Geneva Protocol – 1925

The protocol for the prohibition of the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and of bacteriological methods of warfare, usually called the Geneva protocol, is a treaty prohibiting the use of chemical and biological weapons. It was signed at Geneva on June 17, 1925 and was entered into force on February 8, 1928. It prohibits the use of chemical weapons, but says nothing about production, storage or transfer. Later two treaties did cover these aspects – the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention and the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention. A number of countries submitted reservations when becoming parties to the Geneva Protocol declaring that they only regarded the non- use obligations as applying to other parties and that these obligations would cease to apply if the prohibited weapons were used against them.

Biological Weapons Convention – 1972

The convention on the prohibition of the development, production and stock piling of bacteriological and toxin weapons and on their destruction, usually referred to as the Biological Weapons Convention was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the production of an entire category of weapons, with exceptions for medical and defensive purposes in small quantities. The BWC was opened for signature on April 10, 1972 and entered into force March 26, 1975 when twenty-two governments had deposited their instruments of ratification The Biological Weapons Convention has 171 signatories and has been ratified by 155 signatories. India is also the party of the convention. However, the absence of any formal verification regime to monitor compliance has limited the effectiveness of the convention.

Each state party to this conventions undertakes never in any circumstances to develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain: (1) Microbial or other biological agents, or types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes; (2) Weapons equipment or means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict.

Major Highlights of the Convention are as Below:

  •      Never under any circumstances to acquire or retain biological weapons.
  •      To destroy or divert to peaceful purposes biological weapons and associated resources prior to joining.
  •      Not to transfer, or in any way assist, encourage or induce anyone else to acquire or retain biological weapons.
  •      To take any national measures necessary to implement the provisions of the BWC domestically.
  •      To consult bilaterally and multilateral to solve any problems with the implementation of the BWC.
  •      To request the UN Security Council to investigate alleged breaches of the BWC and to comply with its subsequent decisions.
  •      To assist States which have been exposed to a danger as a result of a violation of the BWC.
  •      To do all of the above in a way that encourages the peaceful uses of biological science and technology.

Chemical Weapons Convention -1993

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CMC) is an arms control agreement which outlaws the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons. It prohibits the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and on their destruction. Signed in 1993 and entered into force on April 29, 1997 the convention augments the Geneva Protocol of 1925 for chemical weapon and includes extensive verification measures such as on – site inspections. The convention is administered by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons which conducts inspection of military and industrial plants in all of the member nations as well as working with stockpile countries. The convention distinguishes three classes of controlled substance, chemicals which can either be used as weapons themselves or used in the manufacture of weapons. The substance produced commercially for legitimate purposes.

  •    Schedule 1 chemicals have few, or no uses outside of chemical weapons. These may be produced or used for research, medical pharmaceutical or chemical weapon defence testing purposes but production above 100 grams per years must nerve agents. A few of these chemicals have very small scale non – military applications, for example minute quantities of nitrogen mustard are used to treat certain cancers.
  •    Schedule 2 chemicals have legitimate small – scale applications. Manufacture must be declared and there are restrictions on export to countries which are not CWC signatories. An example is thiodiglycol which can be used in the manufacture of mustard agents, but is also used as a solvent in inks.
  •    Schedule 3 chemicals have large – scale uses apart from chemical weapons. Plants which manufacture of more than 30 tonnes per year must be declared and can be inspected, and there are restrictions on export to countries which are not CWC signatories. Examples of these substances are phosgene, which has been used as a chemical weapon but which is also a precursor in the manufacture of many legitimate organic compounds and triethanolamine, used in the manufacture of nitrogen mustard but also commonly used in toiletries and detergents.

Almost all countries in the world have joined the Chemical Weapons Convention. As of 12 July 2007, 182 of the 195 states recognized by the United Nations are party to the CWC. Of the 13 states that have not, six have signed but not yet ratified the treaty seven states have not signed the treaty: Angola, North Korea, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Somalia, and Syria.

Outer Space Treaty – 1967

The Outer Space Treaty, the treaty on principles governing the activities of states in the exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, forms the basis of international space law. The treaty was opened for signature on January 27, 1967 and entered into force on October 10, 1967. As of 2006 98 countries are states parties to the treaty, while another 27 have signed the treaty but have not yet completed ratification.

Major Highlights of the Treaty are as Below:

  •      The treaty represents the basic legal framework of international space law. It bars states from placing nuclear weapons or any other weapons of mass destruction in orbit of Earth, installing them on the moon or any other celestial body, or to otherwise station them in outer space.
  •      As per the Treaty states, outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.
  •      It deals with international responsibility, stating that the activities of non – governmental entities in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate state party shall bear international responsibility for national space activities whether carried out by governmental or non – governmental entities.
  • The effect of the Outer Space Treaty is to restrict control of private property rights, in the way that the law of the sea prevents anyone owning the sea. This if often disputed by those who claim the ability to sell property rights on the moon and other bodies, but the dispute has never been tested in a court of law.

