Category: Dr. Shahram Shirkhani

Who is in Charge of a Crime Committed in an Airplane?

Who is in Charge of a Crime Committed in an Airplane?

Without doubt the invention of the plane has been one of the most important devices of mankind. Since the Wright brothers’ attempts to flight in 1903 to much has happened in the history of aviation. Under the turbulent times our modern and globalized society is facing every day, the aviation laws have been changing and adapting to our continuous evolving civilization. Given the fact that our modern societies are affected by crime, and there are special regulation sand institutions to deal with criminal activities, what can we say when a crime or unruly behaviour is committed in an airplane?

In the period 2007-2014 there were over 38,230 reported cases of unruly passenger incidents on board aircraft in flight. These incidents include violence against crew and other passengers, harassment and failure to follow safety instructions.

Unruly passengers are a very small minority. Incidents on board aircraft in commercial service have become a significant operational issue faced by airlines, flight and cabin crew on a daily basis. These incidents threaten flight safety and security, impact the travel experience of other passengers and lead to significant costs and operational disruption for carriers.

The Convention on Offences and Certain Other Acts Committed On Board Aircraft, commonly called the Tokyo Convention, is an international treaty, concluded at Tokyo on 14 September 1963. It entered into force on 4 December 1969, and as of 2015 has been ratified by 186 parties. However, there are cases where criminal jurisdiction may be exercised by a state other than the State of Registry. These are usually matters that are critical to the safety of the flight as well as national security.

The Convention is applicable to offences against penal law and to any acts jeopardising the safety of persons or property on board civilian aircraft while in-flight and engaged in international air navigation. Coverage includes the commission of or the intention to commit offences and certain other acts on board aircraft registered in a Contracting State in-flight over the high seas and any other areas beyond the territory of any State in addition to the airspace belonging to any Contracting State. Criminal jurisdiction may be exercised by Contracting States other than the State of Registry under limited conditions, viz, when the exercise of jurisdiction is required under multilateral international obligations, in the interest of national security, and so forth.

The Convention requires States Parties to establish penal jurisdiction over offences affecting in-flight safety committed on board its registered aircraft, requiring contracting states to take custody of offenders and to return control of the aircraft to the lawful commander. It also authorizes the aircraft commander to impose reasonable measures, including restraint, on any person he or she has reason to believe has committed or is about to commit such an act, when necessary to protect the safety of the aircraft.

This 50-year-old Convention has served the industry well. However, a Diplomatic Conference was held in 2014 to consider proposed revisions to the Convention to ensure that it is an effective deterrent to unruly behaviour. The result was the Montreal Protocol 2014 which makes important changes to the original Tokyo Convention. The Protocol extends the jurisdiction over offence to the destination country of the flight in addition to the country of aircraft registration. This closes a loophole which allowed many serious offences to escape legal action.

The agreed changes give greater clarity to the definition of unruly behaviour (such as including the threat of or actual physical assault, or refusal to follow safety-related instructions). There are also new provisions to deal with the recovery of significant costs arising from unruly behaviour.

This Protocol is good news for everyone who flies – passengers and crew alike. The changes, along with the measures already being taken by airlines, will provide an effective deterrent for unacceptable behaviour on board aircraft.

A total of 22 States will need to ratify the Protocol before it will enter in to force. IATA (International Air Transport Association) has played an important role in the development of the text of the new Protocol since 2009 and we are now advocating for governments to urgently ratify it.

At the 70th IATA AGM in June 2014, the industry unanimously adopted a set of core principles for dealing with the issue of unruly passenger behaviour. The principles call on governments to ratify the Montreal Protocol 2014 so they have the legal powers at their disposal to ensure unruly passengers face the appropriate consequences of their actions. Airlines, airports and others must work together to implement the right procedures and train staff to respond effectively to such instances.

