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With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the Convention on the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Relating to International Civil Aviation (the “Beijing Convention”), adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization International Conference on Air Law (Diplomatic Conference on Aviation Security) in Beijing on September 10, 2010, and signed by the United States on that same date.  I also transmit, for the information of the Senate, the report of the Department of State with respect to the Beijing Convention.

The Beijing Convention is an important component of international efforts to prevent and punish both terrorism targeting civil aviation and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  As between parties to the Beijing Convention, it replaces and supersedes the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Civil Aviation, done at Montreal, September 23, 1971, and its supplementary protocol, the Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts of Violence at Airports Serving International Civil Aviation, done at Montreal, February 24, 1988.  It significantly strengthens the existing international counterterrorism legal framework and facilitates the prosecution and extradition of those who seek to commit acts of terror, including acts such as those committed on September 11, 2001.

The Beijing Convention establishes the first international treaty framework that criminalizes certain terrorist acts, including using an aircraft in a terrorist activity and certain acts relating to the transport of weapons of mass destruction or related materials by aircraft.  The Beijing Convention requires States Parties to criminalize specified acts under their domestic laws and to cooperate to prevent and investigate suspected crimes under the Beijing Convention.  It includes an “extradite or prosecute” obligation with respect to persons accused of committing, attempting to commit, conspiring to commit, or aiding in the commission of such offenses.

Some changes to United States law will be needed for the United States to implement provisions of the Beijing Convention obligating the United States to criminalize certain offenses, make those offenses punishable by appropriate penalties, and authorize the assertion of jurisdiction over such offenses.  Proposed legislation is being separately transmitted by my Administration to the Congress.

I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Beijing Convention, subject to a reservation and certain understandings that are described in the accompanying report of the Department of State.


June 18, 2020.