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The ministers and head of delegations of the member states of the Organization of American States (OAS), meeting in Mar del Plata, Argentina, on November 23 and 24, 1998, for the Second Inter-American Specialized Conference on Terrorism, to evaluate the progress made and define future courses of action to prevent, combat, and eliminate terrorism, pursuant to the mandate contained in the Plan of Action of the Second Summit of the Americas, held in Santiago, Chile, in April 1998,
Considering the intention of the heads of state and government to combat, using all legal means, terrorist acts anywhere in the Hemisphere with unity and vigor, as affirmed in the Declaration of Principles of the First Summit of the Americas, held in Miami, in December 1994, and their decision, reiterated at the Second Summit of the Americas, in Santiago, Chile, to lend new impetus to the struggle against these criminal activities;
Bearing in mind the results of the First Inter-American Specialized Conference on Terrorism, held in Lima, Peru, from April 23 to 26, 1996, which adopted the Declaration and the Plan of Action of Lima to Prevent, Combat, and Eliminate Terrorism;
Bearing in mind the recommendations of the Meeting of Government Experts to Examine Ways to Improve the Exchange of Information and Other Measures for Cooperation among Member States to Prevent, Combat, and Eliminate Terrorism, held in Washington, D.C., on May 5 and 6, 1997, pursuant to the General Assembly mandate contained in resolution AG/RES. 1399 (XXVI-O/96);
Recalling resolution AG/RES. 1492 (XXVII-O/97), through which the General Assembly instructed the Permanent Council to study the recommendations and proposals made at the above-mentioned Meeting of Government Experts and, particularly, the proposals on the exchange of information aimed at improving cooperation among the member states in order to prevent, combat, and eliminate terrorism;
Bearing in mind, also, that resolution AG/RES. 1553 (XXVIII-O/98) instructed the Permanent Council to continue to consider appropriate ways and mechanisms for follow-up and implementation, as appropriate, of the measures recommended in the Plan of Action on Hemispheric Cooperation to Prevent, Combat, and Eliminate Terrorism, adopted at the Inter-American Specialized Conference on Terrorism, held in Lima, Peru, in April 1996, including a study of the necessity and advisability of a new inter-American convention on the subject, in the light of the evaluation of existing international instruments;
Taking into account the provisions of resolution 51/210, "Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism," which has as an annex the Declaration to Supplement the 1994 Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 17, 1996; and the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, open for signature as of January 12, 1998, at United Nations headquarters;
Taking into account the progress made in the Hemisphere since the first Inter-American Specialized Conference on Terrorism in obtaining a concerted and effective response to the terrorist threat, as well as the need to strengthen existing regional cooperation to achieve the objectives of the Plan of Action of Lima;
Convinced of the urgency of adopting specific measures to obtain a concerted and effective response to the terrorist threat, within the framework of respect for state sovereignty and the principle of nonintervention, in order to ensure peaceful and civilized coexistence in the Hemisphere, the rule of law, and the stability and consolidation of representative democracy itself as the form of government of the member states;
Determined to promote the establishment of an effective institutional framework for concerted action and development of hemispheric cooperation to prevent, combat, and eliminate terrorism;
Pursuant to the principles and purposes embodied in the Charter of the Organization of American States,
DECIDE TO ADOPT THE FOLLOWING COMMITMENT:
(i) To reiterate their most emphatic condemnation and repudiation of all terrorist acts, which they recognize as serious common crimes that erode peaceful and civilized coexistence, affect the rule of law and the exercise of democracy, and endanger the stability of democratically elected constitutional governments and the socioeconomic development of our countries.
(ii) To strengthen cooperation among the member states to combat terrorism, with full respect for the rule of international law and for human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for the sovereignty of states and the principle of nonintervention, and strict compliance with the rights and duties of states embodied in the Charter of the Organization of American States.
(iii) To emphasize the effectiveness and significance of the general objectives and actions set forth in the Declaration and the Plan of Action of Lima, and to reiterate their firm intention to achieve them.
(iv) To improve the exchange of information and other measures for cooperation among member states to prevent, combat, and eliminate terrorism, taking into account and welcoming the results of the Meeting of Government Experts.
(v) To note with satisfaction the progress made in the area of bilateral, subregional, and multilateral cooperation, and, taking into consideration especially the subregional coordination efforts to prevent acts of terrorism reflected in the Framework Treaty on Democratic Security in Central America, and the agreement between Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, known as the Tripartite Agreement, to express, also, their determination to increase and strengthen initiatives such as those mentioned above.
(vi) To note with satisfaction the entry into force on July 1, 1998, of the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials, and to urge states that have not yet done so to sign or ratify this instrument, as appropriate.
