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Message to the Senate of the United States on the Protocol Supplementary to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft


Location: Washington, DC


With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the Protocol Supplementary to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft (the "Beijing Protocol"), adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization International Conference on Air Law (Diplomatic Conference on Aviation Security) in Beijing on September 10, 2010, and signed by the United States on that same date. I also transmit, for the information of the Senate, the report of the Department of State with respect to the Beijing Protocol.

The Beijing Protocol is an important component of international efforts to prevent and punish terrorism targeting civil aviation. It supplements the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft, done at The Hague on December 16, 1970 (the "Hague Convention"), and fills several gaps in the existing international legal framework for combatting global terrorism. It will significantly advance cooperation between States Parties in the prevention of the full range of unlawful acts relating to civil aviation and in the prosecution and punishment of offenders.

The Beijing Protocol amends the existing hijacking offense in the Hague Convention to cover hijackings that occur pre- or post-flight and addresses situations in which the offender may attempt to control an aircraft from outside of the aircraft, such as by remotely interfering with flight operation or data transmission systems. The Beijing Protocol requires States Parties to criminalize these acts under their domestic laws and to cooperate to prevent and investigate suspected crimes under the Beijing Protocol. It includes an "extradite or prosecute" obligation with respect to persons accused of committing, attempting to commit, conspiring to commit, or aiding in the commission of such offenses.

Some changes to United States law will be needed for the United States to implement provisions of the Beijing Protocol, obligating the United States to criminalize certain offenses, make those offenses punishable by appropriate penalties, and authorize the assertion of jurisdiction over such offenses. Proposed legislation is being separately transmitted by my Administration to the Congress.

I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Beijing Protocol, subject to a reservation and certain understandings that are described in the accompanying report of the Department of State.


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