate
International Terrorism annexed thereto,
Recalling also that, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 51/210, an ad hoc
committee was established to elaborate, inter alia, an international convention for the
1 Treaty Series No.061 (1995) Cm 2945
suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism to supplement related existing international
Noting that acts of nuclear terrorism may result in the gravest consequences and may
pose a threat to international peace and security,
Noting also that existing multilateral legal provisions do not adequately address those
Being convinced of the urgent need to enhance international cooperation between
States in devising and adopting effective and practical measures for the prevention of
such acts of terrorism and for the prosecution and punishment of their perpetrators,
Noting that the activities of military forces of States are governed by rules of
international law outside of the framework of this Convention and that the exclusion of
certain actions from the coverage of this Convention does not condone or make lawful
otherwise unlawful acts, or preclude prosecution under other laws,
Have agreed as follows:
For the purposes of this Convention:
1. “Radioactive material” means nuclear material and other radioactive substances
which contain nuclides which undergo spontaneous disintegration (a process
accompanied by emission of one or more types of ionizing radiation, such as alpha-,
beta-, neutron particles and gamma rays) and which may, owing to their radiological or
fissile properties, cause death, serious bodily injury or substantial damage to property
or to the environment.
2. “Nuclear material” means plutonium, except that with isotopic concentration
exceeding 80 per cent in plutonium-238; uranium-233; uranium enriched in the isotope
235 or 233; uranium containing the mixture of isotopes as occurring in nature other
than in the form of ore or ore residue; or any material containing one or more of the
Whereby “uranium enriched in the isotope 235 or 233” means uranium containing the
isotope 235 or 233 or both in an amount such that the abundance ratio of the sum of
these isotopes to the isotope 238 is greater than the ratio of the isotope 235 to the
isotope 238 occurring in nature.
3. “Nuclear facility” means:
(a) Any nuclear reactor, including reactors installed on vessels, vehicles,
aircraft or space objects for use as an energy source in order to propel
such vessels, vehicles, aircraft or space objects or for any other purpose;
(b) Any plant or conveyance being used for the production, storage,
processing or transport of radioactive material.
4. “Device” means:
(a) Any nuclear explosive device; or
(b) Any radioactive material dispersal or radiation-emitting device which may,
owing to its radiological properties, cause death, serious bodily injury or
substantial damage to property or to the environment.
5. “State or government facility” includes any permanent or temporary facility or
conveyance that is used or occupied by representatives of a State, members of a
Government, the legislature or the judiciary or by officials or employees of a State or
any other public authority or entity or by employees or officials of an
intergovernmental organization in connection with their official duties.
6. “Military forces of a State” means the armed forces of a State which are
organized, trained and equipped under its internal law for the primary purpose of
national defence or security and persons acting in support of those armed forces who
are under their formal command, control and responsibility.
1. Any person commits an offence within the meaning of this Convention if that
person unlawfully and intentionally:
(a) Possesses radioactive material or makes or possesses a device:
(i) With the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury; or
(ii) With the intent to cause substantial damage to property or to the
(b) Uses in any way radioactive material or a device, or uses or damages a
nuclear facility in a manner which releases or risks the release of
(i) With the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury; or
(ii) With the intent to cause substantial damage to property or to the
(iii) With the intent to compel a natural or legal person, an international
organization or a State to do or refrain from doing an act.
2. Any person also commits an offence if that person:
(a) Threatens, under circumstances which indicate the credibility of
the threat, to commit an offence as set forth in paragraph 1 (b) of the
present article; or
(b) Demands unlawfully and intentionally radioactive material, a device or a
nuclear facility by threat, under circumstances which indicate the
credibility of the threat, or by use of force.
3. Any person also commits an offence if that person attempts to commit an offence
as set forth in paragraph 1 of the present article.
4. Any person also commits an offence if that person:
(a) Participates as an accomplice in an offence as set forth in paragraph 1, 2 or
3 of the present article; or
(b) Organizes or directs others to commit an offence as set forth in paragraph
1, 2 or 3 of the present article; or
(c) In any other way contributes to the commission of one or more offences as
set forth in paragraph 1, 2 or 3 of the present article by a group of persons
acting with a common purpose; such contribution shall be intentional and
either be made with the aim of furthering the general criminal activity or
purpose of the group or be made in the knowledge of the intention of the
group to commit the offence or offences concerned.
