Practice Relating to Rule 74. Chemical Weapons
Uruguay’s Basic Information for the Pre-Deployment of Personnel Involved in UN Stabilization Missions (2014), in a section entitled “What is international humanitarian law?”, states:
In the workshop on pre-deployment, we will show a brief audiovisual presentation as an overview of the topic. It is important to remember that international humanitarian law (IHL) is a set of rules that, for precisely humane reasons, seeks to limit the effects of armed conflicts. It protects people not involved or no longer involved in combat and limits the means and methods of warfare. IHL is often also called “law of war” and “law of armed conflict”.
Although during peacekeeping operations or missions we are not in a traditional war scenario, we are in a place where there are conflicts of another kind and our participation may require us to apply these rules. The United Nations is clear in establishing that peacekeeping personnel are subject to and must respect and enforce the rules of IHL.
9.2 METHODS AND MEANS OF COMBAT
- Prohibition of the use of chemical weapons.
- Prohibition of the use of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases in warfare.
Uruguay’s Law on Cooperation with the ICC (2006) states:
26.2. Persons and objects affected by the war crimes set out in the present provision are persons and objects which international law protects in international or internal armed conflict.
26.3. The following are war crimes:
26. Employing asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and all analogous liquids, materials or devices.
46. Using chemical … or other weapons of mass destruction, irrespective of their nature.
Uruguay’s Law on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (2014) states:
ARTICLE 1 – Any person who produces, acquires, retains, develops, transfers, imports, exports or deals in any capacity or uses in any way chemical weapons, toxic chemicals or their precursors, contained in Schedules 1, 2 and 3 of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction of 13 January 1993, except for purposes not prohibited by that Convention, shall be punished with a penalty of twenty months’ to ten years’ imprisonment.
ARTICLE 2 – For the purposes of this Law:
1) “Chemical weapons” means, together or separately:
A) Toxic chemicals and their precursors, except where intended for purposes not prohibited under the Convention, as long as the types and quantities are consistent with such purposes.
B) Munitions and devices, specifically designed to cause death or other harm through the toxic properties of those toxic chemicals specified in the preceding subparagraph, which would be released as a result of the employment of such munitions and devices.
C) Any equipment specifically designed for use directly in connection with the employment of munitions and devices specified in the preceding subparagraph.
2) “Toxic chemical” means: Any chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm to humans or animals.
3) “Precursor” means: Any chemical reactant which takes part at any stage in the production by whatever method of a toxic chemical. This includes any key component of a binary or multicomponent chemical system.
4) “Purposes not prohibited” means:
A) Industrial, agricultural, research, medical, pharmaceutical or other peaceful purposes.
B) Protection against toxic chemicals and protection against chemical weapons.
C) Military purposes not connected with the use of chemical weapons and not dependent on the use of the toxic properties of chemicals as a method of warfare.
D) Law enforcement including domestic riot control purposes, with chemicals, in accordance with the relevant regulations in force.
At the First Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997, Uruguay 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.
In 2013, in a statement during the Third Special Session of the Conference of States Parties to Review the Operation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (Third Review Conference), the representative of Uruguay stated:
As indicated by the Technical Secretariat [of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] in its last report on the status of implementation of the [1993 Chemical Weapons] Convention, dated 11 July 2012, since the entry into force more than 78.01% of the declared arsenal has been destroyed on a global level under a strict verification regime, as well as 45.5% of the munitions and containers declared under the Convention.
However, as underlined by the last Review Conference, it will not be possible fully to achieve the objectives of the Convention while there remains even one State not Party that possesses or can access chemical weapons. The reality is that there are eight States that remain outside the scope of the Convention.
… Our country, which belongs to academic and scientific networks in Latin America, promotes the use of chemistry for peaceful purposes, in assistance and protection against chemical weapons within the framework of the Convention.
In 2013, Uruguay’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release entitled “Uruguay condemns the use of chemical weapons in Syria and calls for a peaceful resolution of the conflict”, which stated:
The Government of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay once again reiterates its condemnation of the use of violence by the parties to the conflict in Syria …
Uruguay expresses its strongest condemnation of the use of chemical weapons, which constitutes a barbaric act which is contrary to the rules of international humanitarian law and which harms the inalienable rights of the civilian population.
In 2014, Uruguay’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release entitled “Uruguay expresses support for chemical disarmament in Syria”, which stated:
The Government of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay would like to express its satisfaction for the achievement, on 30 June of this year, of the goal set by the Decision of 27 September 2013 of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Executive Council on the removal and subsequent destruction of the chemical stockpile declared by the Syrian Arab Republic last year, upon its accession to the  Chemical Weapons Convention.
Additionally, Uruguay urges all the parties directly involved to complete as soon as possible the studies and negotiations needed to allow the prompt and effective disabling or destruction of the chemical weapons production facilities identified on Syrian territory.
Finally, the Government of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay reiterates again its long-standing commitment to peace, and its support for the multilateral diplomacy actions of the international community in the search for a peaceful solution to the armed conflict in Syria.
In 2014, in a statement during the general debate of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uruguay stated:
We strongly condemn the grave violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as all the violations of international humanitarian law, committed against the civilian population in Syria, particularly those relating to the use of chemical weapons, as well as their devastating impact on the civilian population.