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"The Sokovia Accords. Approved by 117 countries, it states that the Avengers shall no longer be a private organization. Instead, they'll operate under the supervision of a United Nations panel, only when and if that panel deems it necessary."
Thaddeus Ross[src]

The Sokovia Accords are a set of legal documents designed to regulate the activities of enhanced individuals, specifically for those who work for either government agencies such as S.H.I.E.L.D. or for private organizations such as the Avengers. Established by the United Nations and ratified by 117 nations, the accords serve as a "middle point" between the Avengers' desire to secure world peace and the international community's concern over the repercussions of the Avengers' actions.

History

Approaching the Avengers

"For the past four years, you've operated with unlimited power and no supervision. That's an arrangement the governments of the world can no longer tolerate."
Thaddeus Ross to the Avengers[src]

Thaddeus Ross introduces the Accords

In 2016, a devastating terrorist attack in Lagos, Nigeria resulted in the deaths of twenty-six people, eleven of the victims being relief workers from the African nation of Wakanda. Deemed a public relations disaster, the attack prompted the United Nations to create a system of accountability.

One month after the attack, Thaddeus Ross, who had been recently appointed Secretary of State by Matthew Ellis, approached the Avengers and stated that public opinion was increasingly divided, with some viewing them as heroes and others viewing them as dangerous vigilantes or worse, living weapons of mass destruction.

The Avengers debate on the Sokovia Accords

Ross presented archive footage from New York, Washington D.C., Sokovia and Lagos, all showing destruction and civilians fleeing for their lives to justify governmental oversight for the Avengers, telling them that they have to retire if they did not comply, before leaving to allow them to discuss it among themselves.[2]

Avengers Civil War

Tony Stark tries to get Steve Rogers to sign

"Still no word on the whereabouts of Steve Rogers after his public feud with Tony Stark and the Avengers over the controversial Sokovia Accords. Ratified by 117 countries, the Accords place the Avengers under U.N. authority and provide a framework for the registration and monitoring of all Enhanced individuals."
―Newscaster[src]

The Sokovia Accords caused a schism in the Avengers. While Tony Stark supported the Accords due to his role in the Ultron Offensive, Steve Rogers recognized that the government having power over potential missions may be a terrible idea in an emergency and disliked the authoritarian nature of its stipulations, noting that signing the Accords would be "surrendering the right to choose". The schism came to a head when Helmut Zemo framed Bucky Barnes for a terrorist attack that occurred during the signing of the Accords.

Combined with Zemo's exploitation of the schism, the Accords tore the Avengers apart, causing Stark's pro-Accords faction and Rogers' anti-Accords faction to destroy an airport as the former attempted to arrest the latter. The Accords caused the anti-Accords faction and Natasha Romanoff, who had been pro-Accords but betrayed Stark's faction knowing that Rogers would never stand down, to either become fugitives or be placed under house arrest, ruining any chance of coordinated defense.[2][3][4]

Impact on S.H.I.E.L.D.

Glenn Talbot has a meeting with Phil Coulson

"I'm here because the President sent me. The Sokovia Accords are the law of the land now and he's concerned you might have some undocumented assets working for you."
Glenn Talbot to Phil Coulson[src]

Since the end of the HYDRA Uprising, S.H.I.E.L.D. officially didn't exist anymore. However, it continued to secretly operate as the black ops division of Matthew Ellis's administration. When the Accords were ratified by the US Government, Ellis sent Glenn Talbot to speak with Phil Coulson about registering all of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s "undocumented enhanced assets", mainly the Inhuman operatives, because that was required by the Accords.

Jeffrey Mace speaking with Yo-Yo Rodriguez

Talbot and Coulson had a discussion about the rightfulness of the Accords themselves, compared to the Index of Superhumans once used by S.H.I.E.L.D. and eventually regretted.[5] However, Talbot revealed to Ellis the location of the Playground. Under the leadership of Jeffrey Mace who was appointed by Ellis himself, S.H.I.E.L.D. accepted the Accords, therefore becoming legal again.[6]

Questioning Effectiveness

"The Accords might be handy for keeping tabs on enhanced individuals in the field, but regulating them seems a bit of a political pipe dream. Plus, I don't see Thor signing on a dotted line if he ever shows up again."
Maria Hill to Nick Fury[src]

While discussing the Avengers Civil War with Nick Fury, Maria Hill expressed skepticism about how effective regulating enhanced individuals would be, since it seemed to be a purely political proposal made with no regard for feasibility.[7]

Quake's activities make headlines

Around the time S.H.I.E.L.D. was legitimatized, Daisy Johnson went rogue and began to operate as a vigilante. Dubbed "Quake" by the press, her vigilantism made some people question the effectiveness of the Accords in the actual implementation of the measures.[8]

