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Seminar paper

humanitarian law

final draft on Topic: - rights of refugees

displaced from home countries

Submitted To: - Submitted By:-

Mr. Abdullah Naseer Abhishek Jain

Faculty Roll Number – 10

Humanitarian Law VIII Semester

Table of Contents

I. Introduction

II. Ancient Usage of Chemical Weapons

III. Chemical Weapons in 20th Century

IV. War Crimes by Germans And Japanese in WW-2

V. Conventions regarding Chemical Warfare

VI. Chemical Warfare And India

VII. Chemical Warfare in the Future

VIII. Efforts by International Organizations

IX. Nerve agents and state sponsored killing

X. Conclusion

XI. Bibliography

I express my gratitude and deep regards to my teacher for the subject Dr Abdullah Nasir for

giving me such a challenging topic and also for the teacher’s invaluable advice, input and

unwavering belief through to the completion of this project.

I also take this opportunity to express a deep sense of gratitude to my seniors in the college for

their cordial support, valuable information and guidance, which helped me in completing this

task through various stages.

I am obliged to the staff members of the Madhu Limaye Library, for the timely and valuable

information provided by them in their respective fields. I am grateful for their cooperation during

the period of my assignment.

Lastly, I thank the almighty, my family and friends for their constant encouragement without

which this assignment would not have been possible


War is an all consuming evil . It sets back countries by decades in a very short time. There is

hardship and there is suffering too. Many people die because of heinous acts of tyranny during

warfare and because of lack of availability of adequate health care at the warzone. The huge cost

and lack of justifiability of war is one of the principle reasons why countries do , and rightfully

should wish to avoid going to war at all costs.

In order to get quick victories in warfare countries rely on Weapons of Mass Destruction that

have the capability to reduce entire cities to rubble and force enemy countries to bend their

knees. These weapons may be nuclear , chemical , or biological. This paper deals with chemical

weapons and efforts to mitigate their usage.

Chemical Warfare refers to the usage of toxic properties of chemical substances as weapons.

This type of warfare is distinct from nuclear warfare and biological warfare, which together

make up NBC, the military acronym for nuclear, biological, and chemical (warfare or weapons),

all of which are considered "weapons of mass destruction" (WMDs). None of these fall under the

term conventional weapons which are primarily effective due to their destructive potential. With

proper protective equipment, training, and decontamination measures, the primary effects of

chemical weapons can be overcome. Many nations possess vast stockpiles of weaponized agents

in preparation for wartime use. The threat and the perceived threat have become strategic tools in

planning both measures and counter-measures. The use of chemical weapons is prohibited

under customary international humanitarian law. 1

Rule 74. The use of chemical weapons is prohibited., Customary IHL Database, International Committee of the
Red Cross (ICRC)/Cambridge University Press.
The development, production, storage, transfer, use, and destruction (demilitarization) of

chemical and biological weapons (CBW) pose a number of ethical issues. First, those weapons,

like nuclear weapons, are largely indiscriminate in their effects and are generally more effective

against vulnerable noncombatants than against combatants; they therefore are known as weapons

of mass destruction, and their use generally is considered a violation of the proportionality

principle of a just war. Second, CBW, also like nuclear weapons, are the subject of intensive

international arms-control efforts involving problems of definition, verification, and

enforcement. Third, biomedical scientists and physicians may be called on to participate in

research and development on more effective CBW as well as on methods for defense against

them and the treatment of their victims.

Chemical weapons (CW), which have been known since antiquity, are designed to inflict direct

chemical injury on their targets, in contrast to explosive or incendiary weapons, which produce

their effects through blast or heat. In the siege of Plataea in 429 B.C.E., for example, the

Spartans placed enormous cauldrons of pitch, sulfur, and burning charcoal outside the city walls

to harass the defenders. Although nations that signed the 1899 Hague Declaration promised not

to use CW, during World War I those weapons, including in descending order of use tear gas,

chlorine gas, phosgene, and mustard gas, were employed. Overall, 125,000 tons of CW were

used during World War I, resulting in 1.3 million casualties. One-quarter of all casualties in the

American Expeditionary Force in France were caused by them. 2

Through this paper I will attempt to give a clear picture of the historical development of

chemical weapons law and the work that still needs to be done in light of the serious crimes

committed by use of Sarin gas in Syria and other instances of use of these weapons.