(vii) To recommend to the General Assembly at its 29th regular session that it establish an appropriate institutional framework, in keeping with the Charter of the Organization of American States and bearing in mind respect for state sovereignty and the principle of nonintervention, that shall be called the Inter-American Committee on Terrorism (CICTE) . It shall be formed by the competent national authorities in the member states of the Organization for the development of cooperation to prevent, combat, and eliminate terrorist acts and activities, and it shall hold at least one session a year.
The Inter-American Committee on Terrorism will be guided by international conventions on the subject, the principles and objectives of the Declaration and Plan of Action of Lima, the recommendations of the May 1997 Meeting of Government Experts to Examine Ways to Improve the Exchange of Information and Other Measures for Cooperation among the Member States in order to Prevent, Combat, and Eliminate Terrorism, the provisions of this Commitment to inter-American action and those that may be adopted in the future to prevent, combat, and eliminate terrorism.
(viii) To propose that, at the time of establishing the terms of reference and functions of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism, consideration be given to the guidelines contained in Appendix I to this Commitment, aimed at establishing effective mechanisms for cooperation among the member states to prevent, combat, and eliminate terrorism.
(ix) To request the OAS General Assembly to instruct the General Secretariat to designate, within its sphere of competence, an instance to provide technical and administrative support to the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism, in keeping with the resources allotted in the program-budget of the Organization and other resources, taking into account the process of modernization and strengthening of the OAS.
(x) To transmit to CICTE, for implementation, proposals on the ways and means such as the "Directory of Competences for the Prevention, Combating, and Elimination of Terrorism," and the "Inter-American Database on Terrorism," proposed at the Meeting of Government Experts held at OAS headquarters in May 1997, as well as the establishment of a framework for technical cooperation that takes into account the guidelines contained in Appendices I, II, and III to this Commitment.
(xi) To recommend the adoption of specific measures to respond in a concerted and effective manner to the terrorist threat and to agree, for these purposes, on guidelines for coordinated action among the member states, such as those envisaged in Appendices I, II, and III to this Commitment.
(xii) To examine the possibility of designating, in accordance with the domestic legislation of each state, National Liaison Agencies for purposes of facilitating cooperation among the organs of the member states responsible for preventing, combating, and eliminating terrorism.
(xiii) To encourage member states to continue to develop bilateral, subregional, or multilateral cooperation mechanisms, which does not preclude the competent organs of the OAS from considering the proposals contained in this Commitment.
(xiv) To urge the member states that have not yet done so to promptly sign, ratify, or accede to, in conformity with their respective domestic legislation, the international conventions on terrorism referred to in United Nations resolution 51/210, namely the Convention on Offences and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft, signed in Tokyo on September 14, 1963; the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft, signed in The Hague on December 16, 1970; the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation, concluded in Montreal on September 23, 1971; the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents, adopted in New York on December 14, 1973; the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages, adopted in New York on December 17, 1979; the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, signed in Vienna on March 3, 1980; the Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts of Violence at Airports Serving International Civil Aviation, supplementary to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation, signed in Montreal on February 24, 1988; the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, done in Rome on March 10, 1988; the Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms located on the Continental Shelf, done in Rome on March 10, 1988; and the Convention on the Marking of Plastic Explosives for the Purpose of Detection, done in Montreal on March 1, 1991, and the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, available for signature at United Nations headquarters as of January 12, 1998.
(xv) To make the greatest possible effort to make available to the Organization of American States sufficient funds to develop the joint programs and activities adopted by CICTE.
(xvi) To seek the supplementary financial support required to conduct counterterrorism activities successfully within the framework of CICTE from external sources, including the OAS permanent observer states and other states and financial institutions, particularly the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) .
(xvii) To recommend to the General Assembly that, at its twenty-ninth regular session, it consider the adoption of appropriate financing mechanisms, in particular the establishment of a specific fund for implementation of the programs and activities approved within the framework of CICTE.
(xviii) To recommend to the General Assembly that it entrust the Permanent Council with continuing to study the need and advisability of a new inter-American convention on terrorism, in light of existing international instruments.
(xix) To recommend to the General Assembly that it instruct the OAS General Secretariat to:
a. Collaborate with CICTE in preparing the draft Statute and Rules of Procedure. The Statute should be approved by the General Assembly and the Rules of Procedure by CICTE itself.
b. Collaborate in the preparation of the reports that CICTE shall have to present to the General Assembly through the Permanent Council.
(xx) To recommend to the Permanent Council that, when presenting its observation and recommendations to the General Assembly regarding the CICTE report, in accordance with Article 91.f of the Charter, it include references to the need to coordinate the activities of that Committee with the work of the other bodies in the Organization .
