The 1937 Geneva Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Terrorism

The fi rst attempt to articulate a defi nition of terrorist acts for the purposes of international criminal law is represented by the Geneva Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Terrorism,2 which was adopted, on 16 November 1937, on the initiative of the League of Nations (LN), the predecessor of the United Nations, following the assassination in Marseilles, on 9 October 1934, of the King of Yugoslavia and of the French Minister of Foreign Affairs by a Croatian exile. The 1937 Convention was intended, inter alia, to oblige parties thereto to establish as offences in their national criminal legislation certain specifi c acts listed in Article 2 thereof, as well as to prosecute, or extradite, the alleged offenders if certain conditions were met.3 Without going into unnecessary details, it may be interesting to recall that the acts listed in Article 2 of the convention were: (a) intentional acts directed against the life, bodily integrity, health or freedom of Heads of State, or members of their families, or other persons exercising governmental functions; (b) intentional acts resulting in the destruction of, or in damage to, foreign state property; (c) intentional acts of a nature to endanger human life through the creation of a collective danger; (d) attempts to perform any such acts; (e) the manufacture, acquisition, detention or transfer of arms, ammunition, explosive products or noxious substances with a view to committing in any country any such acts.