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UN treaty to curb financing for terrorism comes into force

UN treaty to curb financing for terrorism comes into force

The International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism automatically entered into force today, in accordance with its provision requiring the ratification of 22 States to come into effect.

The speedy entry-into-force of the pact, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999, is widely regarded as a sign of heightened international commitment to fight terrorism, especially following the 11 September attacks against the United States. Twenty-two of the 26 ratifications/accessions received so far took place after that date. In total, 132 countries have signed the Convention.

The 28-article text criminalizes the act of providing or collecting funds with the intention or knowledge that those funds will be used to carry out a terrorist attack, according to particular definitions found in nine previously adopted anti-terrorism treaties.

The Convention itself provides one more definition: an act intended to cause death or serious injury to a civilian with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or organization either to carry out - or not to carry out - a particular action.

The Convention calls for efforts to identify, detect, and freeze or seize any funds used or allocated for the purpose of committing a terrorist act. It also asks that States consider establishing mechanisms to use such funds to compensate victims and/or their families.

In addition, it calls on financial institutions to pay special attention to unusual or suspicious transactions and to report to them government authorities. Participating countries are obliged to prosecute offenders or to extradite them to the parties that suffered from their illegal acts.