Practice Relating to Rule 73. Biological Weapons
According to the Report on the Practice of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe’s practice in international fora shows that it believes that the prohibition of the use of biological weapons is customary.
In 2009, during the opening session of the seventh parliament of Zimbabwe, the President of Zimbabwe stated:
The provisions of the [1972 Biological Weapons] Convention are consistent with the Geneva Conventions of 1949, which Zimbabwe has acceded to and incorporated into her domestic law. The Bacteriological [i.e. Biological] Weapons Convention will therefore be incorporated into national legislation during this session.
In 2014, in a speech on the occasion of a workshop on the Biological and Toxin Weapons Crimes Bill, the Director of Procurement, Research and Administration in Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Defence stated:
As some of you may be aware, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Bill falls into the category of [c]hemical disarm[a]ment legislation that seeks to criminalise and prohibit the use of harmful chemicals and toxins in warfare. The bill seeks to protect the society from the indiscriminate effects of biological and toxin weapons in the event of armed conflict. You are aware, ladies and gentlemen[,] that once these biological and toxin weapons are unleashed, they don’t discriminate between a combatant and an innocent civilian and this is undesirable. It is our duty as Government to protect our people and as such we do not want our people to become victims of such atrocious substances.
This Bill seeks to domesticate the provisions of two treaties which Zimbabwe signed and ratified[,] namely the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction of 1972 … and the Geneva Protocol [for] the Prohibition of the Use [in War] of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare (Geneva Protocol 1925).
It would be folly for us as Government to seek to develop our economy and allow our people to perish through the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction such as Biological and Toxin Weapons … Such economic development will be useless for as long as our people remain vulnerable to the use of such weapons in the event of armed conflict in this country. It is therefore pertinent that as we deliberate on this proposed bill, we have this at the back of our minds. We have to weigh the pros and cons of adopting this kind of legislation.