This Convention shall not apply where the offence is committed within a single State,
the alleged offender and the victims are nationals of that State, the alleged offender is
found in the territory of that State and no other State has a basis under article 9,
paragraph 1 or 2, to exercise jurisdiction, except that the provisions of articles 7, 12,
14, 15, 16 and 17 shall, as appropriate, apply in those cases.
1. Nothing in this Convention shall affect other rights, obligations and
responsibilities of States and individuals under international law, in particular the
purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and international
2. The activities of armed forces during an armed conflict, as those terms are
understood under international humanitarian law, which are governed by that law are
not governed by this Convention, and the activities undertaken by military forces of a
State in the exercise of their official duties, inasmuch as they are governed by other
rules of international law, are not governed by this Convention.
3. The provisions of paragraph 2 of the present article shall not be interpreted as
condoning or making lawful otherwise unlawful acts, or precluding prosecution under
4. This Convention does not address, nor can it be interpreted as addressing, in any
way, the issue of the legality of the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons by States.
Each State Party shall adopt such measures as may be necessary:
(a) To establish as criminal offences under its national law the offences set
forth in article 2;
(b) To make those offences punishable by appropriate penalties which take
into account the grave nature of these offences.
Each State Party shall adopt such measures as may be necessary, including, where
appropriate, domestic legislation, to ensure that criminal acts within the scope of this
Convention, in particular where they are intended or calculated to provoke a state of
terror in the general public or in a group of persons or particular persons, are under no
circumstances justifiable by considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological,
racial, ethnic, religious or other similar nature and are punished by penalties consistent
with their grave nature.
1. States Parties shall cooperate by:
(a) Taking all practicable measures, including, if necessary, adapting their
national law, to prevent and counter preparations in their respective
territories for the commission within or outside their territories of the
offences set forth in article 2, including measures to prohibit in their
territories illegal activities of persons, groups and organizations that
encourage, instigate, organize, knowingly finance or knowingly provide
technical assistance or information or engage in the perpetration of those
(b) Exchanging accurate and verified information in accordance with their
national law and in the manner and subject to the conditions specified
herein, and coordinating administrative and other measures taken as
appropriate to detect, prevent, suppress and investigate the offences set
forth in article 2 and also in order to institute criminal proceedings against
persons alleged to have committed those crimes. In particular, a State Party
shall take appropriate measures in order to inform without delay the other
States referred to in article 9 in respect of the commission of the offences
set forth in article 2 as well as preparations to commit such offences about
which it has learned, and also to inform, where appropriate, international
2. States Parties shall take appropriate measures consistent with their national law
to protect the confidentiality of any information which they receive in confidence by
virtue of the provisions of this Convention from another State Party or through
participation in an activity carried out for the implementation of this Convention. If
States Parties provide information to international organizations in confidence, steps
shall be taken to ensure that the confidentiality of such information is protected.
3. States Parties shall not be required by this Convention to provide any
information which they are not permitted to communicate pursuant to national law or
which would jeopardize the security of the State concerned or the physical protection
of nuclear material.
4. States Parties shall inform the Secretary-General of the United Nations of their
competent authorities and liaison points responsible for sending and receiving the
information referred to in the present article. The Secretary- General of the United
Nations shall communicate such information regarding competent authorities and
liaison points to all States Parties and the International Atomic Energy Agency. Such
authorities and liaison points must be accessible on a continuous basis.
For purposes of preventing offences under this Convention, States Parties shall make
every effort to adopt appropriate measures to ensure the protection of radioactive
material, taking into account relevant recommendations and functions of the
International Atomic Energy Agency.
1. Each State Party shall take such measures as may be necessary to establish its
jurisdiction over the offences set forth in article 2 when:
(a) The offence is committed in the territory of that State; or
(b) The offence is committed on board a vessel flying the flag of that State or
an aircraft which is registered under the laws of that State at the time the
offence is committed; or
(c) The offence is committed by a national of that State.
2. A State Party may also establish its jurisdiction over any such offence when:
(a) The offence is committed against a national of that State; or
(b) The offence is committed against a State or government facility of that
State abroad, including an embassy or other diplomatic or consular
premises of that State; or
(c) The offence is committed by a stateless person who has his or her
habitual residence in the territory of that State; or
(d) The offence is committed in an attempt to compel that State to do
or abstain from doing any act; or
(e) The offence is committed on board an aircraft which is operated
by the Government of that State.
3. Upon ratifying, accepting, approving or acceding to this Convention, each State
Party shall notify the Secretary-General of the United Nations of the jurisdiction it has
established under its national law in accordance with paragraph 2 of the present article.