Nuclear Non – Proliferation Treaty – 1968

The treaty on the non – proliferation of nuclear weapons, also called Nuclear Non – Proliferation Treaty is an international treaty, opened for signature on July 1,1968 to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. There are 189 states party to the treaty. Only four states are not. Two countries India and Pakistan – out of eight confirmed nuclear powers and one presumed nuclear power – Israel neither signed nor ratified the treaty. North Korea ratified the treaty, violated it and later withdrew.

Main Features of NPT are as follows:

  •      Each nuclear – weapons state are bound not to transfer, to any recipient, nuclear weapons, of other nuclear explosive devices, and not to assist any non – nuclear weapon state to manufacture or acquire such weapons or devices.
  •      Each non – NWS party undertakes to conclude an agreement with the IAEA for the application of its safeguards to all nuclear material in all of the state’s peaceful nuclear activities and to prevent diversion of such material to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
  •      The states undertake to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and towards a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.
  •      Establishes the right to withdraw from the treaty giving 3 months notice.

The treaty was proposed by Ireland, and opened for signature in 1968 Finland was the first to sign. By 1992 all five then – declared nuclear power had signed the treaty, and the treaty was renewed in 1995. IN New York City, on May 11, 1995, the parties to the treaty decided by consensus to extend the treaty indefinitely and without conditions.

India, Pakistan, and Israel: Three states – India, Pakistan and Israel – have declined to sign the treaty. India and Pakistan are confirmed nuclear powers, and Israeli made a statement that it possesses nuclear weapons. These countries argue that the NPT creates a club of “nuclear haves” and a larger group of ” nuclear have – nots” by restricting the legal possession of nuclear weapons to those states that tested them before 1967, but the treaty never explains on what ethical grounds such a distinction is valid. India and Pakistan have publicly announced possession of nuclear weapons and have detonated nuclear devise in tests, India having first done so in 1974 and Pakistan following suit in 1998 in response to another Indian test . India is estimated to have enough fissile material for more than 150 warheads. India is one of the few countries to have a no first use policy, a pledge not to use nuclear weapons unless first attacked by an adversary suing nuclear weapons. Main reason quoted by India for not signing NPT and for possessing nuclear weapons is that China, with which it has fought war in 1962 and has long standing border dispute, is one of the Nuclear haves nation. According to intelligence, Israel has been developing nuclear weapons at in the July 2005 Asia – Partnership for clean development and climate is politically sensitive, as India, which tested its first atomic bomb in 1974, refuses to sign the NPT. Prior to the announcement of the Asia – Pacific partnership, on 18 July 2005 US President George W. Bush had met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and declared that has would work to change US law and international rules to permit trade in US civilian nuclear technology with India. Some argue that the U.S India nuclear deal, in combination with US attempts to deny Iran civilian nuclear fuel – making technology, any destroy the NPT regime. Everyday five years, there is a Review Conference in May 2005, there were stark differences between the United States, which wanted the conference to focus on proliferation, especially on its allegations against Iran, and most other countries, who emphasized the lack of serious nuclear disarmament by the nuclear powers. The non – aligned countries reiterated their reiterated their position that NATO’s nuclear sharing arrangement violates the treaty.

Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty – 1972

The Anti – Ballistic Missile Treaty was a treaty between USA and USSR on the limitation of the anti – ballistic missile systems used n defending areas against missile delivered nuclear weapons. On May 26 1972 the US President Richard Nixon and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Leonid Brezhnev signed the Anti – Ballistic Missile Treaty. The treaty was in force for thirty years from 1972 until 2002. six months after giving the required notice of intent the US withdrew from the treaty.

Early History: Throughout the late 1950s and into the 1960s the United States had been developing a series of missile systems with the ability to shoot down incoming ICBM warheads. As part of this defence, Canada and the US established the North American Aerospace Defense Command. As relations between the US and USSR warmed in the later years of the 1960s, the US first proposed an ABM treaty in 1967. This proposal was rejected. Following the proposal of American ABM systems, the strategic arms limitation talks began in November 1969. By 1972 agreement had been reached to limiting strategic offensive weapons and strategic defensive systems. Each country was allowed two sites at which it could base a defensive system, one for the capital and one for the capital and one for ICBM silos. The treaty was signed in Moscow in 1972. The 1974 Protocol reduced the number of sites to one per party, largely because neither country had developed a second site. The sites were Moscow for the USSR and Grand Forks Air force Base, North Dakota, since its safeguard facility was already under construction, for the US.

The treaty was undisturbed until Ronald Reagan announced his Strategic Defense Initiative on March 23 1983. The project was a blow to Yuri Andropov’s so – called “peace offensive”. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991 the status of the treaty became unclear. On December 13, 2001 George W. Bush gave Russia notice of the United States withdrawal from the treaty, in accordance with the clause that requires six months notice before terminating the pact. This was the first time in recent history the United States has withdrawn from a major international arms treaty. This led to the eventual creation of the missile Defense Agency.

