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Lesotho has detailed counterterrorism provisions in its 2010 Criminal Code and in dedicated legislation from 2018. The 2018 Act, which has a limited carve-out for the exercise of certain fundamental human rights and for compliance with international humanitarian law in armed conflict, prescribes the death penalty for certain terrorist acts.

Compliance with International Law:
Last updated: one year ago

The Definition of Terrorism in Domestic Law

Lesotho defines a terrorist act differently in its Criminal Code and the dedicated 2018 law.

Section 96 of the 2010 Criminal Code defines terrorism as follows:

Any person who does or threatens or omits to do anything that is reasonably necessary to prevent an act which -

(a)    may seriously damage a country or an international organization;

(b)    is intended or can reasonably be regarded as having been intended to (i) seriously intimidate a population; (ii) unduly compel the Government or an international organization to perform or abstain from performing any act; (iii) seriously destabilise or destroy the fundamental political, constitutional, economic or social structures of a country or an international organization; or (iv) otherwise influence the government, or international organisation; and

(c)    involves or causes: 

(i)    attacks upon a person’s life which may cause death;

(ii)    attacks upon the physical integrity of a person;

(iii)    kidnapping a person;

(iv)    extensive destruction to the Government or public facility, a transport system, an infrastructure facility including an information system, a fixed platform located on the continental shelf, a public place, or private property, likely to endanger human life or result in major economic loss;

(v)    the seizure of an aircraft, a ship, or other means of public or goods transport;

(vi)    the manufacture, possession, acquisition, transport, supply, or use of weapons, explosives or of nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, as well as research into, and development of, biological and chemical weapons;

(vii)    the release of dangerous substance, or coming of fires, explosives, or floods, the effect of which is to endanger human life;

(viii)    interference with or disruption of the supply of water, power, or any other fundamental natural resource, the effect of which is to endanger life,

commits an offence of terrorism.

A different definition is provided in the 2018 Terrorism Act:

an act or omission which—

(a) endangers the life of another person;

(b) involves death or serious bodily injury to a person;

(c) violates physical integrity of freedom of a person;

(d) involves damage to national key points, property, natural resource or the environmental cultural heritage, whether public or private;

(e) creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of a public;

(f) involves the use of weapons;

(g) involves introducing into environment, distributing or exposing the public to any— (i) dangerous, hazardous, radioactive or harmful substance; (ii) toxic chemical; (iii) microbial or other biological agent or toxin;

(h) involves serious disruption to any system or the provision of services directly related to essential infrastructure;

(i) involves the manufacture, acquisition, possession, development, transportation, transfer and use of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery, 

and is carried out with the aim of, or by its nature and context is reasonably regarded as being aimed at—

(i) intimidating or causing fear among members of the public or section of the public;
(ii) compelling a government or an international organisation to do, or refrain from doing, any act;
(iii) advancing a political, ideological, religious, or other cause, 

but does not include an act or omission which—
(aa) is committed as part of an advocacy, protest, demonstration, dissent or industrial action and is not intended to result in any harm mentioned in paragraph (b), (c), (e) or (f); or

(bb) occurs in a situation of armed conflict and is, at the time and in the place it occurred, in accordance with rules of international law applicable to the conflict.

Adherence to Global and Regional Terrorism Treaties


Lesotho 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


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


Adherence to Regional Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1999 Algiers Convention State Party
2004 Protocol to the Algiers Convention State Party

Laws and Penalties for Terrorist Offences

Under the Criminal Code, the Courts are given the discretion to impose the sentence they see fit for terrorist offences.S. 109, Penal Code of Lesotho.The 2018 Terrorism Act prescribes the death penalty for terrorist bombings or attacks involving radiological material where they result in death.Ss. 29(2), 30(2), and 31(2), 2018 Terrorism Act.

The 2018 Terrorism Act otherwise generally provides for a penalty of up to sixty years in prison for the commission of a terrorist act.S. 4(2), 2018 Terrorism Act.Harbouring a terrorist carries a sentence of up to twenty-five years in prison.S. 10(1), 2018 Terrorism Act.A similar penalty is prescribed for failing to report a suspected terrorist.S. 13(4), 2018 Terrorism Act.

Counterterrorism Capacities and Policies at Domestic Level

The Lesotho Mounted Police Service does not have a dedicated counterterrorism unit.

Lesotho has a national strategy in place to counter the financing of terrorism.


Criminal Code of Lesotho

Lesotho 2018 Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism Act

Lesotho National Strategy to Counter Terrorist Financing