The Chemical Weapons Convention: Old Goals, New Implementation

Dr. Alexander Kelle

In his new article in Nonproliferation Review, Dr. Alexander Kelle analyzes the shifting focus in the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which has been in existence for 25 years. The regime originally had the primary task of verifying the destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles. Over time, the focus has shifted to attributing and outlawing illicit chemical weapons use.
In particular, in recent years, chemical weapons use in Syria revealed the weaknesses and shortcomings of the international agreement. As a consequence, a new attribution norm was created under the CWC. The call for accountability, particularly for the use of the so-called Novichok nerve agents, says Alexander Kelle, is the first consequence of this new norm. The article also outlines steps that CWC states parties should take at the upcoming Fifth Review Conference to prepare the international CW-prohibition regime for future security challenges.

You can find the open access article "The CWC at 25: from verification of chemical-weapons destruction to attribution of their use" here.