Advertisement

Chemical Weapons and Non-State Actors

  • Yasmin NaqviEmail author
  • Olufemi Elias
Chapter

Abstract

In multiple international fora, the international community has unanimously condemned the use of chemical weapons by anyone in any circumstances as a violation of international law. However, the legal basis for these strong statements is not immediately apparent. This chapter undertakes a review of applicable international legal instruments and sources, including international humanitarian law, the Chemical Weapons Convention and resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly, to examine the legal veracity of the statement. The review of these legal instruments and the practice of the international community would appear to lead to a conclusion that any use of chemical weapons by a non-State actor is prohibited as a matter of customary international law.

Keywords

Chemical Weapons Non-State Actors Terrorism International Customary Law Practice of International Organisations Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Accountability 

References

  1. Akande D (2013) Can the ICC Prosecute for Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria. https://www.ejiltalk.org/can-the-icc-prosecute-for-use-of-chemical-weapons-in-syria/. Accessed 10 November 2017.
  2. Ambos K (2009) Treatise on International Criminal Law. Volume II: The Crimes and Sentencing. Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  3. Asada M (2015) A Path to a Comprehensive Prohibition of the Use of Chemical Weapons under International Law: From The Hague to Damascus. Journal of Conflict & Security Law 21:153–207.Google Scholar
  4. Buergenthal T, Murphy SD (2013) Public International Law in a Nutshell. West Academic Publishing, St. Paul.Google Scholar
  5. Harris SH (1994) Factories of Death: Japanese Biological Warfare, 1932–45 and the American Cover-Up, 2nd edn. Routledge, London/New York.Google Scholar
  6. International Committee of the Red Cross (n.d.) Customary IHL Database. https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/customary-ihl/eng/docs/v1_rul. Accessed 2 May 2019.
  7. Meier O, Trapp R (2016) Russia’s chemical terrorism proposal: Red herring or useful tool? Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. https://thebulletin.org/russia%E2%80%99s-chemical-terrorism-proposal-red-herring-or-useful-tool9531. Accessed 14 November 2017.
  8. Ninth UN Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (1995) Interim Report by the Secretariat, ‘Results of the supplement to the Fourth United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems, on Transnational Crime’. UN Doc. A.CONF.169/15/Add.1.Google Scholar
  9. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (n.d.) Annex on Chemicals Schedule 2. https://www.opcw.org/chemical-weapons-convention/annexes/annex-chemicals/schedule-2. Accessed 21 May 2017.
  10. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (2013a) Executive Council Decision, ‘Destruction of Syrian Chemical Weapons’. EC-M-33/DEC.1.Google Scholar
  11. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (2013b) Report of the Third Special Session of the Conference of the States Parties to Review the Operation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. RC-3/3*.Google Scholar
  12. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (2015a) Executive Council Decision, ‘Further Reports of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in Syria’. EC-M-50/DEC.1.Google Scholar
  13. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (2015b) Executive Council Decision, ‘Reports of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in Syria’. EC-M-48/DEC.1.Google Scholar
  14. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (2015c) Ieper Declaration.Google Scholar
  15. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (2015d) Note by the Technical Secretariat, Status of Participation in the Chemical Weapons Convention as at 17 October 2015. S/1315/2015.Google Scholar
  16. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (2015e) Technical Secretariat’s Note, ‘The Chemical Weapons Convention and the Accountability of Non-State Actors: Discussion Paper’. S/1254/2015.Google Scholar
  17. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (2016a) Executive Council Decision, ‘Destruction of Libya’s Remaining Chemical Weapons’. EC-M-52/DEC.1.Google Scholar
  18. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (2016b) Executive Council Decision, ‘OPCW-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism Reports on Chemical Weapons Use in the Syrian Arab Republic’. EC-83/DEC.5.Google Scholar
  19. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (2016c) Note by the Technical Secretariat Establishment of a Rapid Response Assistance Team. S/1381/2016.Google Scholar
  20. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (2016d) Report by the Director-General, Overview of the Status of Implementation of Article VII of the Chemical Weapons Convention as at 31 July 2016. EC-83/DG.11, C-21/DG.11.Google Scholar
  21. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (2016e) Statement by Sixty-One Concerned States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention Concerning the Confirmed Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic. C-21/NAT.17.Google Scholar
  22. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (2016f) Statement on behalf of the European Union. Delivered by Mr Jacek Bylica, Special Envoy for Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. C-21/NAT.5.Google Scholar
  23. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (2016g) Switzerland: Statement at the Twenty-First Session of the Conference of the States Parties. C-21/NAT.37.Google Scholar
  24. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (2017a) Executive Council Decision, ‘Addressing the Threat Posed by the use of Chemical Weapons by Non-State Actors’. EC-86/DEC.9.Google Scholar
  25. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (2017b) Sweden: Statement at the 54th Meeting of the Executive Council. EC-M-54/NAT.17.Google Scholar
  26. Orakhelashvili A (2007) Security Council Acts: Meaning and Standards of Review. Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law 11:143–195.Google Scholar
  27. Piccigallo PR (1979) The Japanese on Trial. University of Texas Press, Austin.Google Scholar
  28. Roling BVA, Cassese A (1992) The Tokyo Trial and Beyond. Polity Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  29. Sandoz Y et al (eds) (1987) Commentary on the Additional Protocols of 8 June 1977 to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949. International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva.Google Scholar
