Chemical incapacitants: an acute case of fragmentation of international law?

David Fidler raised an important point in discussing the ‘slippery slope ambiguity’ concerning the potential use of novel toxic chemicals for law enforcement purposes and lack of consensus among states to make a prohibition on such a development as comprehensive as possible.

There is a confluence of different types of discussion in the in the debate on incapacitating agents. The licitness of incapacitating agents falls between three specialised areas of law, namely:

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Welcoming Dr. Jean-Pascal Zanders to Arms Control Law!

I’m extremely pleased to welcome Dr. Jean-Pascal Zanders as the newest permanent contributor to ACL!  Jean-Pascal is a Senior Research Fellow at the European Union Institute for Security Studies, and is a well established expert on chemical and biological nonproliferation/disarmament regimes and related diplomacy. In addition to email communication, Jean-Pascal and I had a very stimulating conversation over dinner in Paris recently, and I know that he will bring a wealth of insight and expert analysis to the blog.  So welcome, Jean-Pascal!

Here’s a couple of paragraphs from his bio at the EUISS webpage:

Jean Pascal, Senior Research Fellow, has been at the EUISS since June 2008. His research areas cover armament, disarmament and non-proliferation of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons, as well as space policy. He was Project Leader of the Chemical and Biological Warfare Project at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) from October 1996 until August 2003 and Director of the Geneva-based BioWeapons Prevention Project (BWPP) from April 2003 until May 2006. He holds Masters Degrees in Germanic Philology-Linguistics (1980) and Political Sciences (1992) and a PhD in Political Sciences (1996) from the Free University of Brussels.

He has published extensively on chemical and biological weapon issues in English, Dutch and French since 1986. His most recent publications with the EUISS are: (with Kathryn Nixdorff) Enforcing non-proliferation: the European Union and the 2006 BTWC Review Conference, Chaillot Paper no. 93 (November 2006), (editor) Nuclear weapons after the 2010 NPT Review Conference, Chaillot Paper no. 120 (April 2010), and A new farewell to arms: viewing disarmament in a new security environment, Policy Brief no. 6 (December 2010). He is currently researching the internal dynamics of a terrorist or criminal entity seeking to acquire a chemical or biological weapons capability, the meaning of disarmament in the current security context, and running a project on the longer-term future of the Chemical and Biological and Toxin Weapons Conventions. He also coordinates the pillar of ‘Core Issues’ (which includes, inter alia, CBRN disarmament and non-proliferation) in the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System, Pilot Study 2011, a 2010–2030 foresight exercise by the European Union.

Why the WTO is not an Appropriate Venue for Addressing Economic Cyber Espionage

Using the WTO to Respond to Economic Cyber Espionage?

US policy concerns about cyber espionage continue to grow, especially traditional and economic espionage allegedly conducted by China against the US and US companies through cyber technologies. Today (February 11), the Washington Post reported on a new National Intelligence Estimate focused on a “massive cyber-espionage campaign” directed at the US private sector by China. Concerns about economic cyber espionage include deepening frustration because the options available to the US to address cyber espionage are few, and the use of the limited options, such as criminalizing economic espionage in national law, have not proved much of a deterrent before or after spies began exploiting the Internet.

In the debate about how to counteract economic cyber espionage, cybersecurity heavyweights are encouraging the US to use the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its rules on intellectual property in the Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to address economic cyber espionage. On February 7, 2013, Richard Clarke argued in an op-ed that “victims of Chinese economic espionage should seek to establish clear guidelines and penalties within the World Trade Organization system[.]” In a Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) report released on February 8, 2013, James Lewis argued that the US should use the WTO in its strategy against Chinese economic cyber espionage (see pages 49-51 of the report).

The recent appearance of these WTO arguments by Clarke and Lewis suggests that these influential experts perceive policy traction with these proposals is possible. Indeed, the Washington Post reported in its February 11 story that the Obama administration is considering, among other options, making “complaints to the World Trade Organization.” However, the idea that the WTO can prove useful to the US in addressing economic cyber espionage is not convincing legally or politically. The US should not view the WTO and TRIPS as appropriate venues for confronting the problem of economic cyber espionage.

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ISIS Encourages the IAEA to Use Unauthenticated Evidence in its Reports on Iran

Friend of ACL Professor Yousaf Butt, and Dr. Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress, both highly qualified physicists, have just published an insightful new analysis of information which appears to have formed part of the evidence on which the IAEA has relied in its continuing determination of Iran’s noncompliance with its safeguards agreement.

This is important stuff, as it goes directly to the heart of evidentiary provenance and reliability, the IAEA’s practices of evidence gathering and assessment, and thus to the reliability and credibility of IAEA reports and legal determinations regarding Iran and potentially other countries.

I highly recommend that you read this. It makes the issues clear even for non-technical types like me.