SUA Convention


 

Among the unlawful acts covered by the SUA Convention in Article 3 are the seizure of ships by force; acts of violence against persons on board ships; and the placing of devices on board a ship which are likely to destroy or damage it.

 

The 2005 Protocol to the SUA Convention adds a new Article 3bis which states that a person commits an offence within the meaning of the Convention if that person unlawfully and intentionally:

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when the purpose of the act, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a Government or an international organization to do or to abstain from any act:

 

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uses against or on a ship or discharging from a ship any explosive, radioactive material or BCN (biological, chemical, nuclear) weapon in a manner that causes or is likely to cause death or serious injury or damage;

 

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discharges, from a ship, oil, liquefied natural gas, or other hazardous or noxious substance, in such quantity or concentration that causes or is likely to cause death or serious injury or damage;

 

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uses a ship in a manner that causes death or serious injury or damage;

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transports on board a ship any explosive or radioactive material, knowing that it is intended to be used to cause, or in a threat to cause, death or serious injury or damage for the purpose of intimidating a population, or compelling a Government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act;

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transports on board a ship any BCN weapon, knowing it to be a BCN weapon;

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any source material, special fissionable material, or equipment or material especially designed or prepared for the processing, use or production of special fissionable material, knowing that it is intended to be used in a nuclear explosive activity or in any other nuclear activity not under safeguards pursuant to an IAEA comprehensive safeguards agreement; and

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transports on board a ship any equipment, materials or software or related technology that significantly contributes to the design, manufacture or delivery of a BCN weapon, with the intention that it will be used for such purpose
 
The transportation of nuclear material is not considered an offence if such item or material is transported to or from the territory of, or is otherwise transported under the control of, a State Party to the Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (Subject to conditions).
 
Under the new instrument, a person commits an offence within the meaning of the Convention if that person unlawfully and intentionally transports another person on board a ship knowing that the person has committed an act that constitutes an offence under the SUA Convention or an offence set forth in any treaty listed in the Annex. The Annex lists nine such treaties.
 
The new instrument also makes it an offence to unlawfully and intentionally injure or kill any person in connection with the commission of any of the offences in the Convention; to attempt to commit an offence; to participate as an accomplice; to organize or direct others to commit an offence; or to contribute to the commissioning of an offence.
 
A new Article requires Parties to take necessary measures to enable a legal entity (this could be a company or organization, for example) to be made liable and to face sanctions when a person responsible for management of control of that legal entity has, that capacity, committed an offence under the Convention.