Harvard Sussex Program
on chemical and biological warfare armament and arms limitation

The HSP Draft Convention

Introduction      Text      Status      Implementation      Further Information


Implementation of the proposal

In conformity with the procedure by which other international criminalization conventions have come into being, a group of sponsoring states might submit the proposed convention or a similar draft in the form of a resolution for consideration by the UN General Assembly, seeking its referral to the Sixth (legal) Committee of the Assembly for negotiation and preparation of an agreed text. This might be completed in a year, in time for the following session of the Assembly. Following a resolution of commendation by the Assembly, the agreed convention would be opened for signature. After ratification by a specified number of states, it would enter into force. Alternatively, a regional or other grouping of states might convene a diplomatic conference with a view to producing an agreed text that could then be opened for signature and ratification by any state wishing to do so.

Adoption and widespread adherence to such a convention would create a new dimension of constraint against biological and chemical weapons by applying international criminal law to hold individual offenders responsible and punishable should they be found in the territory of any state that supports the convention. Such individuals would be regarded as hostes humani generis, enemies of all humanity. The norm against chemical and biological weapons would be strengthened, deterrence of potential offenders would be enhanced, and international cooperation in suppressing the prohibited activities would be facilitated. International criminalization would serve to place the problem of biological and chemical weapons and the potential for hostile exploitation of biotechnology in its proper context: not only a threat to the security of individual states but a menace, now and in the future, to all humanity.