THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 19 October 2017 — The Eighty-Sixth Session of the Executive Council (EC) of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) adopted on 13 October a decision to address the threat posed by the use of chemical weapons by non-State actors. In this decision, the Executive Council emphasised that any use of chemical weapons anywhere, at any time, by anyone, under any circumstances is unacceptable. The Council expressed concern about non-State actors’ continued interest in the development, acquisition and use of chemical weapons, and the potential for this threat to increase over time. The Council underscored the role of the OPCW in preventing and responding to this threat.
The decision makes clear the fundamental importance of national implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention in responding to the threat of non-State actors, urging all States Parties—that have not yet done so—to enact comprehensive penal legislation criminalising any activity prohibited by the Convention. The decision also emphasises the importance of all States Parties adopting the necessary measures to ensure that toxic chemicals and their precursors are not used for purposes prohibited by the Convention. The OPCW Technical Secretariat was requested to examine how it can help States Parties in investigating and prosecuting non-State actors for Convention-related crimes and in countering chemical terrorism, and to enhance its capacity-building programmes on chemical safety and security.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW oversees the global endeavour to permanently and verifiably eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997 – and with its 192 States Parties – it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
Over 96 per cent of all chemical weapon stockpiles declared by possessor States have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Prize for Peace.