THE HAGUE, Netherlands–4 November 2020–The Commission for the Settlement of Disputes Related to Confidentiality elected Professor Ioannis A. Seimenis of Greece as its new Chairperson during its annual meeting, held online from 3–4 November. The event was facilitated from the Headquarters of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague.
OPCW Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, delivered the opening speech in which he commended the Commission for overcoming challenges to holding the meeting virtually, including the provision of simultaneous interpretation. The Director-General then underlined that the OPCW Technical Secretariat maintains “a stringent regime governing the handling of confidential information”. He added: “Our confidentiality-related procedures assure State Parties that the information they provide is fully protected at all times, in line with the Chemical Weapons Convention. In case of breaches or alleged breaches of confidentiality, the necessary procedures are in place to determine their cause and impacts.” The Director-General concluded by stating that with members’ substantial collective legal, diplomatic and disarmament experience, the Confidentiality Commission remains well equipped to fulfil its responsibilities.
In addition to electing a new Chair, delegates to the Commission’s 22nd annual meeting also reviewed its procedures in light of the current global pandemic.
Ioannis A. Seimenis is Professor of International Relations and Sciences and Dean of the School of Humanities, University of the Aegean, Rhodes, Greece. He was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the State Institute of the Law of the Sea, Ministry of Justice. He received the 2010 Annual International Prize “Excellence in the Mediterranean” from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, Rabat, Morocco.
Since 2003, Professor Seimenis has served as the Secretary-General of the National Authority for Chemical Weapons of Greece.
The Commission for the Settlement of Disputes Related to Confidentiality is a subsidiary organ of the Conference of the States Parties (CSP) to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The Confidentiality Commission is authorised to consider disputes relating to breaches of confidentiality involving State Parties and the OPCW.
The Commission has 20 members who are appointed by the Conference of the States Parties for a term of two years and are proposed by OPCW’s five regional groups: Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Western European and Other States. The Chair is elected by consensus from among the members of the Confidentiality Commission and serves a one-year term.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 Member States, 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 declared chemical weapon stockpiles have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.