Seventy-seven countries sign treaty against transport of bioweapons

At a diplomatic conference held in Beijing on September 10, representatives from 77 countries signed two treaties aimed at improving aviation security worldwide by criminalizing the transport of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons-related material.

The 2010 Beijing Convention on the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Relating to International Civil Aviation and the 2010 Beijing Protocol to the 1971 Hague Convention on the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft will hold those who use civilian aircraft to transport such illicit CBRN materials accountable under law, according to RTT News.

The conventions make a number of other aviation offenses, including the use of aircraft as a weapon, criminal. The conventions also update previous provisions that promote international cooperation in fighting terrorism aimed at civil aviation while providing for the humane treatment of terrorists and terrorist suspects, RTT News reports.

The head of the U.S. delegation to the Beijing conference, Clifton Johnson, said that the treaties will significantly bolster the existing international counterterrorism legal framework and facilitate the extradition and prosecution of those who seek to use terror through the manipulation of civil aviation against the U.S.

Also at the conference, which was held by the International Civil Aviation Organization, members unanimously elected China's Xia Xinghua as their new president.