Harris and Paxman; Sidel and Goldwyn; Sidel, 1989; United Nations; World Health Organization

The use of chemical weapons is not something that is altogether new, for instance, it was a

popular military tactic to squirt a particular substance in to the noses of horses that would result

in them stampeding. This use of chemical weapons might not be so sophisticated in ots mode of

delivery as it is today , yet the general idea remains the same even several centuries later. 3

Chemical weapons in the form of poisoned arrows and spears have been used for thousands of

years. The earliest example of this type of chemical warfare being implemented is the late Stone

Age, circa 10,000 BCE. It was used by the San, a hunter-gatherer society in Southern Africa.

They would cover the tips of their bone, wood and stone arrowheads in poison acquired from

their natural environment. This would include venom from snakes and scorpions, poisonous

plants and also diamphotoxin, a slow-acting poison produced by beetle larvae of the

genus Diamphidia. Unlike most societies who utilise chemical warfare, the San employed it

mainly for hunting; the arrow was fired into the animal of choice, usually an antelope, and then

the hunter tracked the animal until it succumbed to the poison.

“Archeologists have found the oldest evidence of chemical warfare yet after studying the bodies

of 20 Roman soldiers' found underground in Syria 70 years ago.

Clues left at the scene revealed the Persians were lying in wait as the Romans dug a tunnel

during a siege – then pumped in toxic gas – produced by sulphur crystals and bitumen – to kill

all the Romans in minutes”4

D'arcy Wentworth Thompson, University of St. Andrew ancient chemical warfare.
The Telegraph-Ancient Persians who gassed Romans were the first to use chemical weapons , 14 Jan 2009<
Retrieved on 15 March 2018>
Poisoned arrows also appear in classical literature. The epics of Homer, the Iliadand

the Odyssey5 both insinuate the use of the poisoned arrows in the Trojan War. The myths of

Hercules also allude to the use of poisoned arrows; after he slew the Hydra, as part of his Twelve

Labours, he dipped his arrowheads in the venom of the slain Hydra6. Kautilya’s Arthashastra, an

Indian manual on statecraft and military strategy, circa 400 BCE, encloses numerous recipes for

making poison weapons and other chemical weapons. Interestingly, another manual of the same

time period, the Laws of Manu, forbids the use of poison arrows. Having said that, the use of

these chemical weapons in India is confirmed in the 4th century BCE when Alexander the Great

encounters them at the Indus Basin.

The utilisation of chemical gases in warfare has also been rife throughout history. The earliest

known uses date back to the Chinese, circa 1000 BCE.7The Chinese employed an early form of

flamethrower, and also used suffocating smoke and a blistering agent in the form of a gas.

Another example occurred during the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta in the

5th century BCE; a Spartan army that was besieging the Athenian city of Plataea positioned a

lighted concoction of sulphur, pitch and wood underneath the walls with the aim of

incapacitating the Athenians so that they would not be able to stop the Spartan assault on the


History is like a building. The lower floors are needed before the higher ones can be made. It was

this early use of chemical warfare that inspired modern war tacticians to use toxins and gases to

immobilize opposition armies.

Mayor, 2003; Strabo.8.3.19; Pausanias.5.5.9.
Richardt, 2013.4.
Mayor, 2003; Thucydides.2.77

The Hague Declaration of 1899 and the Hague Convention of 1907 forbade the use of "poison or

poisoned weapons" in warfare, yet more than 124,000 tons of gas were produced by the end of

World War I.

The first employment of gas during the war occurred when the Germans used chlorine in the

early part of 1915. Chlorine is a greenish gas and the method the Germans used was to compress

this into tanks and, when the wind conditions were right, that is blowing from themselves

towards the allies, they opened the valves of these tanks and the chlorine gas drifted down on the

opposing forces in a cloudlike formation. At that particular time, there was absolutely no gas

protection available and a great number of casualties resulted, as chlorine is toxic or deadly when

present in sufficient concentration.

