The Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act 2005 was enacted to give effect to a number of international Conventions and commitments undertaken by the States or by the European Union on behalf of the State. These include the
- European Union Framework Decision on Combating Terrorism;
- International Convention against Taking of Hostages;
- Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons (diplomats);
- International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombing;
- International Convention for the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism.
Legislation defines terrorist activity as any act committed in or outside the State and that if committed inside the State, would constitute a scheduled offences below which is committed with the intention of seriously intimidating a population, unduly compelling a government or an international organisation to perform or abstain from performing an act, or seriously destabilising or destroying the fundamental, political, constitutional, economic or social structures of a State or an international organisation.
A terrorist group is a structured group of more than two persons established and existing over a period of time and acting in concert to commit terrorist offences. A structured group is one that is not randomly formed for the immediate commission of the offence. It need not have formally defined roles for its members, continuity of membership or a defined or a developed structure.
A terrorist group that engages in promotes, encourages or advocates the commission, inside or outside the State, of terrorist activity is an unlawful organisation for the purpose of the Offences against the State Acts 1939 to 1998 and the Criminal Law Act 1976. Those Acts apply with necessary modifications in relation to a terrorist group above.
Subject to the below, it is an offence if a person inside or outside the State
- engages in terrorist activity or a terrorist-linked activity,
- attempts to engage in the same, or makes any threat to engage in terrorist activity.
It is an offence if a person commits outside the State an act, which if committed in the State, would constitute certain offences under The Offences against the State Act.
Acts committed on Irish ships, or aircraft, by a person who is either a citizen or resident in the State, or committed for the benefit of a legal person established in the State, directed against the State or an Irish citizen, or directed at European Union or its institutions, is subject to the above provisions. The provisions apply to acts committed outside the State other than that in the above circumstances, but the DPP must a consent to the proceedings.
The prohibition does not apply to the activities of Armed Forces during an armed conflict insofar as they are governed by international humanitarian law, the exercise of the Armed Forces of a State in the exercise of their official duties insofar as they are governed by international law.
The fact that a person engages in any protest, advocacy or dissent, or engages in any strike, lockout or other industrial action, is not of itself a sufficient basis for inferring that the person is carrying out an act with the intention of intimidating population or unduly compelling State or other international organisations.
In the case of offences committed outside the State with the intention of unduly compelling the government of the State other than an EU State to perform or abstain from performing an act or seriously destabilising the fundamental, political, constitutional, economic or social structures of such a State, then, no proceedings may be taken without the consent of the Attorney General.
Where it is proved the accused person attempted or committed an act that constitutes an offence in Schedule 2 to the Act, or would do if it was committed in the State, and the court is satisfied, having regard to all the circumstances including those below, that it is reasonable to assume that the act was committed, or the attempt was made, with the intention of seriously intimidating a population, or unduly compelling a government or international organisation to perform or abstain from performing an act, or undermining, destabilising or destroying the fundamental, political, constitutional, economic and social structures of a State or special organisation, the accused person shall be presumed, unless the court is satisfied to the contrary, to have committed or attempted to commit the act with that intention.
The requisite circumstances are:
- whether the act or attempt created or was likely to create a collective danger to the lives or physical integrity of persons,
- cause or was likely to cause serious damage to a State or international organisation;
- cause or was likely to cause major economic loss, or other circumstances, the court considers relevant.
A person guilty of an offence above is liable on conviction to punishment according to the gravity of the offence.
- In the case of offences in Schedule 2, where the term of imprisonment is fixed under domestic law, for that term
- where this maximum sentence is imprisonment for life, to imprisonment for life.
- to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years more than the maximum terms of imprisonment for the corresponding offence, if that corresponding offence is one for which a person of full capacity and not previously convicted may be sentenced to a maximum term of 10 years or more;
- to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year more than the maximum term of imprisonment for the corresponding offence, where the corresponding offence is one for which a person of full capacity and not previously convicted may be sentenced to a maximum term of less than ten years.
The 2005 Act gives effect to the Convention on Suppression of Hostage-Taking.
A person who is guilty of the offence of hostage-taking if he or she, inside or outside the State, seizes or detains another person and threatens to kill, injure or continue to detain the hostage, in order to compel a State, international organisation or persons or group of persons to do, or abstain from doing, any act. A person who attempts to commit an offence above is guilty of an offence.
An act committed outside the State is an offence in the State if it was committed on board an Irish aircraft or ship, or is committed by a citizen of Ireland or a stateless person habitually resident in Ireland, if it is committed in order to compel the State to do or abstain from doing an act, or the hostage is a citizen of Ireland.
The Terrorism Bombing Convention is the International Convention on the Suppression of Bombing Adopted in 1997 and ratified by the State in 1998.
