ATbar Arab League States sign an accord to fight Terrorism and Extremism

Arab League States sign an accord to fight Terrorism and Extremism

22/04/1998 | by ICT Staff  

Translated by Reuven Paz, ICT, from “al-Ayam” (Qatar), 23/4/96.

The Interior and Justice Ministers of the 22 Arab States within the League of Arab States, signed on April 22nd 1998, for the first time, an accord to fight Terrorism and Extremism. The accord was described by the Secretary of the League as a unique achievement.

The Main Principles Of The Accord:

  1. Commitment to high moral and religious principles, above all the rules of the Islamic Shari`a and the human heritage of the Arab Nation, which condemns violence and terrorism and stresses the defense of human rights and cooperation between societies for the sake of peace.
  2. Commitment to the rules of the covenant of the League of Arab States, of the UN, International Law and all other related international agreements. These are all the wellsping of international society in its pursuit of peace and security for all.
  3. Differentiation between terrorist crimes and the struggle against foreign occupation and aggression, according to the principles of International Law.
  4. Intensification of the Arab cooperation and coordination in the judicial security fields, and the creation of a common ground for this coordination by accepted bases to the judicial means of operations.
  5. Coordination between the terms of this accord and the laws and steps taken by every individual state, in order to fulfill the common national aims of this accord.

The Main Terms Of The Accord:

  1. The members of the League commit themselves not to use their lands as an arena for planning, organizing or carrying out terrorist crimes of any kind nor take part in such activity. This includes the prevention of infiltration of terrorist elements into their lands or the sojourn upon them of individuals as well as groups, nor accommodation, training, finance, arms or any other assistance.
  2. The members of the League, mainly those which have common borders, commit themselves to coordinate the means of Counter-Terrorism, including the arrest of terrorists and bringing them to judgment according to their national laws, or surrendering them according to this accord or bilateral accords.
  3. The exchange of information, researches and experience among the members of the League, and conducting of common training courses in order to promote the scientific and practical abilities of those who work in the field of Counter-Terrorism.
  4. The extradition of prisoners or detainees of terrorist nature who are wanted by any other state member of the League, in accordance with accepted and defined rules. The appeals for extradition should be exchanged between the concerned officials directly or through the Justice Ministries or the diplomatic channels.
  5. Every state has the right to ask another state to take in its place the necessary legal measures related to Terrorism on its lands. The Member States of the League also commit themselves to give the other states all the possible assistance needed in the investigations or the trials of Terrorist nature.
  6. Terrorists should be tried according to the national law or extradited according to this accord or the bilateral accords between the two states involved.

Commentary by Reuven Paz - ICT

This accord was achieved after two years of intensive discussions on different levels, on the initiative of the Egyptian regime. It is aimed mainly against Radical and Islamic Fundamentalist Terrorism, which is partially assisted by various Arab states.

An interesting point in the accord is the fact that there is no procedure to arrive at common judicial rules nor to create a common judicial institution. Rather the emphasis is on the judicial independence of every state. There is also no procedure to build a common apparatus for Counter-Terrorism, such as were established in the past for the coordination of the war against Israel or the economic Arab boycott over Israel. This is probably due to an absence of Arab unity in the 1990s and the differences of opinion among the various states concerning Islamic Law.

The only reference here to Israel is the differentiation between Terrorism and the struggle against occupation. It gives legitimacy to Palestinian Islamic Terrorism against Israel by organizations some of which are colleagues of terrorist groups in the Arab states or sponsored by other Arab regimes.

What importance this accord has lies in the fact that it was signed after so long a debate. We cannot estimate that it will have any real effect on Islamic Terrorist activity. There are too many contradictory interests between various Arab states, in which the Islamists are involved.