United Nations, Oct 5 : The global organisation's failure to agree on a pact against terrorism is letting terrorists go free in third countries, warned India on Thursday.
Even though it is an "alarming concern that impacts us all and requires effective international collaboration" global law-making against "terrorism continues to falter in view of narrow geopolitical interests," said Yedla Umasankar, the Legal Adviser at India's UN Mission.
Speaking at the General Assembly committee dealing with legal affairs, Umasankar said an area of concern relates to "extraterritorial jurisdiction to plug any gaps in accountability for crimes committed in third countries".
Terrorists often are able to live in third countries under their protection, as in the case of perpetrators of terrorism in India who are able to freely stay and operate in Pakistan, with even the Security Council's anti-terrorism sanctions blocked.
Umasankar did not name any countries or specific instances in his speech.
Some countries were blocking the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) proposed by India 21 years ago by hiding behind "legal concepts, designed for different contexts," he said.
The CCIT was proposed by India in 1996 but has been blocked by disputes over who is a terrorist, with some countries claim that some terrorists favoured by them are "freedom-fighters".
"Regrettably, there are areas where we have not been able to develop international rule of law to our serious collective disadvantage," Umasankar said.
In emerging areas like artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and maritime piracy the laws have not been able to keep up with advances in technology and the impact of terrorists and other non-State actors using them across borders, he said.
"Strategic and competitive concerns make progress difficult on development or enforcement of rules and laws on issues such as law of the sea or other global commons," he said.
Even where there are frameworks like law of the sea, on issues like the trans-boundary aspects of waterways "it is much more difficult to achieve consensus on general principles in view of strong sovereignty and situation specific strategic concerns," he added.
(Arul Louis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)