The Chemical Weapons Convention: A Human Rights Reading

Evangelia Linaki, Assistant Legal Officer, the Office of the Legal Adviser, Technical Secretariat of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Hague, Netherlands1.

  1. Master of Laws, (LL.M.) Public International Law (Specialization: International Humanitarian Law), Leiden University; Acknowledgements: Sincere thanks to Vishnu Warrier and the team of The Lex-Warrier: Online Law Journal for their support and collaboration throughout the years, to Mr. Olufemi Elias and Mr. Grant Dawson for their invaluable inputs and support, as well as to family, friends and colleagues for their support and faith. The views expressed herein are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OPCW or the United Nations in general. []
  2. Johnson, Richard L., Gandhi’s Experiments with Truth: Essential Writings by and about Mahatma Gandhi, Lexington Books, p. 239 (2006). []
  3. The Chemical Weapons Convention has achieved universality with 191 States Parties, whereas 90% of the world’s declared stockpile of 72,525 metric tons of chemical agent have been destroyed (See www.opcw.org, accessed 8/8/2015). []
  4. For example, poison gas was used during the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, Greece, in 431‑404 BC, whereas the Chinese used toxic smoke to poison enemy mine workers (See Coleman, Kim, A History of Chemical Warfare, Palgrave Macmillan, p. 6 (2005) and Judson, Karen, Chemical and Biological Warfare (Open for Debate), Benchmark Books, pp.  64-66 (2004 []
  5. Convention (II) with Respect to the Laws and Customs of War on Land and its annex: Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land, The Hague, 29 July 1899, available at https://www.icrc.org/ihl/INTRO/150?OpenDocument (accessed 8/8/2015). []
  6. Declaration (IV,2) concerning Asphyxiating Gases, The Hague, 29 July 1899, available at https://www.icrc.org/applic/ihl/ihl.nsf/Treaty.xsp?action=openDocument&documentId=B0625F804A9B2A64C12563CD002D66FF (accessed 8/8/2015). []
  7. Convention (IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land and its annex: Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land, The Hague, 18 October 1907, Article 23(a) of the Regulations, available at https://www.icrc.org/applic/ihl/ihl.nsf/Treaty.xsp?action=openDocument&documentId=4D47F92DF3966A7EC12563CD002D6788 (accessed 8/8/2015). []
  8. Spiers, Edward M., Chemical Warfare, Palgrave, pp. 15-16 (1986). []
  9. Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, Geneva, June 17, 1925, available at https://www.icrc.org/ihl/INTRO/280?OpenDocument (accessed 8/8/2015). []
  10. Bothe, Michael et al. (eds.), The New Chemical Weapons Convention: Implementation and Prospects, Springer, First Edition, pp. 22-23 (1999). []
  11. Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction, London, Moscow and Washington, 10 April 1972, available at http://disarmament.un.org/treaties/t/bwc/text (accessed 8/8/2015). []
  12. For a detailed record of the negotiations on the CWC, see Bothe, Michael, supra note 4, pp. 17-36. []
  13. Report of the Conference on Disarmament, “Official Records of the General Assembly, Forty‑Seventh Session, Supplement No. 27”, paras. 73-74 (UN Doc. A/47/27). []
  14. Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (UN Doc. A/RES/47/39, dated 16 December 1992). []
  15. See www.opcw.org (accessed 8/8/2015). []
  16. Case concerning the Territorial Dispute (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v. Chad), Judgment of 3 February 1994, 1994 ICJ Reports 6, para. 41, available at http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/83/6897.pdf (accessed 8/8/2015). []
  17. Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, Vienna, 23 May 1969, available at https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%201155/volume-1155-I-18232-English.pdf (accessed 8/8/2015). []
  18. According this rule and Article 26 of the VCLT, “[e]very treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith” (emphasis added) (See id.). []
  19. Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 1966, Vol. II, Draft Articles on the Law of the Treaties with Commentaries, p. 221, available at http://legal.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/commentaries/1_1_1966.pdf (accessed 8/8/2015). []
  20. See id. []
  21. Competence of the ILO in regard to International Regulation of the Conditions of the Labour of Persons Employed in Agriculture, Advisory Opinion of 12 August 1922, P.C.I.J, Series B, No. 2, p. 23; See id. []
  22. See Yearbook of the International Law Commission, supra note 18, pp. 219-220. []
  23. See Yearbook of the International Law Commission, supra note 18. []
  24. Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction, available at https://www.opcw.org/index.php?eID=dam_frontend_push&docID=6357 (accessed 8/8/2015). []
  25. Charter of the United Nations, San Francisco, 26 June 1945, available at http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/chapter1.shtml (accessed 8/8/2015). []
  26. Chemical Weapons Convention, supra note 23, Article I(1)(c). []
  27. Chemical Weapons Convention, supra note 23, Article I(5). []
  28. Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, Advisory Opinion of 8 July 1996, ICJ Reports 1996, para. 25, available at http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/95/7495.pdf (accessed 8/8/2015). []
  29. UN Doc. S/1999/957, dated 8 September 1999, paras. 3 and 35, available at http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/1999/957 (accessed 8/8/2015). []
  30. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 December 1948, available at http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml (accessed 8/8/2015). []
  31. Hessbruegge, J.A., Human Rights Violations Arising from Conduct of Non-State Actors, 11 Buff. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 21, at 36 (2005). []
  32. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 19 December 1966, available at https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%20999/volume-999-I-14668-English.pdf (accessed 8/8/2015). []
  33. Chemical Weapons Convention, supra note 23. []
  34. Chemical Weapons Convention, supra note 23, Article I(1)(b) and (d). []
  35. 1925 Geneva Protocol, supra note 8. []
  36. Chemical Weapons Convention, supra note 23, fourth preambular paragraph. []
  37. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, supra note 29. []
  38. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 16 December 1966, Article 15(1)(b), available at http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CESCR.aspx (accessed 8/8/2015). []
  39. See id., Article 15(2) and (3). []
  40. See id., Article 15(4). []
  41. Chemical Weapons Convention, supra note 23, ninth preambular paragraph. []
  42. See id., Article XI(2)(a) and (b). []
  43. See id., Article XI(2)(c) and (e). []
  44. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, supra note 37, Article 12(2)(b). []
  45. Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, 16 June 1972, Principle 1, available at http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?documentid=97&articleid=1503 (accessed 8/8/2015). []
  46. Chemical Weapons Convention, supra note 23, Article VII(3). []

Share this post:

Recent Posts