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Kuwait does not have comprehensive legislation on terrorism, although a draft law has existed for several years and there is a specific criminalization of terrorist financing in a 2013 Law. The death penalty is imposable for what are termed State security crimes, some of which may overlap with terrorism.

Compliance with International Law:
Last updated: one year ago

The Definition of Terrorism in Domestic Law

The terrorism treaties Kuwait ratifies become part of the domestic law. In addition, Law 106/2013 on terrorist financing has the following definition of a terrorist act:

Any act or initiation of an act, whether in the State of Kuwait or in any other place, as follows:

a. An act intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to a civilian, or to any other person not taking part in the hostilities in a situation of armed conflict, when the purpose of such act, in its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a Government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act; or

b. An act which constitutes an offense within the scope of the definitions set forth in any of the ... international conventions or protocols ... to which Kuwait is a party.Art. 1, 2013 Law on Terrorist Financing.

Kuwaiti law effectively construes terrorist acts in broad terms in other legislation. Thus, for example, Article 1 of the 1970 State Security Crimes Act provides for the imposition of the death penalty for: "Any person who intentionally commits an act that compromises the independence of the country, its unity or its territorial integrity."

Adherence to Global and Regional Terrorism Treaties


Kuwait is a State Party to all 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 Party

In adhering to the 1999 Convention, Kuwait declared that its commitment to the Convention was "without prejudice to its Arab and Islamic obligations in respect of the definition of terrorism and the distinction between terrorism and legitimate national struggle against occupation".


Kuwait is also a State Party to the main regional treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Regional Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1998 Arab Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism State Party
1999 OIC Convention on Combating International Terrorism State Party

Laws and Penalties for Terrorist Offences

The death penalty is imposable for many of what may be considered terrorist crimes. That said, the Criminal Code does not prescribe special punishment if violent or other crimes are committed with a motive to spread terror among the civilian population. 

In March 2020, the Court of Cassation, Kuwait’s highest court, upheld ten-year prison sentences imposed on three Kuwaiti citizens and a two-year prison sentence for a Syrian national for joining Islamic State and plotting to blow up mosques. In October 2020, the same Court upheld a sentence of life imprisonment for an Egyptian who had joined Islamic State and was arrested in 2016 for attempting to kill five American soldiers.

Terrorist financing ordinarily carries a sentence of up to fifteen years in prison,Art. 29, 2013 Law on Terrorist Financing.although the penalty may increase to twenty years' imprisonment in certain circumstances.Art. 30, 2013 Law on Terrorist Financing.

Counterterrorism Capacities and Policies at Domestic Level

In 2015, the government adopted a law requiring all citizens and residents to provide DNA samples on anti-terrorism grounds.

In 2016, the UN Committee against Torture expressed its concern at "consistent reports of torture and ill-treatment, in particular during prolonged detention of persons by the police and security forces, in response to terrorist activities".


Kuwait Law 106_2013 on Terrorist Financing (original version)

Kuwait Law 106_2013 on Terrorist Financing (English translation)

Kuwait Regulations for Law 106/2013 on Terrorist Financing (original version)

Committee against Torture 2016 Concluding Observations on Kuwait