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Tonga has a dedicated counterterrorism law adopted in 2013. There are carve-outs for the exercise of certain fundamental rights and for acts in armed conflict that comply with international humanitarian law.

Compliance with International Law:
Last updated: one year ago

The Definition of Terrorism in Domestic Law

The 2013 Counter Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime Act defines a terrorist act as follows:

an act or omission in or outside the Kingdom that -

(a) constitutes an offence within the scope of a counter terrorism convention; or

(b) is mentioned in subsection (2).

(2) For subsection (1)(b), the act or omission - 

(a) shall -

  (i) involve death or serious bodily injury to a person;

  (ii) involve serious damage to property;

  (iii) endanger a person’s life;

  (iv) create a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public;

  (v) involve the use of weapons;

  (vi) involve introducing into the environment, distributing or exposing the public to any - (aa) dangerous, hazardous, radioactive or harmful substance; (bb) toxic chemical; or (cc) microbial or other biological agent or toxin; 

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

  (viii) an act which constitutes an offence within the scope of, and as defined in one of [a number of listed global terrorism] treaties;

(b) shall be intended or, by its nature and context, reasonably be regarded as being intended -

  (i) to intimidate the public or a section of the public; or

  (ii) to compel a government or an international organisation to do, or refrain from doing, any act; and

(c) shall be made for the purpose of advancing a political, ideological, or religious cause.

It is stipulated that an act or omission mentioned in subsection 2 

does not include an act or omission that -

(a) is committed as part of an advocacy, protest, demonstration, dissent or industrial action and is not intended to result in any harm mentioned in subsections (2)(i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), or (vi); or

(b) 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


Tonga is a State Party to 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 Signatory


There is currently no regional treaty on terrorism to which Tonga can adhere.

Laws and Penalties for Terrorist Offences

The maximum penalty for terrorist offences is imprisonment for a term of twenty-five years.

Counterterrorism Capacities and Policies at Domestic Level

There is no dedicated counterterrorism expertise in the Tonga Police.


Tonga 2013 Counterterrorism Act