Practice Relating to Rule 74. Chemical Weapons
Sweden’s Penal Code (1962), as amended in 1998, provides:
A person who:
1.develops, produces or by other means acquires, stores or holds chemical weapons or directly or indirectly transfers chemical weapons to another person,
2.uses chemical weapons,
3.participates in military preparations for the use of chemical weapons,
… shall be sentenced, if the act is not regarded as a war crime against international law, for unlawful handling of chemical weapons
[emphasis in original]
In 1968, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Sweden proposed that the UN begin a process leading to a total prohibition of the use, production and stockpiling of chemical weapons.
In 1969, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly on the question of chemical and bacteriological (biological) weapons and on what was to become Resolution 2603 (XXIV), Sweden agreed that “there should be a total ban on the use of chemical and biological weapons”.
In 1970, during a debate in the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly, Sweden stated that: The rationale for a comprehensive ban on chemical weapons in international armed conflicts would seem to be equally valid in internal armed conflicts. At all events, there should be no hesitation in imposing a complete ban, in internal conflicts.”
In 1971, during a debate in the Fourth Committee of the UN General Assembly, Sweden stated that the use of chemical weapons was “contrary to the generally recognized rules of international law as embodied in the Geneva Protocol of 17 June 1925”.
In 1988, in a statement before the Fifteenth Special Session of the UN General Assembly, Sweden stated:
89. The large-scale use of chemical weapons against the city of Halabja was a flagrant violation of the 1925 Geneva [Gas] Protocol and of customary international law prohibiting the use of chemical weapons. Such attacks must be universally condemned.
90. … The early conclusion of a convention which bans the production, storing and use of all chemical weapons should now be a high priority. All States should commit themselves to adhere to this treaty, thus eliminating the growing threat from chemical weapons.
In 1989, Sweden co-sponsored a draft resolution in the UN Commission on Human Rights which expressed “grave concern about reports of killing of unarmed Kurdish civilians, in particular by military attacks during 1988 using, inter alia, chemical weapons and causing mass exodus to neighbouring countries”.
At the First Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997, Sweden emphasized the importance of the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention and stated its commitment and its determination to contribute actively to the realization of the Convention’s aims.