Should any change take place, the State Party concerned shall immediately notify the
4. Each State Party shall likewise take such measures as may be necessary to
establish its jurisdiction over the offences set forth in article 2 in cases where the
alleged offender is present in its territory and it does not extradite that person to any of
the States Parties which have established their jurisdiction in accordance with
paragraph 1 or 2 of the present article.
5. This Convention does not exclude the exercise of any criminal jurisdiction
established by a State Party in accordance with its national law.
1. Upon receiving information that an offence set forth in article 2 has been
committed or is being committed in the territory of a State Party or that a person who
has committed or who is alleged to have committed such an offence may be present in
its territory, the State Party concerned shall take such measures as may be necessary
under its national law to investigate the facts contained in the information.
2. Upon being satisfied that the circumstances so warrant, the State Party in whose
territory the offender or alleged offender is present shall take the appropriate measures
under its national law so as to ensure that person’s presence for the purpose of
prosecution or extradition.
3. Any person regarding whom the measures referred to in paragraph 2 of the
present article are being taken shall be entitled:
(a) To communicate without delay with the nearest appropriate representative
of the State of which that person is a national or which is otherwise entitled
to protect that person’s rights or, if that person is a stateless person, the
State in the territory of which that person habitually resides;
(b) To be visited by a representative of that State;
(c) To be informed of that person’s rights under subparagraphs (a)
4. The rights referred to in paragraph 3 of the present article shall be exercised in
conformity with the laws and regulations of the State in the territory of which the
offender or alleged offender is present, subject to the provision that the said laws and
regulations must enable full effect to be given to the purposes for which the rights
accorded under paragraph 3 are intended.
5. The provisions of paragraphs 3 and 4 of the present article shall be without
prejudice to the right of any State Party having a claim to jurisdiction in accordance
with article 9, paragraph 1 (c) or 2 (c), to invite the International Committee of the Red
Cross to communicate with and visit the alleged offender.
6. When a State Party, pursuant to the present article, has taken a person into
custody, it shall immediately notify, directly or through the Secretary- General of the
United Nations, the States Parties which have established jurisdiction in accordance
with article 9, paragraphs 1 and 2, and, if it considers it advisable, any other interested
States Parties, of the fact that that person is in custody and of the circumstances which
warrant that person’s detention. The State which makes the investigation contemplated
in paragraph 1 of the present article shall promptly inform the said States Parties of its
findings and shall indicate whether it intends to exercise jurisdiction.
1. The State Party in the territory of which the alleged offender is present shall, in
cases to which article 9 applies, if it does not extradite that person, be obliged, without
exception whatsoever and whether or not the offence was committed in its territory, to
submit the case without undue delay to its competent authorities for the purpose of
prosecution, through proceedings in accordance with the laws of that State. Those
authorities shall take their decision in the same manner as in the case of any other
offence of a grave nature under the law of that State.
2. Whenever a State Party is permitted under its national law to extradite or
otherwise surrender one of its nationals only upon the condition that the person will be
returned to that State to serve the sentence imposed as a result of the trial or
proceeding for which the extradition or surrender of the person was sought, and this
State and the State seeking the extradition of the person agree with this option and
other terms they may deem appropriate, such a conditional extradition or surrender
shall be sufficient to discharge the obligation set forth in paragraph 1 of the present
Any person who is taken into custody or regarding whom any other measures are taken
or proceedings are carried out pursuant to this Convention shall be guaranteed fair
treatment, including enjoyment of all rights and guarantees in conformity with the law
of the State in the territory of which that person is present and applicable provisions of
international law, including international law of human rights.
1. The offences set forth in article 2 shall be deemed to be included as extraditable
offences in any extradition treaty existing between any of the States Parties before the
entry into force of this Convention. States Parties undertake to include such offences as
extraditable offences in every extradition treaty to be subsequently concluded between
2. When a State Party which makes extradition conditional on the existence of a
treaty receives a request for extradition from another State Party with which it has no
extradition treaty, the requested State Party may, at its option, consider this
Convention as a legal basis for extradition in respect of the offences set forth in article
2. Extradition shall be subject to the other conditions provided by the law of the
3. States Parties which do not make extradition conditional on the existence of a
treaty shall recognize the offences set forth in article 2 as extraditable offences
between themselves, subject to the conditions provided by the law of the requested
4. If necessary, the offences set forth in article 2 shall be treated, for the purposes of
extradition between States Parties, as if they had been committed not only in the place
in which they occurred but also in the territory of the States that have established
jurisdiction in accordance with article 9, paragraphs 1 and 2.