(xxi) To recommend to the Inter-American Juridical Committee that it study the strengthening of juridical and judicial cooperation, including extradition, as a form of combating terrorism, and that it collaborate with CICTE in devising norms on this subject.
THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMITTEE ON TERRORISM (CICTE)
Nature, powers, and functions of CICTE
1. The Inter-American Committee on Terrorism (CICTE) shall be an entity established by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in conformity with Article 53 of the Charter of the Organization, which shall enjoy technical autonomy. It will be composed of the competent national authorities of all the member states and be governed in the exercise of its functions by the provisions of Article 91.f of the Charter.
2. In the exercise of its functions, CICTE shall promote the development of inter-American cooperation on the basis of international conventions on this matter and the Declaration of Lima to Prevent, Combat, and Eliminate Terrorism. It shall be empowered to encourage, develop, coordinate, and evaluate implementation of the Plan of Action of Lima, the recommendations of the Meeting of Government Experts to Examine Ways to Improve the Exchange of Information and Other Measures for Cooperation among Member States to Prevent, Combat, and Eliminate Terrorism, as well as the recommendations contained in this Commitment.
3. CICTE will provide assistance to member states requesting it, in order to prevent, combat, and eliminate terrorism, while promoting, in accordance with the domestic laws of the member states, the exchange of information and experiences with the activities of persons, groups, organizations, and movements linked to terrorist acts as well as with the methods, sources of finance and entities directly or indirectly protecting or supporting them, and their possible links to other crimes.
4. In order to ensure an adequate exchange of information on the issue of illicit trafficking in arms, munitions, explosives, materials, or technology capable of being used to perpetrate terrorist acts or activities, CICTE will coordinate with the Consultative Committee established by the 1997 Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Production of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials.
5. CICTE will hold at least one annual session. During its first session, CICTE will draw up its work schedule designed to implement the following guidelines:
a. To create an inter-American network for gathering and transmitting data via the competent national authorities, designed to exchange the information and experiences referred to in paragraph 3, including the creation of an inter-American database on terrorism issues that will be at the disposal of member states.
b. To compile the legal and regulatory norms on preventing, combating, and eliminating terrorism in force in member states.
c. To compile the bilateral, subregional, regional, or multilateral treaties and agreements signed by member states to prevent, combat, and eliminate terrorism.
d. To study the appropriate mechanisms to ensure more effective application of international legal norms on the subject, especially the norms and provisions contemplated in the conventions against terrorism in force in states parties to those conventions mentioned in paragraph xiv of this Commitment.
e. To formulate proposals designed to provide assistance to states requesting it in drafting national antiterrorist laws.
f. To devise mechanisms for cooperation in detecting forged identity documents.
g. To devise mechanisms for cooperation among competent migration authorities.
h. To design technical cooperation programs and activities for training staff assigned to tasks related to preventing, combating, and eliminating terrorism in each of the member states that request such assistance.
6. The above-mentioned guidelines do not preclude the possibility of CICTE carrying out other activities should the General Assembly so determine.
7. With the acquiescence of the competent authorities, CICTE may establish mechanisms for coordinating with other competent international entities, such as INTERPOL.
GUIDELINES FOR INTER-AMERICAN COOPERATION
REGARDING TERRORIST ACTS AND ACTIVITIES
1. Inter-American cooperation in dealing with terrorist acts and activities will be guided by full respect for domestic laws and regulations and for international law and will be carried out exclusively at the express request of the affected state.
2. Inter-American cooperation shall respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, as well as the principle of nonintervention in domestic affairs under the jurisdiction of the state, in accordance with the Charter of the Organization of American States.
3. Pursuant to inter-American norms on the subject, each state has the exclusive right to determine the nature of occurrences that could qualify as terrorist acts or activities. The states shall cooperate closely as regards extradition in accordance with their domestic laws and the extradition treaties in force, without prejudice to the right of states to grant asylum under the appropriate circumstances.
4. Each state has the fundamental and principal responsibility of preventing, combating, and eliminating terrorism, a goal that inter-American cooperation pursues according to the following guidelines.
5. The member states will seek to cooperate in the fight against all forms of terrorism, to the fullest extent permitted by their national laws and regulations, in accordance with their legal obligations arising from existing international conventions on terrorism, and as set out in these guidelines.
6. The member states will seek to cooperate, to the extent that they find mutually beneficial, in the development and implementation of joint programs and activities to facilitate the full realization of the intent of these guidelines.
7. The member states will seek to cooperate, by mutual consent, in the event of a terrorist act. Cooperation under these guidelines may include assistance with: weapons detection and deactivation, hostage negotiations, intelligence gathering, communications systems, search and rescue for victims, and criminal investigations.
