Response to global terrorism: UN initiatives to enhance International cooperation in combating terrorism

In the framework of the "Slovenia and the World" lecture cycle

the International Institute for Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES)

invites You kindly to take part at the lecture entitled


which will be delivered by

Dr. Amrith Rohan Perera,

Chairman of the United Nations Ad-hoc Committee on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism and

Member of the International Law Commission (ILC)

The lecture will take place on Monday, 6 June 2011, at 16.00 h,
in the Auditorium of Center Evropa at Dalmatinova 4 in Ljubljana.

Dr. Amrith Rohan Perera will talk about international law as an instrument for international cooperation in combating terrorism.

The lecturer is currently the Member of the International Law Commission of the United Nations. He is the former Legal Adviser of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sri Lanka. In February, 2000, Dr. Perera was unanimously elected as Chairman of the United Nations Ad hoc Committee on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism established by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 51/210.

The Ad-hoc Committee is currently negotiating the Draft Comprehensive Convention on Terrorism having successfully concluded the International Convention Against Nuclear Terrorism, in 2005. Since the establishment of the Committee in 1997, Dr. Perera has served as its Vice-Chairman, representing the Asian Region. During this period the Committee adopted two landmark Conventions in the field of combating terrorism, i.e. the International Convention on the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings and the International Convention on the Suppression of Terrorist Financing. Dr. Perera is a visiting lecturer in International Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Colombo, the Bandaranaike International Diplomatic Training Institute, and the Kotelawala Defence University. He has several publications, which includes International Terrorism (Vikas, New Delhi) and Changing Frontiers of International Law (Sarvodaya Publications, Colombo). He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Manchester Journal of International Economic Law, the Law
College Law Review and the Sri Lanka Journal of International Law..

The former Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Kofi Annan stated in 2005: "Transnational networks of terrorist groups have global reach and make common cause to pose a universal threat... Even one such attack and the chain of events it might set off, could change our world forever." (In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All)

Recent events around the globe and the lingering apprehensions after the killing of Osama bin Laden in Abottabad, Pakistan, of a possible backlash by the remnant al Qaeda networks, underline the continuing relevance of these words. The response of the international community to the phenomenon of terrorism has been two fold.

Firstly, the member States of the United Nations have been engaged in building up a normative framework comprising Conventions and Protocols, which constitutes the corpus of international legislation facilitating enhanced international co-operation, designed to effectively combat various forms and manifestations of terrorism in a practical way. These initiatives go back into the 1960s, when aircraft hijackings became a widespread phenomenon.

Secondly, in more recent times, the role of the Security Council has become a vital factor in responding to specific terrorist attacks. The sanctions imposed upon Libya after the Lockerbie air disaster, against the Taliban after the attacks against the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the series of Resolutions adopted , including SC Resolution 1373 (2001) consequent to the 9/11 attacks in the United States are prime examples. These, however, constitute enforcement action under Chapter VII, rather than legislative action.

The presentation will primarily deal with the first aspect, namely the building up of a normative framework, including the current initiative of negotiating a Comprehensive Convention on Terrorism, and the legal and political challenges surrounding this initiative. The approach of the Ad-Hoc Committee to the politically divisive issue of "Definition of Terrorism" and how it proposes to deal with the perennial conundrum of "one man's terrorist being another man's freedom fighter" will receive particular attention. The presentation will make concluding observations on the need for a harmonised and mutually reinforcing approach between the norm-creating bodies of the UN General Assembly and the enforcement action by the Security Council, to make the global response to terrorism effective.

The lecture will be delivered in the English language and will be followed by a discussion with the guest lecturer which will be moderated by Zijad Bećirović and Bakhatyar Aljaf.

Attendance is free of charge. Please confirm your participation at telephone number (01) 430 15 33 or at

Ljubljana, 26 May 2011