The international community is at a critical juncture in the fight to uphold the international norm against chemical weapons use. Repeated obstruction by some countries at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations have undermined the ability of the international community to hold accountable those who use chemical weapons.
The “International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons,” initiated by France, represents a political commitment by participating countries to hold to account those responsible for the use of chemical weapons. Countering weapons of mass destruction is a priority reflected in the new U.S. National Security Strategy. The Secretary of State’s participation in the January 23, 2018 Partnership launching conference illustrates the importance that the United States places to hold accountable those involved in the use of chemical weapons.
The Partnership supports and complements existing organizations and mechanisms, including the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü’s participation in the launch reinforces this message of support.
Participating States will work together in six core areas, as stated by its Declaration of Principles:
- Collecting, compiling, retaining, and preserving relevant information to support efforts to hold accountable those responsible for the proliferation or use of chemical weapons;
- Facilitating the sharing of such information with Participating States and international or regional organizations, so that those responsible may be brought to justice;
- Using relevant mechanisms to designate individuals, entities, groups, and governments involved in the proliferation or use of chemical weapons for sanctions;
- Publicizing the names of individuals, entities, groups or governments placed under sanctions for their involvement in the proliferation or use of chemical weapons through a dedicated website;
- Strengthening the capacity of Participating States to hold accountable those involved in the use of chemical weapons, including by enhancing States’ legal and operational capabilities to identify and sanction or prosecute individuals involved in the proliferation or use of chemical weapons; and
- Supporting, where appropriate, common positions in existing fora regarding the use of chemical weapons, for example, the OPCW Executive Council and the UN Security Council and General Assembly.
Over 25 countries signed on to the Declaration of Principles on January 23, 2018. Additional countries are welcome to join the Partnership, as long as they agree to the Declaration of Principles and Terms of Reference