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Commitment of Mar del Plata


November 24, 1998

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The ministers and heads of delegation 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 twenty-ninth 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 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.



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