Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Civil Aviation
United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention
September 23, 1971
U.N.T.S. No. 14118,
vol. 974, pp. 178-184
Entry into Force: 26 January 1973
The States Parties
to the Convention
unlawful acts against the safety of civil aviation jeopardize the safety of
persons and property, seriously affect the operation of air services, and undermine
the confidence of the peoples of the world in the safety of civil aviation;
the occurrence of such acts is a matter of grave concern;
for the purpose of deterring such acts, there is an urgent need to provide appropriate
measures for punishment of offenders;
Have agreed as
- Any person
commits an offence if he unlawfully and intentionally:
an act of violence against a person on board an aircraft in flight if that
act is likely to endanger the safety of that aircraft; or
an aircraft in service or causes damage to such an aircraft which renders
it incapable of flight or which is likely to endanger its safety in flight;
- places or
causes to be placed on an aircraft in service, by any means whatsoever,
a device or substance which is likely to destroy that aircraft, or to cause
damage to it which renders it incapable of flight, or to cause damage to
it which is likely to endanger its safety in flight; or
or damages air navigation facilities or interferes with their operation,
if any such act is likely to endanger the safety of aircraft in flight;
information which he knows to be false, thereby endangering the safety of
an aircraft in flight.
- Any person
also commits an offence if he:
to commit any of the offences mentioned in paragraph 1 of this Article;
- is an accomplice
of a person who commits or attempts to commit any such offence.
For the purposes
of this Convention:
- an aircraft
is considered to be in flight at any time from the moment when all its external
doors are closed following embarkation until the moment when any such door
is opened for disembarkation; in the case of a forced landing, the flight
shall be deemed to continue until the competent authorities take over the
responsibility for the aircraft and for persons and property on board;
- an aircraft is considered to be in service from the beginning of the preflight
preparation of the aircraft by ground personnel or by the crew for a specific
flight until twenty-four hours after any landing; the period of service shall,
in any event, extend for the entire period during which the aircraft is in
flight as defined in paragraph (a) of this Article.
State undertakes to make the offences mentioned in Article 1 punishable by severe
- This Convention
shall not apply to aircraft used in military, customs or police services.
- In the cases contemplated in subparagraphs (a), (b), (c) and (e) of paragraph
1 of Article 1, this Convention shall apply, irrespective of whether the aircraft
is engaged in an international or domestic flight, only if:
- the place of take-off or landing, actual or intended, of the aircraft
is situated outside the territory of the State of registration of that aircraft;
- the offence is committed in the territory of a State other than the State
of registration of the aircraft.
- Notwithstanding paragraph 2 of this Article, in the cases contemplated in
subparagraphs (a), (b), (c) and (e) of paragraph 1 of Article 1, this Convention
shall also apply if the offender or the alleged offender is found in the territory
of a State other than the State of registration of the aircraft.
- With respect to the States mentioned in Article 9 and in the cases mentioned
insubparagraphs (a), (b), (c) and (e) of paragraph 1 of Article 1, this Convention
shall not apply if the places referred to in subparagraph (a) of paragraph
2 of this Article are situated within the territory of the same State where
that State is one of those referred to in Article 9, unless the offence is
committed or the offender or alleged offender is found in the territory of
a State other than that State.
- In the cases contemplated in subparagraph (d) of paragraph 1 of Article
1, this Convention shall apply only if the air navigation facilities are used
in international air navigation.
- The provisions of paragraphs 2, 3, 4 and 5 of this Article shall also apply
in the cases contemplated in paragraph 2 of Article 1.
- Each Contracting
State shall take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction
over the offences in the following cases:
- when the offence is committed in the territory of that State;
- when the offence is committed against or on board an aircraft registered
in that State;
- when the aircraft on board which the offence is committed lands in its
territory with the alleged offender still on board;
- when the offence is committed against or on board an aircraft leased without
crew to a lessee who has his principal place of business or, if the lessee
has no such place of business, his permanent residence, in that State.
- Each Contracting State shall likewise take such measures as may be necessary
to establish its jurisdiction over the offences mentioned in Article 1, paragraph
1 (a), (b) and (c), and in Article 1, paragraph 2, in so far as that paragraph
relates to those offences, in the case where the alleged offender is present
in its territory and it does not extradite him pursuant to Article 8 to any
of the States mentioned in paragraph 1 of this Article.
- This Convention does not exclude any criminal jurisdiction exercised in
accordance with national law.
- Upon being
satisfied that the circumstances so warrant, any Contracting State in the
territory of which the offender or the alleged offender is present, shall
take him into custody or take other measures to ensure his presence. The custody
and other measures shall be as provided in the law of that State but may only
be continued for such time as is necessary to enable any criminal or extradition
proceedings to be instituted.
- Such State shall immediately make a preliminary enquiry into the facts.
- Any person in custody pursuant to paragraph 1 of this Article shall be assisted
in communicating immediately with the nearest appropriate representative of
the State of which he is a national.
- When a State, pursuant to this Article, has taken a person into custody,
it shall immediately notify the States mentioned in Article 5, paragraph 1,
the State of nationality of the detained person and, if it considers it advisable,
any other interested State of the fact that such person is in custody and
of the circumstances which warrant his detention. The State which makes the
preliminary enquiry contemplated in paragraph 2 of this Article shall promptly
report its findings to the said States and shall indicate whether it intends
to exercise jurisdiction.
