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”.

Progress in the Implementation of Decision C-SS-4/DEC.3

Document Symbol Title Date
EC‑97/DG.13 Report by the Director-General: Progress in the Implementation of Decision C-SS-4/DEC.3 on Addressing the Threat from Chemical Weapons Use 22 June 2021
EC‑96/DG.14 Report by the Director-General: Progress in the Implementation of Decision C-SS-4/DEC.3 on Addressing the Threat from Chemical Weapons Use 25 February 2021
EC‑95/DG.16 Note by the Director-General: Financial Status of the Special Fund for IT Infrastructure To Support Implementation of Decision C-SS-4/DEC.3 22 September 2020
EC‑95/DG.15 Report by the Director-General: Progress in the Implementation of Decision C-SS-4/DEC.3 on Addressing the Threat from Chemical Weapons Use 21 September 2020
EC‑94/DG.17 Report by the Director-General: Progress in the Implementation of Decision C-SS-4/DEC.3 on Addressing the Threat from Chemical Weapons Use 1 July 2020
EC‑93/DG.11 Report by the Director-General: Progress in the Implementation of Decision C-SS-4/DEC.3 on Addressing the Threat from Chemical Weapons Use 24 February 2020
EC‑92/DG.26/Corr.1 Progress in the Implementation of Decision C-SS-4/DEC.3 on Addressing the Threat from Chemical Weapons Use - Corrigendum 4 October 2019
EC‑92/S/8 Work of the Investigation and Identification Team Established by Decision C-SS-4/DEC.3 (Dated 27 June 2018) 3 October 2019
EC‑92/DG.26 Progress in the Implementation of Decision C-SS-4/DEC.3 on Addressing the Threat from Chemical Weapons Use 27 September 2019
EC‑91/DG.20 Report by the Director-General: Progress in the Implementation of Decision C-SS-4/DEC.3 on Addressing the Threat from Chemical Weapons Use 1 July 2019
EC‑91/S/3 Work of the Investigation and Identification Team Established by Decision C-SS-4/DEC.3 (Dated 27 June 2018) 28 June 2019
EC‑90/DG.14 Progress in the Implementation of Decision C-SS-4/DEC.3 on Addressing the Threat from Chemical Weapons Use 7 March 2019
C‑23/DG.16 RC‑4/DG.4 Note by the Director-General: Report on Proposals and Options Pursuant to Paragraph 21 of Decision C-SS-4/DEC.3, dated 27 June 2018, on Addressing the Threat from Chemical Weapons Use 15 November 2018
EC‑89/DG.29 Progress in the Implementation of Decision C-SS-4/DEC.3 on Addressing the Threat from Chemical Weapons Use 4 October 2018
EC‑89/DG.2 Initial Implementation of Decision C-SS-4/DEC.3 on Addressing the Threat from Chemical Weapons Use 27 July 2018

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