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Image courtesy of BreakingTravelNews at Flickr.com

By adopting the Montreal Protocol 2014, States have publicly recognised the increased frequency and severity of unruly passenger incidents and the inherent threat to safety, security and good order on board aircraft. The Protocol represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for governments to put in place an international legal instrument which gives them the means to deal with unruly passengers more effectively and to deter future incidents. Therefore, urgent and widespread ratification of the new Protocol is needed. Taken together with measures being implemented by the airline industry, this will lead to a safer and a more pleasant air travel experience for all.

What are the most important rulings on the convention on international civil aviation?

View from the airplane_aviation

Image courtesy of Nathaniel C. at Flickr.com

The Convention on International Civil Aviation (1944), also known as the Chicago Convention, was created to update the rules on aviation. It is the most important normative treaty related to international aeronautical public laws.

In 1944, with the end of World War II in the corner, United States promoted a Conference in order to update international agreements on civil aviation, stagnant since 1919 Paris Convention. The Conference was held in Chicago from November the 1st until December 7th of 1944, with the attendance of delegates from 52 States. At that time the civil aviation committee was awaiting the end of the war for its re launch, there had been great technological advances in aeronautics, US economic potential was in full swing, while the major European powers, the USSR and Japan were completely in debt, with a virtually destroyed civil aeronautics industry. This brought a showdown in between the U.S. which had a very strong economic position that was seeking a policy of free international air transport trade compared to the rest of the countries that wanted to adopt a protectionist policy to rebuild their economies and their aviation industries.

Finally, the agreement regulated in a liberal way the aspects of navigation and air traffic, together with the non-remunerated air traffic. The costly air transport was at the mercy of bilateral agreements between the United States, which would be reported within the ICAO.

It was agreed to establish a permanent body that would continue the task started in 1919, initially called the Provisional organization of International Civil Aviation, until it was renamed The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 1947, this agreement was endorsed by the Member States.

Airplane at Centenial Airport_aviation
Image courtesy of Heath Alseike at Flickr.com

Here are the most important parts of the convention, The Air Navigation.

Article 1: All States have full and exclusive sovereignty over the airspace above its territory

Article 5: All civil aircraft can fly over the airspace of another State (1st freedom) and perform non-commercial technical scales on it (2nd freedom) without obtaining prior permission from that country. These freedoms are to be subject to the conditions of air navigation imposed by that State (for example military exclusion zones) and also the country may require the airplane to land and allow inspection inside the aircraft for security reasons.

Article 6: No scheduled air service may be operated over a territory without a permission or special agreement with such State.

Article 10: The State may require that foreign aircraft land on Customs’ Airports and allow the state to inspect them.

Article 12: Every State can keep its own rules of the air always and require them to aircrafts that are flying its airspace provided that they are consistent with the given statements in this agreement

Article 13: The laws of each State with regard to entry and exit of passengers or goods (customs, passports…) must be complied with during the arrival, the departure and the stay in that country.

Article 16: The authorities of every State have the right to inspect the aircrafts and examine the certificates and documents of the same

Article 24: Spare parts, oil, fuel, etc. from an aircraft entering one of the Member States of the Convention will be free of taxes provided that these are not discharged in that State.

Article 29: Aircraft intending to make an international flight must carry the following documents on board:

  • Certificate of registration
  • Certificate of airworthiness
  • Licenses suitable for every Member of the crew
  • Log-book.
  • Aircraft radio license.
  • List of passengers with their names and places of embarkation and disembarkation
  • Detail on the load being carried.

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Image courtesy of Jonathan Cohen at Flickr.com

Article 30: The Aircraft that is flying over another State can only have a radio that has been previously approved by the ruling of the country in which the aircraft is registered. Radio operators shall bear the appropriate license that allows them to use it.

Article 32: Pilots and crew should carry certificates of suitability to perform their task, these issued by the State in which the aircraft is registered. However, a third party Member State may not recognize the certificates of suitability issued by another country.

