OPCW Issues Report on Technical Assistance Requested by Germany

6 October 2020

THE HAGUE, Netherlands—6 October 2020—The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) transmitted yesterday to the Federal Republic of Germany the report of the OPCW’s mission to provide requested technical assistance in regard to the poisoning of Mr Alexei Navalny, on 20 August 2020.

The results of the analysis by the OPCW designated laboratories of biomedical samples collected by the OPCW team and shared with the Federal Republic of Germany confirm that the biomarkers of the cholinesterase inhibitor found in Mr Navalny’s blood and urine samples have similar structural characteristics as the toxic chemicals belonging to schedules 1.A.14 and 1.A.15 that were added to the Annex on Chemicals to the Convention during the Twenty-Fourth Session of the Conference of the States Parties in November 2019. This cholinesterase inhibitor is not listed in the Annex on Chemicals to the Convention.

The Permanent Representation of Germany to the OPCW requested that the Technical Secretariat share the summary of this report with all States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention and make it publicly available.

The Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, thanked the OPCW designated laboratories that supported the technical assistance request for their swift analysis. He further considered that these results constitute a matter of grave concern. States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention have declared the use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances as reprehensible and wholly contrary to the legal norms established by the international community. It is therefore important now for States Parties to uphold the norm they have decided to adhere to more than 25 years ago. He reaffirmed the Secretariat’s readiness to continue assisting them through independent expertise.

Background

The Federal Republic of Germany requested technical assistance from the OPCW Technical Secretariat, under subparagraph 38(e) of Article VIII of the Chemical Weapons Convention, in relation to the alleged poisoning of Mr Alexei Navalny. Article VIII, paragraph 38(e) of the Chemical Weapons Convention states that the Technical Secretariat shall provide technical assistance and technical evaluation to States Parties in the implementation of the provisions of the Convention, including the evaluation of scheduled and unscheduled chemicals.

OPCW experts and designated laboratories are a lynchpin of the Organisation’s verification regime and its capacity to investigate allegations of the use of chemical weapons. OPCW designated laboratories must be able to perform off-site analysis of chemical samples collected during OPCW deployments. They offer the necessary assurance to States Parties that chemical analyses needed to make determinations or to clarify issues related to such allegations are carried out competently, impartially, and with unquestionable results.

As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 Member States, oversees the global endeavour to permanently rid the world of 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 declared chemical weapon stockpiles (over 72,000 metric tonnes of chemical agents) have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.

More Information

Note by the Technical Secretariat: Summary of the Report on Activities Carried Out In Support of a Request for Technical Assistance by Germany (Technical Assistance Visit – TAV/01/20)

Designated Laboratories 

Help us improve OPCW.org