The Laws of Armed Conflicts: A Collection of Conventions, Resolutions, and Other Documents

By Dietrich Schindler; Jiri Toman | Go to book overview

No. 15
QUESTIONS OF CHEMICAL AND
BACTERIOLOGICAL (BIOLOGICAL) WEAPONS
Resolution 2603 A (XXIV) of the United Nations General Assembly adopted on 16 December 1969INTRODUCTORY NOTE: The growing concern with the use of chemical and bacteriological (biological) weapons, including riot gases and herbicides, in recent armed conflicts induced the United Nations General Assembly to adopt a series of resolutions, of which the first dates from 1966, calling for strict observance by all states of the principles and objectives of the Geneva Protocol of 1925. In 1968, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to appoint a group of experts to study the effects of chemical and bacteriological (biological) weapons (resolution 2454 A (XXIII)). In submitting the experts' report in July 1969, the Secretary-General recommended the members of the United Nations, inter alia, “to make a clear affirmation that the prohibition contained in the Geneva Protocol applies to the use in war of all chemical, bacteriological and biological agents (including tear gases and other harassing agents) which now exist or which may be developed in the future” (UN Doc. N7575). Following this recommendation the General Assembly adopted the resolution reprinted below interpreting the Geneva Protocol of 1925. The resolution has, however, never been recited in the numerous resolutions adopted by the General Assembly in later years on the question of chemical and bacteriological (biological) weapons. This hints at a certain reserve existing in regard to it.AUTHENTIC TEXTS: Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.TEXT PUBLISHED IN: Resolutions adopted by the General Assembly during its Twenty-fourth session, 16 September - 17 December 1969. General Assembly Official Records: Twenty-fourth session Supplement No. 30 (N7630), New York, United Nations, 1970, p. 16 (Engl. - see also the Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish editions); Droits des conflits armés, pp. 141-43 (French).The General Assembly,Considering that chemical and biological methods of warfare have always been viewed with horror and been justly condemned by the international community,Considering that these methods of warfare are inherently reprehensible because their effects are often uncontrollable and unpredictable and may be injurious without distinction to combatants and non-combatants and because any use of such methods would entail a serious risk of escalation.Recalling that successive international instruments have prohibited or sought to prevent the use of such methods of warfare,Noting specifically in this regard that:
(a) The majority of States then in existence adhered to the Protocol For the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, signed at Geneva on 17 June 1925,

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