The allies soon extemporized crude methods of gas protection which eventually developed into

the well-known gas mask. About the same time that the gas protection was being perfected, the

Central Powers started to use other gases besides chlorine, with the final result that both sides,

during the latter phases of the war, resorted to several highly destructive gassing agencies. The

Germans principally used what is known as mustard gas, the name mustard being an arbitrary

.term ascribed to this agent which has no bearing on its chemical make-up. A suffocating gas

known as phosgene was also used by the Germans.9

Seth Wiard-“ Chemical warfare munitions for law enforcement agencies” Journal of Criminal Law and
Criminology Volume 26
After the war, the most common method of disposal of chemical weapons was to dump them into

the nearest large body of water.10 As many as 65,000 tons of chemical warfare agents may have

been dumped in the Baltic Sea alone; agents dumped in that sea included mustard gas,

phosgene, lewisite (β-chlorovinyldichloroarsine), adamsite (diphenylaminechloroarsine), Clark

I (diphenylchloroarsine) and Clark II (diphenylcyanoarsine).11 Over time the containers corrode,

and the chemicals leaked out. On the sea floor, at low temperatures, mustard gas tends to form

lumps within a "skin" of chemical byproducts. These lumps can wash onto shore, where they

look like chunks of waxy yellowish clay. They are extremely toxic, but the effects may not be

immediately apparent.

Between World War I and World War II, chemical agents were occasionally used to subdue

populations and suppress rebellion.

Lenin's Soviet government employed poison gas in 1921 during the Tambov Rebellion. An order

signed by military commanders Tukhachevsky and Vladimir Antonov

Ovseyenko stipulated: "The forests where the bandits are hiding are to be cleared by the use of

poison gas. This must be carefully calculated, so that the layer of gas penetrates the forests and

kills everyone hiding there."12

During the Rif War in Spanish Morocco in 1921–1927, combined Spanish and French forces

dropped mustard gas bombs in an attempt to put down the Berber rebellion.

Curry, Andrew (November 10, 2016). "Weapons of War Litter the Ocean Floor". Hakai Magazine.
Retrieved March 14, 2018
Andrulewicz, E. (2007). "Chemical weapons dumped in the Baltic Sea". In Gonenc, I.E.; Koutitonsky, V.G.;
Rashleigh, B.; Ambrose, R.B.; Wolflin,
Edvard Radzinsky (2011). Stalin. Knopf Doubleday. p. 173.
In 1925, 16 of the world's major nations signed the Geneva Protocol, thereby pledging never to

use gas in warfare again. Notably, while the United States delegation under Presidential authority

signed the Protocol, it languished in the U.S. Senate until 1975, when it was finally ratified.



According to historians Yoshiaki Yoshimi and Seiya Matsuno, Emperor Hirohito authorized the

use of chemical weapons in China.13 Furthermore, "tens of thousands, and perhaps as many

200,000, Chinese died of bubonic plague, cholera, anthrax and other diseases", resulting from the

use of biological warfare. Although owing to systematic Japanese destruction of records, there is

no record of chemical or biological weapons in Manchukuo itself, these weapons of mass

destruction were partly researched, produced, and stockpiled in Manchukuo by the Kwantung


According to historians Yoshiaki Yoshimi and Kentaro Awaya, during the Second Sino-Japanese

War, gas weapons, such as tear gas, were used only sporadically in 1937, but in early 1938

the Imperial Japanese Army began full-scale use of phosgene, chlorine, Lewisite and nausea

gas (red), and from mid-1939, mustard gas (yellow) was used against both Kuomintang and

Communist Chinese troops.14

According to Yoshimi and Seiya Matsuno, Emperor Hirohito signed orders specifying the use of

chemical weapons in China. For example, during the Battle of Wuhan from August to October

1938, the Emperor authorized the use of toxic gas on 375 separate occasions, despite the 1899

Hague Declaration IV, 2 – Declaration on the Use of Projectiles the Object of Which is the

Yoshimi and Matsuno, Dokugasusen kankei shiryô II, Kaisetsu 1997
Tanaka, Yuki (2015). "Poison Gas: The Story Japan Would Like to Forget". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Diffusion of Asphyxiating or Deleterious Gases15 and Article 23 (a) of the 1907 Hague

Convention IV – The Laws and Customs of War on Land.16 A resolution adopted by the League

of Nations on 14 May condemned the use of poison gas by Japan.

Another example is the Battle of Yichang in October 1941, during which the 19th Artillery

Regiment helped the 13th Brigade of the IJA 11th Army by launching 1,000 yellow gas shells

and 1,500 red gas shells at the Chinese forces. The area was crowded with Chinese civilians

unable to evacuate. Some 3,000 Chinese soldiers were in the area and 1,600 were affected. The

Japanese report stated that "the effect of gas seems considerable".17

In 2004, Yoshimi and Yuki Tanaka discovered in the Australian National Archives documents

showing that cyanide gas was tested on Australian and Dutch prisoners in November 1944

on Kai Islands (Indonesia).