5. The provisions of all extradition treaties and arrangements between States Parties
with regard to offences set forth in article 2 shall be deemed to be modified as between
States Parties to the extent that they are incompatible with this Convention.
1. States Parties shall afford one another the greatest measure of assistance in
connection with investigations or criminal or extradition proceedings brought in
respect of the offences set forth in article 2, including assistance in obtaining evidence
at their disposal necessary for the proceedings.
2. States Parties shall carry out their obligations under paragraph 1 of the present
article in conformity with any treaties or other arrangements on mutual legal assistance
that may exist between them. In the absence of such treaties or arrangements, States
Parties shall afford one another assistance in accordance with their national law.
None of the offences set forth in article 2 shall be regarded, for the purposes of
extradition or mutual legal assistance, as a political offence or as an offence connected
with a political offence or as an offence inspired by political motives. Accordingly, a
request for extradition or for mutual legal assistance based on such an offence may not
be refused on the sole ground that it concerns a political offence or an offence
connected with a political offence or an offence inspired by political motives.
Nothing in this Convention shall be interpreted as imposing an obligation to extradite
or to afford mutual legal assistance if the requested State Party has substantial grounds
for believing that the request for extradition for offences set forth in article 2 or for
mutual legal assistance with respect to such offences has been made for the purpose of
prosecuting or punishing a person on account of that person’s race, religion,
nationality, ethnic origin or political opinion or that compliance with the request would
cause prejudice to that person’s position for any of these reasons.
1. A person who is being detained or is serving a sentence in the territory of one
State Party whose presence in another State Party is requested for purposes of
testimony, identification or otherwise providing assistance in obtaining evidence for
the investigation or prosecution of offences under this Convention may be transferred
if the following conditions are met:
(a) The person freely gives his or her informed consent; and
(b) The competent authorities of both States agree, subject to such conditions
as those States may deem appropriate.
2. For the purposes of the present article:
(a) The State to which the person is transferred shall have the authority and
obligation to keep the person transferred in custody, unless otherwise
requested or authorized by the State from which the person was
(b) The State to which the person is transferred shall without delay implement
its obligation to return the person to the custody of the State from which
the person was transferred as agreed beforehand, or as otherwise agreed,
by the competent authorities of both States;
(c) The State to which the person is transferred shall not require the State from
which the person was transferred to initiate extradition proceedings for the
return of the person;
(d) The person transferred shall receive credit for service of the sentence being
served in the State from which he or she was transferred for time spent in
the custody of the State to which he or she was transferred.
3. Unless the State Party from which a person is to be transferred in accordance
with the present article so agrees, that person, whatever his or her nationality, shall not
be prosecuted or detained or subjected to any other restriction of his or her personal
liberty in the territory of the State to which that person is transferred in respect of acts
or convictions anterior to his or her departure from the territory of the State from
which such person was transferred.
1. Upon seizing or otherwise taking control of radioactive material, devices or
nuclear facilities, following the commission of an offence set forth in article 2, the
State Party in possession of such items shall:
(a) Take steps to render harmless the radioactive material, device or nuclear
(b) Ensure that any nuclear material is held in accordance with applicable
International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards; and
(c) Have regard to physical protection recommendations and health and safety
standards published by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
2. Upon the completion of any proceedings connected with an offence set forth in
article 2, or sooner if required by international law, any radioactive material, device or
nuclear facility shall be returned, after consultations (in particular, regarding
modalities of return and storage) with the States Parties concerned to the State Party to
which it belongs, to the State Party of which the natural or legal person owning such
radioactive material, device or facility is a national or resident, or to the State Party
from whose territory it was stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained.
3. (a) Where a State Party is prohibited by national or international law from
returning or accepting such radioactive material, device or nuclear facility
or where the States Parties concerned so agree, subject to paragraph 3 (b)
of the present article, the State Party in possession of the radioactive
material, devices or nuclear facilities shall continue to take the steps
described in paragraph 1 of the present article; such radioactive material,
devices or nuclear facilities shall be used only for peaceful purposes;
(b) Where it is not lawful for the State Party in possession of the radioactive
material, devices or nuclear facilities to possess them, that State shall
ensure that they are placed as soon as possible in the possession of a State
for which such possession is lawful and which, where appropriate, has
provided assurances consistent with the requirements of paragraph 1 of the
present article in consultation with that State, for the purpose of rendering
it harmless; such radioactive material, devices or nuclear facilities shall be
used only for peaceful purposes.
