Statement from the OPCW Director-General on Allegations of Chemical Weapons Use Against Alexei Navalny

3 September 2020

THE HAGUE, Netherlands–3 September 2020–In response to the German federal government’s statement about the alleged poisoning of Mr Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent, the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, issued the following statement:

“Under the Chemical Weapons Convention, any poisoning of an individual through the use of a nerve agent is considered a use of chemical weapons. Such an allegation is a matter of grave concern. States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention deem the use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances as reprehensible and wholly contrary to the legal norms established by the international community.

The OPCW continues to monitor the situation and stands ready to engage with and to assist any States Parties that may request its assistance.”

Background

On 27 November 2019, the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention adopted two decisions to amend for the first time the Annex on Chemicals to the Convention. The two decisions adopted reflect proposals that were submitted in the context of an evolving threat from chemical weapons and their recent use, which require the OPCW to continually adjust its ability to respond. Such conditions have led to the need to update the Schedules of the Annex on Chemicals. The first decision was jointly proposed by Canada, the Netherlands, and the United States of America while the second decision was proposed by the Russian Federation. Both decisions call for Technical Changes to Schedule 1 of the Annex on Chemicals to the CWC.

Pursuant to subparagraph 5(g) of Article XV of the Convention, the changes to the Annex on Chemicals entered into force for all States Parties on 7 June 2020, which is 180 days after the Director-General’s notification to States Parties.

As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 Members, oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997, it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction. 

Over 98% 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 Peace Prize.

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