Disabling Chemicals and the
Chemical Weapons Convention
A study of
the problems posed by irritant and other incapacitating chemicals
for implementation of the 1993 Convention on the Prohibition of
which has been in preparation for several years, is intended to
yield a monograph that will provide information and analysis to
policy-shaping communities in order to bolster the prohibition set
forth in the Chemical Weapons Convention against the development,
production, transfer and use of toxic chemicals for purposes which
the Convention does not permit.
the prohibition is a potentially corrosive confusion about the strictures
which the Convention places on disabling chemicals. The CWC permits
toxic chemicals (a category that includes all disabling chemicals),
to be used only for peaceful purposes. Among these peaceful purposes,
the CWC expressly includes law enforcement. So police forces may
use tear-gas weapons against domestic rioters, but any use of those
same weapons in warfare against enemy combatants is forbidden.
There is much
room for confusion because it is not only the chemicals that can
thus be of dual use but also the weapons themselves. For example,
the first chemical-warfare weapons to be used during the Great War
of 1914-18 were apparently French police-issue hand-grenades and
rifle-cartridges charged with the tear-gas ethyl bromoacetate. Further,
there is the largely erroneous but widely held belief that use of
disabling chemicals makes war more humane. This belief could lead
some States Parties into misinterpretation of the Convention, even
tempt them into violation of it. The monograph will seek to clarify
the confusion, explain its dangers, and propose a remedy.
The problem which tear gas and other disabling chemicals pose
for chemical disarmament
of disabling chemicals in law enforcement and in warfare:
2.1 An historical account of weapons applications of disabling
chemicals by police and military forces, to include description
of currently discernible trends in concepts for disabling chemical
2.2 Evaluation of current concepts for use of non-lethal weapons
technology in law-enforcement, peace-keeping and warfare.
2.3 On disabling chemicals as armament for UN peace-keeping forces.
and foreseeable development of disabling chemical weapons
3.1 Review of current receptor/agonist research salient to disabling
3.2 Recent trends in the worldwide spread of disabling chemical
weapons for use in operations other than war.
of disabling chemical weapons in international law prior to the
Chemical Weapons Convention
5 The restrictions
placed on disabling chemicals by the Chemical Weapons Convention
· The applicable provisions [including those on destruction
of disabling chemical weapons and production facilities for them,
and on disclosure of development and test facilities].
· Negotiating history of the key provisions, viz the General
Purpose Criterion and its associated definitions [including "toxic
chemical", "riot control agent" and, embracing "law enforcement
including domestic riot control purposes", "purposes not prohibited"];
the ban on use of riot-control agents as a method of warfare; and
the obligation to declare riot-control agents.
the applicable provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention:
6.1 Preparatory work by the OPCW Preparatory Commission [as
in Section K of the Declarations Handbook]
6.2 What the OPCW has been doing [including receiving Section
K declarations and seeking clarifications on certain of them; and
including also the SAB/TWG on adamsite]
7 Case studies
7.1 USA: Chemical weapons and the idea of humane warfare:
the evolution of US policy and practice on disabling chemical weapons
since 1917, to include consideration of the Mayaguez affair, Grenada,
Panama, Waco, Desert Storm and the 2003 Iraq war, as well as the
RDT&E and acquisition programs.
7.2 USA: the Vietnam War.
7.3 UK: Policy and practice on disabling chemical weapons [including
use-policy on BBC during WW2, the CS decision of 1970 and its present
status, military experience with CS in Ulster, and military views
on the role of disabling chemical weapons in peace-keeping operations].
7.4 UK: The pharmaceutical industry and candidate agent TL2636
7.5 Yugoslavia, past and present: Its disabling chemical
weapons program, and the use of CS and BZ weapons in the wars of
Africa: Disabling chemicals in Project Coast and associated activities.
7.7 Iraq: UNSCOM, UNMOVIC and ISG findings regarding CS and other
disabling chemical weapons [and including an account of CS use
during the Iraq-Iran war].
7.8 Japan: Prospects for the disabling and other chemical weapons
abandoned in China
7.9 Russia: Policy and practice on disabling chemicals as counter-terrorist
guidelines for differentiating law enforcement and warfare