Skip to main content


Bolivia casts terrorism in very broad terms in its national legislation. Human Rights Watch has accused the serving president of instigating politically motivated charges of terrorism against the former regime.

Compliance with International Law:
Last updated: one year ago

The Definition of Terrorism in Domestic Law

The Criminal Code of Bolivia defines terrorism as follows:

Whoever forms part of, acts in the service of, or collaborates with an armed organization intended to commit crimes against common security, life, bodily integrity, public transportation, or property in order to subvert the constitutional order or keep the population or a section of it in a state of collective anxiety, alarm, or panic....Art. 133, Criminal Code of Bolivia.

Adherence to Global and Regional Terrorism Treaties


Bolivia is a State Party to most of the main United Nations treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Global Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1973 Convention on Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons State Party
1979 Hostage-Taking Convention State Party

1997 Terrorist Bombings Convention

State Party
1999 Terrorist Financing Convention State Party
2005 Nuclear Terrorism Convention State not party


Bolivia is also a State Party to the 2002 Inter-American terrorism treaty.


Adherence to Regional Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
2002 Inter-American Convention against Terrorism State Party

Laws and Penalties for Terrorist Offences

Under Bolivia's criminal code, involvement in an armed group committing crimes against life or bodily integrity, public safety, transportation systems, and property where the aim is to subvert the constitutional order and provoke panic in the population is punishable with between 15 and 20 years' imprisonment.Art. 133, Criminal Code of Bolivia. 

Although recruitment and membership of a terrorist organisation are not treated as distinct offences in Bolivian law, the Criminal Code punishes membership of an armed group that commits offences such as kidnapping, destruction of state property, or torture with between one and three years' imprisonment.Art. 132, Criminal Code of Bolivia.Leadership of such groups carries the penalty of between between two and six years' imprisonment.Art. 132, Criminal Code of Bolivia. 

Incitement to terrorism or its public justification are not distinct offences but who instigate the commission of a criminal offence are generally responsible for a crime as are those who seek to justify crime.Arts. 120 and 131, Criminal Code of Bolivia. 

The Attorney-General is responsible for initiating criminal prosecutions and it is the main actor in the State’s response to terrorism. It also submits statistical reports on prosecutions and convictions in this field

According to Human Rights Watch, many of the criminal investigations of over 100 people linked to the Morales government for sedition and/or terrorism appear to be politically motivated. Former President Evo Morales is among those charged with terrorism. The organisation states:

Conspiring to block essential provisions from entering cities would be an action that Bolivia is entitled to criminalize and punish, but it would not rise to the level of any reasonable definition of terrorism. Indeed, the terrorism charges against Morales are based on a definition of terrorism under Bolivian law that is so broad that it can be used to criminalize behavior protected by freedoms of expression and association, and disproportionately punish actions that fall far short of what most reasonable observers would consider a terrorist act.

Counterterrorism Capacities and Policies at Domestic Level

In 2021, the government created the National Department of Specialized Investigation in Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism within the Bolivian federal police.


Bolivia Criminal Code (Spanish original)