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Holy See

The Holy See has counterterrorism legislation through a 2010 law, which concerns the financing of terrorism, as amended by a 2012 decree.

Compliance with International Law:
Last updated: one year ago

The Definition of Terrorism in Domestic Law

The Holy See defines terrorism in its penal code through legislation adopted in 2010. Act No. CXXVII of 2010 concerning the financing of terrorism defines “acts performed for a terrorist purpose” as: 

acts intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to civilians or to persons not taking active part in hostilities in cases of armed conflict, when the act, by its nature or context, is carried out with the intent to: 

a) intimidate a population; 

b) compel the public authorities or an international organisation to do or to abstain from doing any act.Art. 1(6), 2010 Terrorist Financing Law.  

Adherence to Global and Regional Terrorism Treaties


The Holy See is a State Party to only two 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 not party
1997 Terrorist Bombings Convention State not party
1999 Terrorist Financing Convention State Party
2005 Nuclear Terrorism Convention State not party

In adhering to the 1973 and 1999 Conventions in 2012, the Holy See stated that: "By acceding to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents, the Holy See intends to contribute and to give its moral support to the global prevention, repression and prosecution of such crimes and to the protection of their victims."


The Holy See is not a State Party to any of the European treaties on terrorism but could adhere even though it is not a member of the Council of Europe.


Adherence to Regional Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1977 European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism State not party
2003 Protocol amending the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism State not party
2005 Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism State not party
2015 Additional Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism State not party

Laws and Penalties for Terrorist Offences

The Holy See provides for prison sentences for terrorists of five to fifteen years under its domestic law.Art. 4, Law of January 2012.

Counterterrorism Capacities and Policies at Domestic Level

The Holy See does not have any counterterrorism capacities.

In 2016, the Holy See stated the following before the United Nations General Assembly:

The Holy See’s condemnation of terrorism is absolute: there are no ideological, political, philosophical, racial, ethnic, or religious reasons to justify or excuse it. Terrorism violates fundamental human dignity and rights; the terrorists disdain for life and fundamental freedoms, their unspeakable crimes against women and girls, and the utter barbarity of their acts cannot leave us indifferent.


2010 Law on Terrorist Financing (original version)

2012 Decree amending the Law on Terrorist Financing (original version)