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

The HSP Draft Convention

Introduction      Text      Status      Implementation      Further Information


Status of the proposal

The Harvard Sussex draft convention was presented by the Netherlands to the Public International Law Working Group (COJUR) of the Council of the European Union at its meeting of 31 January 2002. COJUR agreed that delegations would submit the proposal to their governments for consideration, along with the positive comments made by a number of delegations during the meeting. Shortly thereafter, international criminalization was included as one of eleven measures proposed for consideration in the UK government's consultation paper on biological weapons Green Paper issued on 29 April 2002 by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs:

A new Convention on Criminalization of CBW: there are already proposals, developed initially in the academic community, for a new Convention that introduces criminal responsibility for any individual indicted for violating the prohibitions of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention or the Chemical Weapons Convention. States would be obliged to prosecute or extradite indicted individuals. (Cm 5484 )

A further statement from the UK government, indicating its support for the measure, is contained in a memorandum of 18 November 2002 from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons:

The Harvard Sussex Program […] has developed a draft Convention for the criminalization of CBW activities at the individual level. This draft builds on existing legal precedents and international agreements and has been considered by officials since it was first launched in the late 1990s. It was one of the measures especially identified in the Green Paper as a possible option and it remains one that the government would be ready to see taken forward as part of international efforts to counter the threat posed by CBW proliferation. (HC papers 150, Session 2002-03)