8. Irrespective of bilateral mechanisms, member states will seek, insofar as possible within the context of domestic legislation, through CICTE, to exchange information regarding the laws, regulations, plans, and administrative procedures concerned with preventing, combating, and eliminating terrorist acts and activities.
9. Member states will seek to cooperate in dealing with terrorist acts and activities. To that end, member states may provide assistance, when such assistance is expressly requested, to another state in order to prevent, combat, and eliminate terrorism. That cooperation may include technical, scientific, and logistical assistance, depending on the agreement reached by the states involved. Member states will seek to prepare operational plans and crisis management procedures within their respective governments in response to terrorist activities.
10. Member states will seek to keep other states up to date regarding occurrences that, in their view, could be classified as terrorist acts and activities.
11. Whenever a member state becomes aware of occurrences that it considers could be classified as terrorist acts or activities with a transnational impact, it will seek to notify, as soon as possible, the state or states that could be affected.
12. The member states will seek to notify each other of any request or acceptance of assistance from a third party regarding a terrorist activity or act that has affected or could directly affect another member state.
13. The member states will seek to inform CICTE or any other competent organ in the OAS, whenever possible, of the events referred to in paragraph 4.
14. In the event of occurrences that could be classified as terrorist acts and activities with a transnational impact, member states will seek in a manner compatible with their domestic laws and regulations and applicable international conventions:
a. To authorize and facilitate the presence of liaison representatives at locations agreed to by the member states, consistent with domestic crisis management procedures, who will be responsible for maintaining channels of communication between the member states and for facilitating accurate exchanges of information on operational and policy decisions;
b. To the extent appropriate, to share information concerning the materials, devices, and/or weapons used in that terrorist act or activity; likely perpetrators; their possible sources of support; and any other relevant information.
c. To afford one another the greatest measure of assistance in judicial cooperation, including assistance in obtaining evidence at their disposal necessary for such investigations or proceedings.
15. The member states will seek to safeguard the confidentiality of information that is not a matter of public record, exchanged pursuant to these guidelines, and to prevent the disclosure of such information to third parties in accordance with their national laws and regulations.
16. Information and materials exchanged under these guidelines may be disclosed to third states only with the explicit consent of the member state that provided it.
MEASURES TO ELIMINATE TERRORIST FUNDRAISING
1. Countermeasures against terrorism must include effective actions to impede the flow of funds that terrorist organizations depend on to secure and maintain weapons, equipment, and other materials, and to pay for training, travel, false documentation, recruiting, salaries, communications, and/or any other activity intended to finance acts pursuing terrorist goals. A significant portion of the fiscal needs of terrorist organizations are met from the proceeds of traditional criminal activity and from the solicitation of ostensibly charitable, humanitarian, and philanthropic contributions, some of which are diverted to fund terrorist operations.
2. The effectiveness of measures to counter transnational terrorist fundraising will be enhanced through cooperative action among OAS member states.
3. OAS member states recognize that states that seek to disrupt financial flows to terrorist organizations make it possible to move ahead in cooperation with other states to prevent, combat, and eliminate terrorism.
Execution of measures against terrorist fundraising
4. Through CICTE or other competent entities, OAS member states agree to consider adopting the following measures to counter terrorist fundraising, evaluating, where necessary, the desirability of strengthening national laws:
a. Promote the necessary measures to discern and then block the capital flows financing terrorism, within the framework of the laws already in force in each state, or by devising norms that are compatible with them and make it possible to achieve objectives.
b. Ensure that law enforcement officials are trained in the prevention and detection of terrorist fundraising and, in the performance of their duties, encourage them to cooperate in international training efforts designed to address terrorist fundraising;
c. Ensure that records of financial transactions are available to law enforcement officials and that each member state has the legal and logistical means to enable their law enforcement officials to share with their counterparts in other member states documentary, financial and other information useful in criminal investigations and/or civil and administrative matters related to terrorist fundraising;
d. Cooperate, in a manner consistent with national laws and states' international commitments, with other member states in international investigations and prosecutions of terrorist fundraising violations, including assisting with locating and interviewing witnesses and with obtaining financial and other relevant documents;
e. Apply norms that create the bases and effective mechanisms to reinforce agreements and treaties on extradition for criminal offenses involving terrorist fundraising;
f. Apply norms that require financial institutions to maintain records of financial transactions for at least five years;
g. Apply norms that require financial institutions to obtain, and maintain records of, information that allows them to identify, verify, and know their customers;
h. Apply norms that ensure that financial institutions bring financial activities presumed to be intended to fund terrorist acts or activities to the timely attention of the competent authorities;
i. Apply norms that protect against the misuse of currency in transactions involving financial institutions and in cross-border transportation;
j. Apply norms that compel financial institutions to comply with the requirements to protect a member state's financial system from abuse by terrorist fundraisers.
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