Nazi Germany made use of various types of gas chambers for mass killing. Beginning in 1939,

gas chambers were used as part of the Nazi euthanasia program aimed at eliminating physically

and intellectually disabled people. Experiments in the gassing of patients were conducted in

October 1939 in occupied Posen in Poland. Hundreds of prisoners were killed by carbon

monoxide poisoning in an improvised gas chamber18. In 1940 gas chambers using bottled pure

carbon monoxide were established at six euthanasia centres in Germany19. In addition to persons

with disabilities, these centres were also used to kill prisoners transferred from concentration

"Laws of War: Declaration on the Use of Projectiles the Object of Which is the Diffusion of Asphyxiating or
Deleterious Gases; July 29, 1899". Retrieved 2018-03-16
"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". International Committee of the Red Cross.
Archived from the original on 26 September 2013. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
Yuki Tanaka, Poison Gas, the Story Japan Would Like to Forget, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, October 1988
Browning, Christopher (2005). The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September
1939 – March 1942. Arrow
"Gassing Operations". Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 16
March 2018.
camps in Germany, Austria, and Poland. Killings of concentration camp inmates continued after

the euthanasia program was officially shut down in 1941.

Starting in 1941, gas chambers were used at extermination camps in Poland for the mass killing

of Jews, Roma, and other victims of the Holocaust. Gas vans were used at the Chełmno

extermination camp. The Operation Reinhardextermination camps at Bełżec, Sobibór,

and Treblinka used exhaust fumes from stationary diesel engines . In search of more efficient

killing methods, the Nazis experimented with using the hydrogen cyanide-based fumigant

Zyklon B at the Auschwitz concentration camp. This method was adopted for mass killings at the

Auschwitz and Majdanek camps. Up to 6000 victims were gassed with Zyklon-B each day at


Most extermination camp gas chambers were dismantled or destroyed in the last months of

the World War II as Soviet troops approached, except for those at Dachau, Sachsenhausen and

Majdanek. One destroyed gas chamber at Auschwitz was reconstructed after the war to stand as a


A general concern over the use of poison gas manifested itself in 1899 at the Hague

Conference with a proposal prohibiting shells filled with asphyxiating gas. The proposal was

passed, despite a single dissenting vote from the United States. The American representative,

Navy Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan, justified voting against the measure on the grounds that

"the inventiveness of Americans should not be restricted in the development of new weapons."

We can see a timeline for efforts to limit the usage of chemical weapons-

 August 27, 1874: The Brussels Declaration Concerning the Laws and Customs of War is

signed, specifically forbidding the "employment of poison or poisoned weapons",

although the treaty was not adopted by any nation whatsoever and it never went into


 September 4, 1900: The First Hague Convention, which includes a declaration banning

the "use of projectiles the object of which is the diffusion of asphyxiating or deleterious

gases," enters into force.

 January 26, 1910: The Second Hague Convention enters into force, prohibiting the use of

"poison or poisoned weapons" in warfare.

 February 6, 1922: After World War I, the Washington Arms Conference

Treaty prohibited the use of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases. It was signed by the

United States, Britain, Japan, France, and Italy, but France objected to other provisions in

the treaty and it never went into effect.

 February 8, 1928: The Geneva Protocol enters into force, prohibiting the use of

"asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and of all analogous liquids, materials or

devices" and "bacteriological methods of warfare".

The Chemical Weapons Convention was ratified in April 1997. Since then, Albania,

Libya, Russia, the United States, and India have declared over 71,000 metric tons of

chemical weapon stockpiles, and destroyed about a third of them. Under the terms of the

agreement, the United States and Russia agreed to eliminate the rest of their supplies of

chemical weapons by 2012. Not having met its goal, the U.S. government estimates

remaining stocks will be destroyed by 2017

The Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits:

 Developing, producing, acquiring, stockpiling, or retaining chemical weapons.

 The direct or indirect transfer of chemical weapons.

 Chemical weapons use or military preparation for use.

 Assisting, encouraging, or inducing other states to engage in CWC-prohibited activity.

 The use of riot control agents “as a method of warfare.”

The convention requires states-parties to destroy:

 All chemical weapons under their jurisdiction or control.

 All chemical weapons production facilities under their jurisdiction or control.

 Chemical weapons abandoned on other states’ territories.