Article 33: The certificates of suitability airworthiness, etc. Those are issued by a State and will be recognized by all the signatory States of the Convention only if such certificates meet minimum requirements imposed by this Convention.

Article 40: No aircraft, not even a personal one that has the certificates or licenses in order as previously specified, shall participate in international navigation, without the permission of the State or States in whose territory they fly on. The registration or use of such aircraft, or of any of its certificated aircraft parts, over a State that is not the one the aircraft’s original homeland will be at the discretion of the State in which the aircraft or part is being imported.

Increased Number of Specialty Drugs Gives Insurers a Headache

As researchers have succeeded in finding treatments for many chronic medical conditions, the specialty drug market has likewise seen significant growth. Pharmaceutical companies are focusing more intently than ever on developing and bringing to market highly specialized medications to delay disease progression, alleviate symptoms, or even cure certain illnesses.

This is excellent news for patients, who may soon see effective new medications available for such conditions as cystic fibrosis, hepatitis C, multiple sclerosis, and high cholesterol. However, employers and insurers are finding the increased availability of such drugs, and their attendant high price tags, somewhat challenging.

In the United States, benefits companies are struggling to deal with the potentially staggering financial impact of some of these medical advances. For example, an improved multiple sclerosis therapy currently in development is expected to add $40,000 to the average annual cost of treating an MS patient. Similarly, a new drug that treats high cholesterol in patients unable to use the more common treatment of generic statins increases current monthly treatment costs by $1,000. These are just two of many examples. With an estimated 100 to 200 types of specialty drugs in development today, industry sources expect that pharmaceuticals will eventually account for 30 percent of all health care spending.

To help devise a specialty drugs strategy for their benefit plans, some major employers are turning to independent advisors: consultants who specialize in predictive analyses of pharmaceutical developments that may result in spending surges for companies that are self-insured. These firms also provide evaluations of whether the expense of such drugs could offset other costs. Additionally, some companies are adopting the policy of requiring prospective employees to sign an employment “commitment contract” before approving any level of specialty drug coverage.

Abu Dhabi Welcomes Visitors to International Defense Exhibition 2015

International Defense Exhibition 2015 pic Defense contractors and military decision-makers converged on the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center in late February for the International Defense Exhibition (IDEX), the premier defense trade show in the region.

A five-day event, the gathering drew more than 80,000 corporate and military guests from around the world to explore the latest developments in defense technology and services. The biennial expo provided an opportunity for industry thought leaders to discuss modern military needs and pursue lucrative contracts to those ends.

A number of British companies were among the defense and security providers in attendance. Multinationals such as BAE Systems and QinetiQ were present, as were smaller companies like underwater vehicle specialist MSubs.

The first IDEX took place in 1993. At the time, the show drew 350 exhibitors from two dozen nations. Since that time, the expo has grown in both size and influence. In 2007, the event moved to its current site. Taking advantage of the nearby Abu Dhabi Marina, organizers introduced NAVDEX in 2011 to integrate maritime defense into the expo. This year, the show expanded further with the introduction of the Unmanned Systems Exhibition, or UMEX.

Now a world-caliber defense trade show, IDEX hosts approximately 1,200 exhibitors from 55 nations around the world. The event has enhanced Abu Dhabi’s place as a top destination for global business.

UAE Participation in the UK’s Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

Royal Military Academy Sandhurst  pic For several decades, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have worked closely together in the fields of defense and national security. Since 1974, more than 200 Emiratis have graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, one of the most prestigious military schools in the UK. The institution’s graduates include some of the UAE’s most influential leaders, among them Abu Dhabi crown prince His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Dubai ruler His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. In recent years, several other members of the ruling family have graduated from the academy.

In addition to welcoming Emiratis at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, the UK regularly loans military officers to the Gulf nation to help it shore up its military capabilities. In the same vein, the UAE supports British defense efforts by cooperating with UK intelligence agencies, supporting UN sanctions regarding Iran’s nuclear capabilities, and helping the UK fight money laundering.