Infinity War

James Rhodes betraying the Sokovia Accords

"If it weren't for those Accords, Vision would have been right here."
"I remember your signature on those papers, Colonel."
"That's right. And I'm pretty sure I paid for that."
James Rhodes and Thaddeus Ross[src]

In 2018, after Tony Stark disappeared in the aftermath of the Attack on Greenwich Village and Vision was attacked, it became clear to James Rhodes that the Accords had seriously weakened the Avengers. After the fugitive Avengers returned to the New Avengers Facility with Vision, Thaddeus Ross ordered Rhodes to arrest them even though, as Steve Rogers pointed out, the remaining Avengers needed all the help they could get. Rhodes, already regretting his support for the Accords, ended the call, knowing he would likely be court-martialed.

Ultimately, the dysfunction resulting from the Accords was, at the very least, a necessary contributing factor to the Avengers' first outright failure, as they were unable to prevent the Snap from happening.[3]

Project Cataract

"That's in direct violation of Section 36B of the Sokovia Accords."
Jimmy Woo[src]

By 2023, Vision's corpse fell under the possession of S.W.O.R.D. Tyler Hayward, the acting director of S.W.O.R.D., initiated Project Cataract, where Vision's body was disassembled and dissected in an attempt to reactivate him to serve S.W.O.R.D. After gaining a sample of Wanda Maximoff's chaos magic, Hayward used it to reactivate Vision, whom they had rendered white, and turned him into a sentient weapon.[9] S.W.O.R.D.'s activation of an A.I. synthezoid to use as a sentient weapon was illegal, as it was in violation of Section 36B of the Sokovia Accords.[10]

Regulations

"How does this registration thing work? You put us on a list, then what?"
"Well, we collect fingerprints, DNA samples. We run a power analysis to categorize your threat level which is also used to determine health risks."
Lincoln Campbell and Glenn Talbot[src]

The currently known regulations established by the Sokovia Accords include:

  • Any enhanced individuals who agree to sign must register with the United Nations and provide biometric data such as fingerprints and DNA samples.[5]
    • Those with secret identities must reveal their legal names and true identities to the United Nations.[2]
    • Those with innate powers must submit to a power analysis, which will categorize their threat level and determine potential health risks.[5]
    • Those with innate powers must also wear tracking bracelets at all times.[11]
  • Any enhanced individuals who sign are prohibited from taking action in any country other than their own unless they are first given clearance by either that country's government or by a United Nations subcommittee.[2]
    • Governments are forbidden from deploying enhanced individuals outside of their own national borders unless those individuals are given clearance as described above. The same rule also applies to non-government organizations that operate on a global scale (including S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers).[2]
  • Any enhanced individuals who do not sign will not be allowed to take part in any police, military, or espionage activities, or to otherwise participate in any national or international conflict, even in their own country.[2]
    • As a corollary, they will not be allowed to participate in any active missions undertaken by private or governmental law enforcement/military/intelligence organizations (such as S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers).[2]
  • Any enhanced individuals who use their powers to break the law (including those who take part in extralegal vigilante activities), or are otherwise deemed to be a threat to the safety of the general public, may be detained indefinitely without trial.[2][12]
    • If an enhanced individual violates the Accords, or obstructs the actions of those enforcing the Accords, they may likewise be arrested and detained indefinitely without trial.[2]
  • The use of technology to bestow individuals with innate superhuman capabilities is strictly regulated, as is the use and distribution of highly advanced technology (such as Asgardian and Chitauri weaponry).[13][14]
    • The creation of self-aware artificial intelligence is completely prohibited.[15][16]
  • The Avengers will no longer be a private organization and will operate under the supervision of the United Nations.[2]

For the purposes of the Accords, an "enhanced individual" is defined as any person, human or otherwise, with superhuman capabilities. This includes individuals whose powers are an innate function of their biology as well as individuals who utilize the highly advanced technology to grant themselves superhuman capabilities. However, individuals with advanced prostheses do not seem to be considered "enhanced", even if their prostheses give them capabilities beyond those of ordinary humans.[5]

All members of the Avengers are subject to the same conditions as enhanced individuals, even if they are not enhanced themselves: Black Widow was required to sign so she could continue serving on the Avengers due to her previously being deemed a threat to world security by Nick Fury, and Hawkeye was incarcerated on the Raft after violating the Accords.[2]

Key Players

Ratifying Nations

Supporters

Opponents

Appearances

Appearances for Sokovia Accords

In chronological order:

Trivia

References

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