The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (the Chemical Weapons Convention or CWC), is comprised of a Preamble, 24 Articles, and 3 Annexes — the Annex on Chemicals, the Verification Annex, and the Confidentiality Annex.
The Convention aims to eliminate an entire category of weapons of mass destruction by prohibiting the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer or use of chemical weapons by States Parties. States Parties, in turn, must take the steps necessary to enforce that prohibition in respect of persons (natural or legal) within their jurisdiction.
All States Parties have agreed to chemically disarm by destroying any stockpiles of chemical weapons they may hold and any facilities which produced them, as well as any chemical weapons they abandoned on the territory of other States Parties in the past. States Parties have also agreed to create a verification regime for certain toxic chemicals and their precursors (listed in Schedules 1, 2 and 3 in the Annex on Chemicals) in order to ensure that such chemicals are only used for purposes not prohibited under the Convention.
A unique feature of the Convention is its incorporation of the ‘challenge inspection’, whereby any State Party in doubt about another State Party’s compliance can request a surprise inspection. Under the Convention’s ‘challenge inspection’ procedure, States Parties have committed themselves to the principle of ‘any time, anywhere’ inspections with no right of refusal.
Article I sets out the general obligations of each State Party under the Convention
Article II sets out the definitions and criteria to be used in implementing the Convention
Article III requires each State Party to submit declarations to the OPCW within 30 days after the Convention enters into force for that particular State Party
Article IV sets out the requirements for States Parties to destroy their chemical weapons
Article V relates to the requirement for States Parties to destroy and/or convert their Chemical Weapons Production Facilities (CWPFs)
Article VI covers “activities not prohibited under this Convention”, otherwise known as the non-proliferation or industry verification regime
Article VII covers national implementation of the Convention and requires each State Party to enact implementing legislation at the national level
Article VIII establishes the OPCW as the implementing body of the Convention
Article IX provides for the consultation and clarification if concerns about possible non-compliance arise
Article X provides for assistance and protection to a State Party if it is attacked or threatened with attack by chemical weapons
Article XI provides international cooperation for the economic and technological development of States Parties
Article XII deals with measures to ensure compliance, including sanctions against a State Party that fails to uphold its treaty obligations
Article XIII deals with the relations with other international treaties
Article XIV deals with the settlement of disputes that may arise concerning the application or the interpretation of the Convention
Article XV deals with the amendments to the Convention
Article XVI deals with the duration of the Convention and the States Parties’ the right to withdraw from the Convention
Article XVII relates to the status of the Convention’s annexes
Article XVIII deals with the signature of the Convention
Article XIX related to the ratification of the Convention
Article XX relates to the accession to the Convention
Article XXI deals with the entry into force of the Convention
Article XXII deals with reservations
Article XXIII relates to the Depositary of the Convention
Article XXIV covers the authenticity of texts
Delineates the three Schedules and shows lists of Toxic Chemicals and their Precursors
Sets out all of the detailed procedures to be followed by the States Parties and by OPCW inspection teams during verification/inspection activities at chemical weapons facilities or sites and industrial facilities
Guarantees the protection of sensitive, national security related information and confidential business information during inspections and when such information is submitted by States Parties to the OPCW