State in the territory of which the alleged offender is found shall, if it does
not extradite him, be obliged, without exception whatsoever and whether or not
the offence was committed in its territory, to submit the case to its competent
authorities for the purpose of prosecution. Those authorities shall take their
decision in the same manner as in the case of any ordinary offence of a serious
nature under the law of that State.
- The offences
shall be deemed to be included as extraditable offences in any extradition
treaty existing between Contracting States. Contracting States undertake to
include the offences as extraditable offences in every etradition treaty to
be concluded between them.
- If a Contracting State which makes extradition conditional on the existence
of a treaty receives a request for extradition from another Contracting State
with which it has no extradition treaty, it may at its option consider this
Convention as the legal basis for extradition in respect of the offences.
Extradition shall be subject to the other conditions provided by the law of
the requested State.
- Contracting States which do not make extradition conditional on the existence
of a treaty shall recognize the offences as extraditable offences between
themselves subject to the conditions provided by the law of the requested
- Each of the offences shall be treated, for the purpose of extradition between
Contracting States, as if it had been committed not only in the place in which
it occurred but also in the territories of the States required to establish
their jurisdiction in accordance with Article 5, paragraph 1 (b), (c) and
States which establish joint air transport operating organizations or international
operating agencies, which operate aircraft which are subject to joint or international
registration shall, by appropriate means, designate for each aircraft the State
among them which shall exercise the jurisdiction and have the attributes of
the State of registration for the purpose of this Convention and shall give
notice thereof to the International Civil Aviation Organization which shall
communicate the notice to all States Parties to this Convention.
States shall, in accordance with international and national law, endeavour
to take all practicable measure for the purpose of preventing the offences
mentioned in Article 1.
- When, due to the commission of one of the offences mentioned in Article
1, a flight has been delayed or interrupted, any Contracting State in whose
territory the aircraft or passengers or crew are presentshall facilitate the
continuation of the journey of the passengers and crew as soon as practicable,
and shall without delay return the aircraft and its cargo to the persons lawfully
entitled to possession.
States shall afford one another the greatest measure of assistance in connection
with criminal proceedings brought in respect of the offences. The law of the
State requested shall apply in all cases.
- The provisions of paragraph 1 of this Article shall not affect obligations
under any other treaty, bilateral or multilateral, which governs or will govern,
in whole or in part, mutual assistance in criminal matters.
State having reason to believe that one of the offences mentioned in Article
1 will be committed shall, in accordance with its national law, furnish any
relevant information in its possession to those States which it believes would
be the States mentioned in Article 5, paragraph 1.
State shall in accordance with its national law report to the Council of the
International Civil Aviation Organization as promptly as possible any relevant
information in its possession concerning:
- the circumstances
of the offence;
- the action
taken pursuant to Article 10, paragraph 2;
- the measures
taken in relation to the offender or the alleged offender and, in particular,
the results of any extradition proceedings or other legal proceedings.
- Any dispute
between two or more Contracting States concerning the interpretation or application
of this Convention which cannot be settled through negotiation, shall, at
the request of one of them, be submitted to arbitration. If within six months
from the date of the request for arbitration the Parties are unable to agree
on the organization of the arbitration, any one of those Parties may refer
the dispute to the International Court ofJustice by request in conformity
with the Statute of the Court.
- Each State may at the time of signature or ratification of this Convention
or accession thereto, declare that it does not consider itself bound by the
preceding paragraph. The other Contracting States shall not be bound by the
preceding paragraph with respect to any Contracting State having made such
- Any Contracting State having made a reservation in accordance with the preceding
paragraph may at any time withdraw this reservation by notification to the
- This Convention
shall be open for signature at Montreal on 23 September 1971, by States participating
in the International Conference on Air Law held at Montreal from 8 to 23 September
1971 (hereinafter referred to as the Montreal Conference). After 10 October
1971, the Convention shall be open to all States for signature in Moscow,
London and Washington. Any State which does not sign this Convention before
its entry into force in accordance with paragraph 3 of this Article may accede
to it at any time.
- This Convention shall be subject to ratification by the signatory States.
Instruments of ratification and instruments of accession shall be deposited
with the Governments of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America,
which are hereby designated the Depositary Governments.
- This Convention shall enter into force thirty days following the date of
the deposit of instruments of ratification by ten States signatory to this
Convention which participated in the Montreal Conference.
- For other States, this Convention shall enter into force on the date of
entry into force of this Convention in accordance with paragraph 3 of this
Article, or thirty days following the date of deposit of their instruments
of ratification or accession, whichever is later.
- The Depositary Governments shall promptly inform all signatory andacceding
States of the date of each signature, the date of deposit of each instrument
of ratification or accession, the date of entry into force of this Convention,
and other notices.
- As soon as this Convention comes into force, it shall be registered by the
Depositary Governments pursuant to Article 102 of the Convention on International
Civil Aviation (Chicago, 1944).
- Any Contracting
State may denounce this Convention by written notification to the Depositary
- Denunciation shall take effect six months following the date on which notification
is received by the Depositary Governments.
In Witness Whereof
the undersigned Plenipotentiaries, being duly authorized thereto by their Governments,
have signed this Convention.
Done at Montreal,
this twenty-third day of September, one thousand nine hundred and seventy-one,
in three originals, each being drawn up in four authentic texts in the English,
French, Russian and Spanish languages.
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