A person is guilty of an offence if he or she inside or outside the State, unlawfully and intentionally delivers, discharges or detonates an explosive or other lethal device in, into or against any place of public use, State or government facility, public transportation facility, infrastructure facility, with intent to cause death or serious bodily injury.
A person is guilty of an offence if he either inside or outside the State, unlawfully and intentionally delivers, places, discharges or detonates an explosive or other lethal device in, into or against a place, facility or system referred to above with intent to cause extensive destruction of that place or system, and the destruction results in or is likely to result in major economic loss. A person who attempts to commit the above offences is also guilty of an offence.
The offence applies to acts committed outside the State in similar circumstances to those above. It applies if undertaken on an Irish registered ship or aircraft, by a citizen of Ireland or a habitually resident stateless person, against a citizen of Ireland, or against the State or government facility of the State abroad, including an embassy or diplomatic premises or in order to compel the State to do or abstain from doing an act.
The provisions do not apply to the activities of Armed Forces during an armed conflict insofar as those activities are governed by international humanitarian law, or to the activities of military forces of a state in the exercise of their official duties insofar as those activities are governed by other rules of international law.
A person guilty of any offence under any of the above provisions is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for life.
An explosive or other lethal device means any of the following:
- an explosive weapon or device designed, or which has the capability, to cause death, serious bodily injury or substantial material damage;
- an incendiary weapon or device that is designed, or has the capability, to cause death, serious injury or substantial material harm;
- a weapon or device that is designed, or has the capability, to cause death, serious bodily harm or substantial material damage through the release, dissemination or impact of a toxic chemical; microbial biological agent; a toxin, or ionising radiation or radioactive substance, or any substance which has like effect.
International Protected Persons
Internationally protected persons are those protected by Convention including in particular, Conventions protecting diplomats. A person is guilty of an offence if, outside the State, he does any act to, or in relation to, an internationally protected that would constitute
- one of a number of Scheduled types of act if committed in the State,
- an act in connection with an attack on the official premises, private accommodation or any means of transportation of an internationally protected person, that if done in the State would constitute such an offence.
Subject to the above, a person is guilty of an offence if he attempts to commit an act that is an offence above, or makes a threat to commit any such act and intends the person to whom the threat is made to fear that it will be carried out.
The above provisions apply to acts carried outside the State in similar circumstances to the above, including in particular, on board an Irish registered ship or aircraft, by a citizen of Ireland, against a person who enjoys internationally protected person status by virtue of functions exercised on behalf of the State.
A person guilty of an offence under the above provisions is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of up to 10 years.
An internationally protected person includes a person who is a Head of State, a member of a government, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and who is outside the territory of the State in which he or she holds office.
A person who does not fall within the above category is also an internationally protected person if he is a representative or official of the State or an official or agent in an international organisation of an intergovernmental character, and is entitled under international law to protection from attacks on his or her person, freedom or dignity, or is a person who, at the time of the commission of the offence is a member of the family of the first category of persons, i.e. high ranking officials and governments and is accompanying her or him, or is a member of the family and household of the second category of persons.
The Part 5 of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2005 provides for ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. The offence of financing terrorism is provided for. It is treated similarly to the provisions on money laundering. The provisions for freezing and confiscating funds used in connection with financing terrorism provided.
The provisions of the Proceeds of Crime legislation for freezing, confiscation, and forfeiture of funds that are used or may be intended to be used in or committing or facilitating the commission of a terrorist offence or financing terrorism is provided for. See generally the sections on proceeds of crime.
A person is guilty of an offence if, inside or outside the State, he by any means, directly or indirectly, unlawfully and willfully provides, collects and receives funds intending that they be used or knowing that they will be used, in whole or in part to carry out an act which constitutes an offence under the law of the State and within the scope of, and as defined in, any treaty that is listed in the annex to the Terrorist Financing Convention, or an act that is intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to a civilian or to other person not taking active part in the hostilities in a situation of armed conflict, and the purpose of which is, by its nature or context, to intimidate a population or compel a government or an international organisation to do or abstain from doing any act.
A person who attempts to commit any of the above offences is guilty of an offence.
A person is guilty of an offence if by any means, directly or indirectly, he, unlawfully and willfully provides, collects or receive funds intending that they be used or knowing that they will be used, in whole or in part for the benefit or purpose of a terrorist group, in order to carry out any act that is an offence under certain provisions of the legislation.
A person who attempts to commit an offence above is guilty of an offence.
The offence may be committed regardless of whether the funds are used to carry out the act concerned. The provisions apply to acts committed outside the State in much the same circumstances as above.
A person guilty of an offence under this provision is liable on summary conviction, to a fine up to €3,000 or imprisonment up to 12 months or both, or on conviction on indictment, to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 20 years or both.