  30. Schabas W (2013) Chemical Weapons: Is it a Crime? http://humanrightsdoctorate.blogspot.nl/2013/04/chemical-weapons-is-it-crime.html. Accessed 6 January 2017.
  31. Tourinsky S (ed) (2008) Medical Aspects of Chemical and Biological Warfare. Office of the Surgeon General & US Army Medical Department Center and School. Borden Institute, Washington D.C.Google Scholar
  32. Tucker JB (2006) War of Nerves: Chemical Warfare from World War I to Al-Qaeda. Pantheon Books, New York.Google Scholar
  33. UN Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court (1998) Report of the Preparatory Committee on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court. UN Doc. A/CONF.183/2.Google Scholar
  34. UN General Assembly (1982) Chemical and bacteriological (biological) weapons. UN Doc. A/RES/37/98.Google Scholar
  35. UN General Assembly (1987) Chemical and bacteriological (biological) weapons. UN Doc. A/RES/42/37.Google Scholar
  36. UN General Assembly (2014) Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction. UN Doc. A/RES/69/67.Google Scholar
  37. UN General Assembly (2015) Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction. UN Doc. A/RES/70/41.Google Scholar
  38. UN General Assembly (2016a) Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction. UN Doc. A/RES/71/69.Google Scholar
  39. UN General Assembly (2016b) International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Persons Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011. UN Doc. A/RES/71/248.Google Scholar
  40. UN General Assembly (2016c) Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic. UN Doc. A/RES/71/203.Google Scholar
  41. UN International Law Commission (2013) First report on formation and evidence of customary international law by Michael Wood, Special Rapporteur. UN Doc. A/CN.4/663.Google Scholar
  42. UN International Law Commission (2015a) Identification of customary international law. Text of the draft conclusions provisionally adopted by the Drafting Committee. UN Doc. A/CN.4/L.869.Google Scholar
  43. UN International Law Commission (2015b) Third Report on identification of customary international law by Michael Wood, Special Rapporteur. UN Doc. A/CN.4/682.Google Scholar
  44. UN International Law Commission (2016) Identification of customary international law. UN Doc. A/CN.4/L.872.Google Scholar
  45. UN Secretary-General (1986) Report of the Mission Dispatched by the Secretary-General to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Conflict between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iraq. UN Doc. S/17911.Google Scholar
  46. UN Secretary-General (1991) Report of the Mission dispatched by the Secretary-General to Investigate an Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons in Mozambique. UN Doc. S/24065.Google Scholar
  47. UN Secretary-General (1992) Report of the Mission Dispatched by the Secretary-General to Investigate Reports of the Use of Chemical Weapons in Azerbaijan. UN Doc. S/24344.Google Scholar
  48. UN Secretary-General (2013) Report of the United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic on the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Ghouta area of Damascus on 21 August 2013. UN Doc. A/67/997-S/2013/553.Google Scholar
  49. UN Secretary-General (2017) Implementation of the resolution establishing the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Persons Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011. UN Doc. A/71/755.Google Scholar
  50. UN Security Council (1987) Resolution 598. UN Doc. S/RES/598.Google Scholar
  51. UN Security Council (1988a) Resolution 612. UN Doc. S/RES/612.Google Scholar
  52. UN Security Council (1988b) Resolution 619. UN Doc. S/RES/619.Google Scholar
  53. UN Security Council (1988c) Resolution 620. UN Doc. S/RES/620.Google Scholar
  54. UN Security Council (2001) Resolution 1373. UN Doc. S/RES/1373.Google Scholar
  55. UN Security Council (2004) Resolution 1540. UN Doc. S/RES/1540.Google Scholar
  56. UN Security Council (2006) Report of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004). UN Doc S/2006/257.Google Scholar
  57. UN Security Council (2008) Report of the Committee established pursuant to Security Council resolution 1540 (2004). UN Doc S/2008/493.Google Scholar
  58. UN Security Council (2011) Report of the Committee established pursuant to Security Council resolution 1540 (2004). UN Doc S/2011/579.Google Scholar
  59. UN Security Council (2013a) Resolution 2118. UN Doc. S/RES/2118.Google Scholar
  60. UN Security Council (2013b) Resolution 2125. UN Doc. S/RES/2125.Google Scholar
  61. UN Security Council (2015a) Resolution 2209. UN Doc. S/RES/2209.Google Scholar
  62. UN Security Council (2015b) Resolution 2235. UN Doc. S/RES/2235.Google Scholar
  63. UN Security Council (2016a) Fourth report of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism. UN Doc. S/2016/888.Google Scholar
  64. UN Security Council (2016b) Report of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004). UN Doc S/2016/1038.Google Scholar
  65. UN Security Council (2016c) Resolution 2298. UN Doc. S/RES/2298.Google Scholar
  66. UN Security Council (2016d) Resolution 2319. UN Doc. S/RES/2319.Google Scholar
  67. UN Security Council (2016e) Resolution 2325. UN Doc. S/RES/2325.Google Scholar
  68. UN Security Council (2016f) Third report of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism. UN Doc. S/2016/738.Google Scholar
  69. UN Security Council (2017a) Letter dated 28 April 2017 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council. Progress in the elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons programme. UN Doc. S/2017/373.Google Scholar
  70. UN Security Council (2017b) Seventh report of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism. UN Doc. S/2017/904.Google Scholar
  71. Werle G (2009) Principles of International Criminal Law, 2nd edn. T.M.C. Asser Press, The Hague.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Yamada O (1950) Materials on the Trial of Former Servicemen of the Japanese Army Charged with Manufacturing and Employing Bacteriological Weapons. Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© T.M.C. Asser Press and the authors 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal TribunalsThe HagueThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Formerly Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical WeaponsThe HagueThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations