Decision
Addressing the Threat from Chemical Weapons Use

The Fourth Special Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) adopted a decision titled “Addressing the Threat from Chemical Weapons Use” (C-SS-4/DEC.3) dated 27 June 2018.

States Parties condemned “in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances, emphasising that any use of chemical weapons anywhere, at any time, by anyone, under any circumstances is unacceptable and contravenes international norms and standards”. The decision also condemned the use of chemical weapons since 2012 in Iraq, Malaysia, the Syrian Arab Republic, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as well as the use of chemical weapons by State and by non-State actors as a direct threat to the object and purpose of the convention.

The decision expressed support and appreciation for the professional, impartial, and independent work of the Director-General and the Technical Secretariat. It also calls upon the Secretariat to put in place arrangements “to identify the perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic by identifying and reporting on all information potentially relevant to the origin of those chemical weapons in those instances in which the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) determines or has determined that use or likely use occurred, and cases for which the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism has not issued a report”.

The decision also invited the Director-General to submit: proposals to enhance the capacity and tools of the Secretariat to strengthen implementation of the Convention’s verification regime; options for further assistance the Secretariat may provide to States Parties to enable them to implement their obligations under the Convention, to enhance chemical security, and to enable international cooperation in the field of chemical activities for purposes not prohibited under the Convention; and other proposals to strengthen the capability of the Secretariat.

The decision further affirmed that whenever chemical weapons use occurs on the territory of a State Party, “those who were the perpetrators, organisers, sponsors or otherwise involved should be identified” and it underscored “the added value of the Secretariat conducting an independent investigation of an alleged use of chemical weapons with a view to facilitating universal attribution of all chemical weapons attacks”.

The decision requests the Secretariat to preserve and provide information to the investigative mechanism established by the United Nations General Assembly in resolution 71/248 (2016), as well as to any relevant investigatory entities established by the United Nations.

Paragraph 10

Investigation and Identification Team (IIT)

Pursuant to paragraph 10 of C-SS-4/DEC.3, the Secretariat is establishing an Investigation and Identification Team. The IIT is responsible for identifying the perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic by identifying and reporting on all information potentially relevant to the origin of those chemical weapons in those instances in which the FFM determines or has determined that use or likely use occurred, and cases for which the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism has not issued a report.

Paragraph 20

Providing Technical Expertise to States Upon Request

Pursuant to paragraph 20 of C-SS-4/DEC.3, the Conference “[d]ecides that the Director-General, if requested by a State Party investigating a possible chemical weapons use on its territory, can provide technical expertise to identify those who were perpetrators, organisers, sponsors or otherwise involved in the use of chemicals as weapons, and further decides that, in this context, the Director-General may enlist support as appropriate from outside experts with relevant qualifications and professional experience, and invites the Director-General to submit to the Conference at its next regular session specific proposals to establish such independent, impartial, expert arrangements”.

Paragraph 21

Enhancing Capacity, Tools, and Assistance

Pursuant to paragraph 21 of C-SS-4/DEC.3, the Conference invited the Director-General “to submit to the Conference at its next regular session:

  • (a) proposals to enhance the capacity and tools of the Secretariat to strengthen implementation of the Convention verification regime;
  • (b) options for further assistance the Secretariat may provide to States Parties to enable them to implement their obligations under the Convention, to enhance chemical security, and to enable international cooperation in the field of chemical activities for purposes not prohibited under the Convention; and
  • (c) other proposals to strengthen the capability of the Secretariat”.

Help us improve OPCW.org