Sponsorship speech: Amendment to the Convention on Int’l Civil Aviation [Article 3bis]

Sponsorship speech on the protocol relating to an Amendment to the Convention on International Civil Aviation [Article 3bis]
By Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago
(Delivered by Senator Pia S. Cayetano)
19 May 2015

Mr. President, distinguished colleagues:

I have the honor to sponsor the concurrence by the Senate with the Philippines’ ratification to the Protocol relating to an Amendment to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, which refers to the addition of a new article called Article 3bis. The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations recommends concurrence within the year.

Rationale

This 1984 Protocol that adds Article 3bis to the 1944 Chicago Convention prohibits the use of weapons against civil aircraft in flight. It gives states the right to force such aircraft for civilian use to land at a designated airport in order to put a stop the use of the same that is inconsistent with the aims of the Chicago Convention. Under the Protocol, states are obliged to ensure that civilian aircraft is not used for nefarious purposes.

Historical Background

The development of Article 3bis to the Chicago Convention can be described as coming from a tragic history of attacks against civilian aircraft. A 1919 report to the Preliminary Conference of Versailles after the First World War found that destruction of civilian vessels was rampant during the war and that perpetrators should be subject to criminal prosecution.

Thereafter, the 1923 Hague Rules of Air Warfare was crafted. Article 33 of which provides that:

Belligerent non-military aircraft, whether public or private, flying within the jurisdiction of their own state, are liable to be fired upon unless they make the nearest available landing on the approach of enemy military aircraft.

This language was improved under the 1956 New Delhi Draft Rules, Article 6, which has an explicit prohibition on attacks against “installations or means of transport, which are for the exclusive use of, and occupied by, the civilian population.” Presumably, the New Delhi Draft Rules was drafted in reaction to the 1955 interception in Eastern Europe of a civilian aircraft bound for Israel that killed 58 people.

Two incidents between 1978 and 1983 involving Korean Airlines aircraft made it imperative to revisit the Chicago Convention and propose measures to prevent a recurrence of the tragedies. On 10 May 1984, the Protocol was adopted by consensus.

Salient Features

Colleagues, the Protocol has the following provisions which I will read:

Contracting States recognize that every State must refrain from resorting to the use of weapons against civil aircraft in flight and that, in case of interception, the lives of persons on board and the safety of aircraft must not be endangered;

Contracting States recognize that every State, in the exercise of its sovereignty, is entitled to require the landing at some designated airport of a civil aircraft flying above its territory without authority or if there are reasonable grounds to conclude that it is being used for any purpose inconsistent with the aims of the Convention; it may also give such aircraft any other instructions to put an end to such violations. Each contracting State agrees to publish its regulations in force regarding the interception of civil aircraft;

Every civil aircraft shall comply with an order given in conformity with paragraph (b) of Article 3 of the Chicago Convention. To this end, each contracting State shall establish all necessary provisions in its national laws or regulations to make such compliance mandatory for any civil aircraft registered in that State or operated by an operator who has his principal place of business or permanent residence in that State. Each contracting State shall make any violation of such applicable laws or regulations punishable by severe penalties and shall submit the case to its competent authorities in accordance with its laws or regulations;

Each contracting State shall take appropriate measures to prohibit the deliberate use of any civil aircraft registered in that State or operated by an operator who has his principal place of business or permanent residence in that State for any purpose inconsistent with the aims of this Convention.

Reasons for concurrence

Colleagues, I ask you to concur with the ratification of this Protocol as it is consistent with existing Philippine laws and signals the country’s alignment with international standards in the handling of incidents that Article 3bis covers.

Advantages of Ratification

Concurrence with this Protocol advances Philippine efforts to build confidence in its handling of aircraft safety incidents, including when such means of transport are used for purposes suspected to be egregious in nature.

I humbly recommend that this Senate concur with the ratification to the Protocol relating to an Amendment to the Convention on International Civil Aviation [Article 3bis].

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