All States Parties are required under Article VII, paragraph 1, of the Chemical Weapons Convention, to adopt the necessary measures to implement the CWC (including the enactment of penal legislation) and to inform the OPCW of the legislative and administrative measures it has taken.
It has become generally apparent that, regardless of the State Party’s legal system (that is, monist or dualist), national implementing legislation is necessary to, inter alia, compel the submission of the information needed for an accurate national declaration and for export/import controls under the CWC. Experience in implementing the Convention since its entry into force in 1997 has shown that comprehensive implementing legislation is the State Party’s key to:
- obtaining reliable, complete information from the chemical industry on activities declarable under the CWC;
- prosecuting violations of Convention norms, including terrorist activity involving the use of toxic chemicals; and
- international cooperation and assistance in enforcing CWC norms.
The format and extent of the legislation will be dependent upon the State Party’s legal system, the extensiveness of its declarable chemical industry, and whether it possesses chemical weapons. In particular, it is highly recommended that States Parties possessing chemical weapons adopt all measures necessary for ensuring that the weapons are stored securely and destroyed safely.
In this section:
Legal Technical Assistance
In May 2000, the OPCW Conference of the States Parties “encouraged States Parties that are in a position to do so, to offer assistance to States drafting national legislation to implement the Convention, either bilaterally or through the Organisation.” In response to the encouragement by the First Review Conference in May 2003, bilateral legal technical assistance by States Parties or jointly with the Technical Secretariat has increased. The Action Plan on the Implementation of Article VII Obligations, adopted by the Conference in October 2003, has provided a framework and timeframe in this respect.
The Implementation Support Branch of the OPCW Technical Secretariat has an established programme of legal technical assistance. Examples of comprehensive legislation, models and explanatory documentation are available on this website. States Parties wishing to receive advice on legislation under preparation frequently submit their drafts for comment. Resources permitting, technical assistance visits can be made to OPCW Headquarters by legislative drafters seeking advice. Additionally, legal experts from States Parties and/or the Technical Secretariat routinely assist States Parties on-site upon request. The assistance delivered will be tailored to fit the State Party’s needs and request.