 Old chemical weapons


The debate in India has equated WMDs with nuclear weapons, which is unfortunate, since the

acronym includes biological and chemical weapons, but also radiological weapons — the so-

called ‘dirty bomb.’ There is little doubt that the use of nuclear weapons can inflict incalculable

destruction, instantaneously due to heat, blast and immediate radiation effects. More horrendous

is the still uncharted territory of secondary radiation within weeks and tertiary radiation that

could last for years after the nuclear incident. The most horrific aspect of nuclear weapons is the

largely unknown effects of their use that might be at least of equal importance to their known

effects. For instance, the breakdown of civil society might lead people to try and survive in near

anarchical conditions.

Public health and municipal systems would break down, especially if the first responders

become the victims of the nuclear attack, and take weeks to restore. All these possibilities,

supplemented by studies made and simulation exercises conducted, have privileged nuclear

disasters over those that might occur due to the use of chemical, biological and radiological


In 1992, India signed the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), stating that it did not have

chemical weapons and the capacity or intent to manufacture chemical weapons. By doing this

India became one of the original signatories of the CWC in 1993,20 and ratified it on 2 September

1996. According to India's ex-Army Chief General Sunderji, a country having the capability of

making nuclear weapons does not need to have chemical weapons, since the dread of chemical

"Member State - India". OPCW.
weapons could be created only in those countries that do not have nuclear weapons. Others

suggested that the fact that India has found chemical weapons dispensable highlighted its

confidence in the conventional weapons system at its command.

India’s decision to accede to the CWC and declare its chemical weapons stockpile is in contrast

to its previous policy of denying the possession of any chemical weapons. This policy was

formally established in the 1992 India-Pakistan Agreement on Chemical Weapons under which

India and Pakistan agreed to “never under any circumstances… develop, produce, or otherwise

acquire chemical weapons.”21

In June 1997, India declared its stock of chemical weapons (1,045 tonnes of sulphur

mustard).22 By the end of 2006, India had destroyed more than 75 percent of its chemical

weapons/material stockpile and was granted extension for destroying the remaining stocks by

April 2009 and was expected to achieve 100 percent destruction within that time frame.[19] India

informed the United Nations in May 2009 that it had destroyed its stockpile of chemical weapons

in compliance with the international Chemical Weapons Convention. With this India has become

third country after South Korea and Albania to do so.23 This was cross-checked by inspectors of

the United Nations.

India has an advanced commercial chemical industry, and produces the bulk of its own

chemicals for domestic consumption. It is also widely acknowledged that India has an extensive

civilian chemical and pharmaceutical industry and annually exports considerable quantities of

chemicals to countries such as the United Kingdom, United States and Taiwan

“India-Pakistan Agreement on Chemical Weapons,” Nuclear Threat Initiative,
India to destroy chemical weapons stockpile by 2009". Dominican Today. Archived from the original on 7
September 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2018
"India destroys its chemical weapons stockpile". Zee News. 14 May 2009. Retrieved 16 March 2018
India has twice been accused of using chemical weapons in the past. In June 1999, military

sources within Pakistan alleged that India had launched shells containing chemical weapons at a

Pakistani army position on the Line of Control between the two countries. 24 Additionally, in

October 2000, Raja Israr Abbasi, an opposition leader in the Azad Kashmir Assembly, claimed

that India’s use of chemical weapons had caused fields to become infertile. These claims were

never substantiated and India has denied them. Pakistan never requested a follow-up

investigation by the OPCW

Pakistan Alleges India Launches Chemical Weapons in Kashmir Attention - Updates with Indian Denial,” Agence
France Presse, 13 June 1999. Retrieved 16 March 2018

The current sense of complacency about the CW threat is partly the result of several positive

developments, including the demise of the Soviet Union, which possessed the world’s most

threatening chemical arsenal, and the entry into force in April 1997 of the Chemical Weapons

Convention (CWC), an international treaty banning the development, production, transfer, and

use of chemical arms, to which all but a handful of countries adhere. Nevertheless, there are real

grounds for concern about a future resurgence of the CW threat. A confluence of military,

economic, and technological trends — the changing nature of warfare in the twenty-first century,

the globalization of the chemical industry, and the advent of destabilizing chemical technologies

— have begun to erode the normative bulwark of the CWC and could result in the emergence of

new chemical threats from both state and sub-state actors. To prevent these potential risks from

materializing, much needs to be done at both the national and the international levels.