Reaction to the withdrawal by both the Russian federation and the people’s Republic of China was much milder than many had predicted, following months of discussion with both Russia and China aimed at convincing both that development of a National Missile Defense was not directed at them. In the case of Russia, the United States stated that it intended to discuss a bilateral reduction in the numbers of nuclear warheads, which would decrease of comparative strength. Discussions led to the signing of the Strategic offensive Reductions Treaty in Moscow on 24 May 2002. This treaty mandated the deepest ever cuts in deployed strategic nuclear warheads, without actually mandating cuts to total stockpiled warheads. Its Dimona site in the Negev since 1958 and may have stockpiled between 100 to 200 warheads using the plutonium reprocessed from Dimona. In early March of 2006, India and the United States finalized a deal to provide India with US civilian nuclear technology. Proponents of the deal note that India will now classify 14 of its 22 nuclear facilities as being for civilian use, and thus open to inspection. However, attempts made by Pakistan to sign a similar agreement have been thwarted by the U.S. as well as the international community. The argument put forth is that Pakistan lacks the same energy requirements, and that the track record of Pakistan as a nuclear proliferators makes it impossible for it to have any sort of nuclear deal in the near future.

North Korea: North Korea ratified the treaty on December 12, 1985 but gave notice of withdrawal from the treaty on January 10, 2003 following U.S. allegations that it had started an illegal enriched uranium weapons program, and the U.S subsequently stopping fuel oil shipments under the Agreed Framework which had resolved plutonium weapons issues in 1994. The withdrawal became effective April 10, 2003 making North Korea the first state ever to withdraw from the treaty. North Korea had once before announced withdrawal on march 12,1993 but suspended that notice before it came into effect.

On February 10, 2005 North Korea publicly declared that it possessed nuclear weapons and pulled out of the six party talks resumed in July 2005. On September 19 2005, North Korea announced that it would agree to a preliminary accord, North Korea would scrap all of its existing nuclear weapons and nuclear production facilities, rejoin the NPT, and readmit IAEA inspectors. The difficult issue of the supply of light water reactors to replace North Korea’s indigenous nuclear power plant program , as per the 1994 agreed Framework, was left to be resolved in future discussions. On the next day North Korea reiterated its known view that until it is supplied with a light water reactor it will not dismantle its nuclear arsenal or rejoin the NPT. On October 9 2006 the United States Geological Survey detected a magnitude 4.2 seismic event 70 km north of Kirnchaek, North Korea indicating a nuclear test. The North Korean government announced shortly afterward that key had completed a successful underground test of a nuclear fission device.

Iran: Iran is a signatory state of the NPT and has recently resumed development of a uranium enrichment program. While the Iranian government claims that this enrichment program is a step towards a civilian nuclear energy program, which is allowed under the terms of the NPT a United Nations Security Council resolution orders Iran to halt its activity. The United States and several members of the European Union have accused Iran remains under investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency. In November 2003 IAEA Director General Mohamed E.I barder reported that Iran had repeatedly and over an extended period failed to meet with its safeguards obligations, including by failing to declare its uranium enrichment program after nearly two years of diplomatic governors, acting under the IAEA statute. That these failures constituted non – compliance with the IAE safeguards agreement, not the NPT itself. The United states contends on this basis that Iran violated the NPT.

South Africa: During the days of apartheid, the white South African government developed a deep fear of both a black uprising and the threat of communism. This led to the development of a secret nuclear weapons program as an ultimate deterrent. South Africa has a large supply of uranium, which is mined in the country’s gold mines. The government built a nuclear research facility at Pelindaba near Pretoria where uranium was enriched to fuel grade for the nuclear power plant at Koeberg as well as weapon grade for bomb production. In 1991 after international pressure and when a change of government was imminent, South Africa signed the Nuclear Non – Proliferation Treaty. In 1993 the then president Frederik Willem de Klerk openly admitted that the country had developed a limited nuclear weapon capability. These weapons were subsequently dismantled prior to accession to the NPT. South Africa then opened itself up to IAEA for inspection. In 1994 the IAEA completed its work and declared that the country had fully dismantled its nuclear weapons program.

Libya: Libya signed the Nuclear Non – Proliferation Treaty, and in October of 2003 was caught in violation of it when the United States intercepted the illegal transport of Pakistani – designed centrifuge parts sent from Malaysia. Libya then admitted to possessing an illegal nuclear weapons program in violation of the treaty and simultaneously announced of mass destruction to be verified by unconditional inspections.

Leaving the Treaty: Article X allows a state to leave the treaty if extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country giving three months notice. The state is required to give reasons for leaving the NPT in this notice. NATO states argue that when there is a state of “general war” the treaty no longer applies effectively allowing the states involved to leave the treaty with no notice. North Korea has also caused an uproar by its use of this provision of the treaty. Article X.1 only requires a state to give three months notice in total and does not provide for other states to question a state’s interpretation of “superme interests of its country”.

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