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The future of the draft UN Convention on international terrorism

Sara De Vido (Department of Economics, Università Ca’ Foscari, Venezia, Italy)

Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice

ISSN: 2056-3841

Article publication date: 18 September 2017




The paper is meant to analyse the debate over the revival of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that a United Nations (UN) Convention on international terrorism is still necessary – provided that it is updated considering the new challenges that have recently emerged – and could be complemented by an annex containing the list of terrorist organisations, the determination of which is of common concern of the entire international community.


The analysis is conducted from an international law perspective. The paper uses a comparative perspective – counter-terrorism, Antarctic and ICAO system - to support the main argument.


The paper proposes an annex to the convention including a list of terrorist organisations. Some terrorist organisations are unanimously labelled as terrorist and therefore this list will be useful in developing cooperation among States. A system of revision is also presented; a system which emphasises the role of the UN Ombudsperson.

Research limitations/implications

The proposal presented does not delve into the content of the convention which should be based on the draft prepared by the UN General Assembly ad hoc Committee and should take into account the most recent forms of terrorism. The paper does not provide an answer to all the questions, and it does not linger over the tragedy of civilians living in Syria and Iraq who have been deprived – starting long before the rise of the Islamic State – of their land and lives.

Practical implications

Revival of the debate on the draft convention – proposal for a renewed role of the Ombudsperson – legal implications of a list annexed to a convention on international terrorism – importance of multilateral cooperation in the field.


The paper is innovative in changing the perspective of the problem. The point of view regarding the definition of international terrorism has usually been the following: to find a common definition of international terrorism trying to overcome all the differences regarding general exceptions. The proposed perspective is to find the lowest common denominator for the definition and to identify organisations on which States cannot but agree on their condemnation.



De Vido, S. (2017), "The future of the draft UN Convention on international terrorism", Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 233-247.



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