4. If the radioactive material, devices or nuclear facilities referred to in paragraphs
1 and 2 of the present article do not belong to any of the States Parties or to a national
or resident of a State Party or was not stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained from the
territory of a State Party, or if no State is willing to receive such items pursuant to
paragraph 3 of the present article, a separate decision concerning its disposition shall,
subject to paragraph 3 (b) of the present article, be taken after consultations between
the States concerned and any relevant international organizations.
5. For the purposes of paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the present article, the State Party
in possession of the radioactive material, device or nuclear facility may request the
assistance and cooperation of other States Parties, in particular the States Parties
concerned, and any relevant international organizations, in particular the International
Atomic Energy Agency. States Parties and the relevant international organizations are
encouraged to provide assistance pursuant to this paragraph to the maximum extent
6. The States Parties involved in the disposition or retention of the radioactive
material, device or nuclear facility pursuant to the present article shall inform the
Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency of the manner in which
such an item was disposed of or retained. The Director General of the International
Atomic Energy Agency shal l transmit the information to the other States Parties.
7. In the event of any dissemination in connection with an offence set forth in
article 2, nothing in the present article shall affect in any way the rules of international
law governing liability for nuclear damage, or other rules of international law.
The State Party where the alleged offender is prosecuted shall, in accordance with its
national law or applicable procedures, communicate the final outcome of the
proceedings to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall transmit the
information to the other States Parties.
States Parties shall conduct consultations with one another directly or through the
Secretary-General of the United Nations, with the assistance of international
organizations as necessary, to ensure effective implementation of this Convention.
The States Parties shall carry out their obligations under this Convention in a manner
consistent with the principles of sovereign equality and territorial integrity of States
and that of non-intervention in the domestic affairs of other
Nothing in this Convention entitles a State Party to undertake in the territory of another
State Party the exercise of jurisdiction and performance of functions which are
exclusively reserved for the authorities of that other State Party by its national law.
1. Any dispute between two or more States Parties concerning the interpretation or
application of this Convention which cannot be settled through negotiation within a
reasonable time shall, at the request of one of them, be submitted to arbitration. If,
within six months of the date of the request for arbitration, the parties are unable to
agree on the organization of the arbitration, any one of those parties may refer the
dispute to the International Court of Justice, by application, in conformity with the
Statute of the Court.
2. Each State may, at the time of signature, ratification, acceptance or approval of
this Convention or accession thereto, declare that it does not consider itself bound by paragraph 1 of the present article. The other States Parties shall not be bound by
paragraph 1 with respect to any State Party which has made such a reservation.
3. Any State which has made a reservation in accordance with paragraph 2 of the
present article may at any time withdraw that reservation by notification to the
Secretary-General of the United Nations.
1. This Convention shall be open for signature by all States from 14 September
2005 until 31 December 2006 at United Nations Headquarters in New York.
2. This Convention is subject to ratification, acceptance or approval. The
instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval shall be deposited with the
Secretary-General of the United Nations.
3. This Convention shall be open to accession by any State. The instruments of
accession shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
1. This Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day following the date of
the deposit of the twenty-second instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or
accession with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
2. For each State ratifying, accepting, approving or acceding to the Convention
after the deposit of the twenty-second instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, the Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after deposit by such State of its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.
1. A State Party may propose an amendment to this Convention. The proposed
amendment shall be submitted to the depositary, who circulates it immediately to all
2. If the majority of the States Parties request the depositary to convene a
conference to consider the proposed amendments, the depositary shall invite all States Parties to attend such a conference to begin no sooner than three months after the invitations are issued.
3. The conference shall make every effort to ensure amendments are adopted by
consensus. Should this not be possible, amendments shall be adopted by a two-third smajority of all States Parties. Any amendment adopted at the conference shall be promptly circulated by the depositary to all States Parties.
4. The amendment adopted pursuant to paragraph 3 of the present article shall enter
into force for each State Party that deposits its instrument of ratification, acceptance,
accession or approval of the amendment on the thirtieth day after the date on which
two thirds of the States Parties have deposited their relevant instrument. Thereafter, the amendment shall enter into force for any State Party on the thirtieth day after the date on which that State deposits its relevant instrument.
1. Any State Party may denounce this Convention by written notification to the
Secretary-General of the United Nations.
2. Denunciation shall take effect one year following the date on which notification
is received by the Secretary-General of the United Nations .
The original of this Convention, of which the Arabic, Chinese, English, French,
Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited with the Secretary-
General of the United Nations, who shall send certified copies thereof to all States.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned, being duly authorized thereto by their
respective Governments, have signed this Convention, opened for signature at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 14 September 2005.