Some analysts have questioned whether chemical arms meet the criteria of a “weapon of mass

destruction” because large quantities of an agent like sarin would be required to cause thousands

of casualties in an outdoor attack. But if the threat posed by a weapon is thought of as the

product of the likelihood of its use and the scale of the potential consequences, then chemical

weapons must be taken seriously. Not only are the materials, equipment, and know-how for CW

agent production more accessible to states and terrorist organizations than those for nuclear or

biological weapons, but under the right atmospheric and weather conditions, toxic chemicals can

have devastating effects on unprotected troops or civilians.25

The New Atlantis-The Future of Chemical Weapons –Jonathan B Tucker
The major problem facing the chemical disarmament process is that the United States and

Russia, the world’s two largest possessors of chemical weapons, are behind schedule in

eliminating their vast toxic arsenals left over from the Cold War. As of December 2009, the

United States had destroyed 66 percent of its stockpile while Russia had reached the 45 percent

mark. At the current rate of destruction, the United States will have destroyed only 90 percent of

its stockpile by the extended CWC deadline of April 29, 2012, and it is not expected to finish the

job until 2021. Russia is also unlikely to meet the 2012 destruction deadline. Because the CWC

has no provision for further extensions, the expected failure by the two largest CW possessors to

eliminate their stockpiles on schedule could undermine the credibility of the chemical

disarmament regime. Even so, Washington and Moscow remain committed to the goals of the

CWC and have reaffirmed their intention to complete the task as soon as possible.

Synthetic biology involves designing and making biologically compatible parts and systems that

do not exist naturally, or redesigning existing biological systems. Drawing on engineering,

chemical and biological principles, synthetic biology facilitates the designing of cells to produce

chemicals that are identical to chemicals synthesised from other means, as well as novel

chemicals and materials with a vast range of useful applications. Synthetic biology offers major

benefits, including easing the production and magnifying the immune responses of vaccines and

antibiotics26. In the short term, synthetic biology is unlikely to have significant implications for

developing new chemical weapons, although barriers to producing certain toxic chemicals could

be lowered. In the longer term, synthetic biology could enable the biological production of

known and novel harmful chemicals that are the concern of the CWC, perhaps even including

Mukunda et al 2009
chemicals that could target specific ethnic groups by interacting with particular foods or genetic


Although unclassified information on states of CW proliferation concern is hard to come by,

U.S. government reports and other public sources have identified a number of suspects. Even as

Russia destroys the vast stockpile of chemical weapons it inherited from the Soviet Union,

concerns linger about Moscow’s compliance with the CWC. According to Russian military

chemists who defected to the West, from the 1970s through the early 1990s the Soviet Union and

then Russia ran a top-secret program called Foliant that successfully developed a new generation

of nerve agents known as novichoks, after the Russian word for “newcomer.” Reportedly, these

compounds are more deadly and resistant to treatment than either the G-series or the V-series

nerve agents. Dr. Vil Mirzayanov, a former Soviet military chemist who worked on the Foliant

program, wrote in the Summer 2009 issue of the journal CBRNe World, “Agent 230 [a

novichok], which was adopted as a chemical weapon by the Russian Army, is 5-8 times more

poisonous than VX gas. It is impossible to cure people who are exposed to it.”

Despite the successful implementation of the CWC over the past dozen years, chemical weapons

remain a serious threat to U.S. and international security and deserve greater attention from

policymakers, the news media, and the general public. The CW threat is multifaceted,

encompassing military-grade agents, novel incapacitating agents, and toxic industrial chemicals.

Moreover, in a world of globalized, flexible chemical manufacturing, countries may decide to

hedge their bets by acquiring a standby capability to produce CW agents in a crisis or war. Such

“latent” proliferation enables states to break out of the CWC on short notice, creating serious

dilemmas for the verification of compliance.


With the entry-into-force of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) on 29 April

1997, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was formally

established. On 11 October, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced that the OPCW had

been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "extensive work to eliminate chemical weapons". In the

announcement, the OPCW and the Chemical Weapons Convention were praised. The committee

further indicated how "Recent events in Syria, where chemical weapons have again been put to

use, have underlined the need to enhance the efforts to do away with such weapons.”27 In the

year ending September 2014, the OPCW had overseen the destruction of some 97 percent of

Syria's declared chemical weapons

The organisation is not an agency of the United Nations, but cooperates both on policy and

practical issues. On 7 September 2000 the OPCW and the United Nations signed a cooperation

agreement outlining how they were to coordinate their activities.28 The inspectors furthermore

travel on the United Nations Laissez-Passer in which a sticker is placed explaining their position,

and privileges and immunities.[16] The United Nations Regional Groups also operate at the

