Ans: Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) is proposed first by India in 1996, the ratification of it is in a limbo due to opposition from the US and OIS countries
“The CCIT was proposed by India in 1996. In 2016, despite the passage of two decades, we are yet to come to a conclusion. As a result, we are unable to develop a norm under which terrorists shall be prosecuted or extradited. Therefore it is my appeal that this General Assembly acts with fresh resolve and urgency to adopt this critical Convention,” India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj told to a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly recently.
New Delhi has pushed for an intergovernmental convention to enhance prosecution and extradition of terrorists since 1996. But, a series of terror attacks since the beginning of the year in India as well as in Bangladesh seem to have revived the Indian diplomatic establishment’s interest in voting and early adoption of the anti-terror convention.
The move is also a part of India’s strategy to isolate Pakistan internationally.
It is pertinent to ask: what does India stand to gain from the CCIT and what makes the proposed convention different from other existing (at least 14 till date) conventions?
For the uninitiated, the CCIT provides a legal framework which makes it binding on all signatories to deny funds and safe havens to terrorist groups. The original draft that was tabled in 1996 and discussed until April 2013, as The Hindu reports, included following major objectives:
•To have a universal definition of terrorism that all 193-members of the UNGA will adopt into their own criminal law
•To ban all terror groups and shut down terror camps
•To prosecute all terrorists under special laws
•To make cross-border terrorism an extraditable offence worldwide.
Despite India’s efforts to push a global intergovernmental convention to tackle terrorism, the conclusion and ratification of the CCIT remains deadlocked, mainly due to opposition from three main blocs – the US, the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC), and the Latin American countries.
All three have objections over the “definition of terrorism” (the most divisive of the issues) and seek exclusions to safeguard their strategic interests. For example, the OIC wants exclusion of national liberation movements, especially in the context of Israel-Palestinian conflict. The US wanted the draft to exclude acts committed by military forces of states during peacetime.
The most powerful objector, the U.S. has been worried about the application of the CCIT to its own military forces especially with regard to interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Changes to the draft, which The Hindu was able to access, will clarify that “the activities of armed forces during an armed conflict” will not be governed by the present convention.