OPCW to govern the rotations on the Executive Council and provide informal discussion


The OPCW Technical Secretariat is located in The Hague, the Netherlands. Currently, 189

nations, representing about 98% of the global population, have joined the CWC. The OPCW

mission is to implement the provisions of the CWC and to ensure a credible, transparent regime

to verify the destruction of chemical weapons; to prevent their re-emergence in any member

"Chemicals weapons watchdog OPCW wins Nobel peace prize". Times of India. 11 October 2013. Retrieved 11
March 2018.
United Nations General Assembly Session 55 ResolutionA/RES/55/283 Retrieved 16 March 2018
State; to provide protection and assistance against chemical weapons; to encourage international

cooperation in the peaceful uses of chemistry; and to achieve universal membership of the

OPCW. The cooperation between the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of

Chemical Weapons is regulated by the relationship agreement between both

organisations adopted by the General Assembly in September 2001. At all operational chemical

weapons destruction facilities, 24/7 inspections by the OPCW take place on site to verify the

success of the destruction as well as the amounts of weapons being destroyed.29 In light of the

hazardous environment in which the inspections take place, they are generally performed by

evaluation via CCTV-systems

Nanotechnology can support improved detection, diagnostic and decontamination systems, as

well as protective clothing and respiratory protection. Nanotechnology can also support

miniaturised, easily deployable sensors that could allow real-time awareness of how a chemical

attack was dispersing and unfolding.

These organizations have taken the task of conducting checks on the signatories of the Chemical

Weapons Convention to ensure that they have gotten rid of 100% of their stock of chemical

weapons. They also lead petitions in countries such as Syria , Russia and others that have not as

yet complied.

The United Nations , in cooperation with the International Red Cross and other humanitarian

associations works for the medical treatment of not just people rendered destitute by warfare but

also those who have serious health consequences due to chemical weapons.

Destruction of Chemical Weapons and Its Verification Pursuant to Article IV. [CWC], Verification Annex
The United Nations also uses its influence with organizations such as the IMF and the WTO to

impose strict sanctions on not just the countries who possess and use such chemical weapons but

also those who indulge in trade and commerce with such countries. In these circumstances it is

very difficult for rebel countries to hold out.

Such initiatives should be complemented by a systematic and well-funded education programme

designed and implemented by the OPCW. This could be modelled on the International Atomic

Energy Agency’s International Nuclear Security Education Network that develops peer-reviewed

educational materials and facilitates student exchange.

More effective engagement with the scientific community would also build capacity among

national delegations. The OPCW is based in The Hague in the Netherlands. The Hague is

primarily a bilateral posting for diplomats. In many cases, duties relating to the OPCW may be

additional to broader engagement with the Netherlands. Diplomats’ direct experience of the

CWC and relevant S&T areas may be limited.


While the usage of chemical weapons in outright warfare has now beem significantly reduced ,

what cannot be ignored is the fact that clandestine secret services are using chemical weapons

such as nerve agents to eliminate their enemies.

There have been several high profile assassination attempts such as the Poisoning of Sergei and

Yulia Skripal where on 4 March 2018, former Russian military intelligence officer and British

spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal were poisoned in Salisbury, England, with

a Novichok nerve agent.30 As of 26 March 2018,Sergei remained critically ill in hospital and

doctors have indicated that he may never fully recover;31 Yulia was conscious and able to

speak.32 A police officer also fell seriously ill and by 22 March had recovered enough to leave

hospital.33 An additional 46 people sought medical advice after the attack, but none required


Another incident that caused much international outrage was the Assassination of Kim Jong-

nam, who was the brother of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un. Kim arrived in Malaysia on

6 February 2017, traveling to the resort island of Langkawi on 8 February.34 On 9 February he

met with an unidentified American national, reported by the Asahi Shimbun to be an intelligence

officer.35 On 13 February 2017 at about 9am,36 Kim was attacked by two women37 with VX

Asthana, Anushka; Roth, Andrew; Harding, Luke; MacAskill, Ewen (12 March 2018). "May issues ultimatum to
Moscow over Salisbury poisoning". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
A poisoned Russian spy and his daughter may never recover their full mental functions, a British judge has
said". Newsweek. 23 March 2018.
"Russian spy: Yulia Skripal 'conscious and talking'". BBC News. 29 March 2018. Retrieved 29 March 2018
"Policeman discharged after ex-spy attack". BBC News. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
Latiff, Rozanna (29 January 2018). Fernandez, Clarence, ed. "Kim Jong Nam met U.S. national on Malaysian
island before he was killed, police say". Reuters. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
"North Korean leader's brother Kim Jong-nam 'killed' in Malaysia'". BBC News. 14 February 2017. Archived from
the original on 14 February 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2018
nerve agent near an airport self check-in kiosk at level 3, departure hall in KLIA 2, the low-cost

carrier terminal at Kuala Lumpur International Airport[6] during his return trip to Macau. VX is a

chemical weapon banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993. North Korea, which

has not ratified the Convention, is suspected of holding a stockpile.

It is a gross violation of the right to life that is a fundamental building block of human society,

not to mention massively undermining the sovereignty of the nations in whose territory such

attacks take place. It is a most painful way to die because a person may writhe in agony for

several hours before death and doctors will be unable to provide any sort of immediate relief

because of a paucity of an effective antidote.

It is imperative that such horrible weapons be eradicated from the earth. Countries such as Russia

and North Korea are already the subject of massive economic sanctions that will only get

heavier. Organisations such as OPCW cannot rest on their laurels as long as this threat remains

to the people of the world.

McCurry, Justin (14 February 2017). "Kim Jong-un's half-brother dies after 'attack' at airport in Malaysia". The
Guardian. Archived from the original on 14 February 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
Samuel Osborne (14 February 2017). "Kim Jong-un's half-brother 'assassinated with poisoned needles at
airport'". The Independent

War is definitely one avenue of life where it is not ok to say that desperate times call for

desperate measures. By using these chemical weapons , the users are not only being the judge ,

jury and executioner. They are also showcasing why such weapons should not have been

invented in the first place. It has been correctly and aptly stated that one death is a tragedy.

Multiple deaths become a statistic.

This year the Nobel Prize was won by ICAN , an organization that is appealing for

denuclearization across the globe. Their efforts to get a universal disarmament treaty passed

through the United Nations Security Council is applaudable. Yet their struggle to rid the world of

nucler weapons is just another example of how dearly countries want to hold on to these


I sincerely believe that all weapons have as much caliber to be used for the good of humanity as

they can for its bad. Keeping this in mind I think it would be for the best if rather than outlaw

these chemicals outright we attempt to make use of them in civilian purposes. 21st century is

supposed to be the one where we learn to stop wasting our resources.

As long as geopolitical interests of different countries are at odds with each other these weapons

will be flaunted as deterrents. We might wish to truthfully say that there is no more attack on

civilian populations using nerve agents or gases but it does happen.

In my conclusion I would like to strongly advocate that the harmful effects of these chemical

weapons must not be allowed to be forgotten. People must be made aware through drives and

documentaries why these weapons have been done away with to a larhe extent. Perhaps with the

dawning of a new generation we can finaly convince those countries and organizations who are
still holding out to relinquish these weapons and exercise their sovereign power for the

betterment of their people instead.

Some recommendations to help eliminate chemical weapons-

 Increase significantly the budget of the OPCW, which has remained flat at about €74.5

million for the past five consecutive years despite the growing burden of inspections.

 Provide greater political support for the OPCW action plans to achieve universal

adherence to the CWC and to ensure effective national implementation of the treaty by all

member states. Since the OPCW adopted the action plan on universality in 2003, thirty-

three additional countries have joined the CWC.

 Revive the dormant CWC challenge inspection mechanism by using it to clarify

ambiguities about compliance, such as whether a particular facility should have been

declared, thereby avoiding the political risks of trying to catch suspected violators red-


 Increase the total number of OCPF inspections per year, while further refining the site-

selection algorithm to focus on the multipurpose chemical manufacturing facilities that

pose the greatest risk to the CWC.

 Clarify the law enforcement exemption in the CWC to restrict the types and quantities of

chemical agents that can be used for counterterrorism and paramilitary operations.

 Improve the monitoring of global trade in dual-use chemical precursors and production

equipment, and support cooperative multinational efforts to track and interdict illicit

 Strengthen political and economic sanctions on companies and governments that continue

to supply CW precursors and production equipment to known proliferators.

 Expand domestic preparedness measures for incidents of chemical terrorism


1. The Arms Trade Treaty – Stuart Casey Maslen

2. Documentary n the laws of war- Adam Roberts

3. War Reparations and the UN Compensation Commission- Timothy J Feighery

4. The War Report- Stuart Casey Maslen

5. The Guardian Newspaper

6. www.

7. BBC

8. Chemical Weapons Convention