Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of
Practice Relating to Rule 73. Biological Weapons
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’s Military Manual (1988) prohibits the use of bacteriological (biological) means of warfare.
Under the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’s Penal Code (1976), as amended in 2001, the use of, or the order to use, “means or methods of combat prohibited under the rules of international law, during a war or an armed conflict” is a war crime.
The commentary on the Code adds: “The following weapons and means of combat are considered to be prohibited: … bacteriological agents.”
In 1970, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia informed the First Committee of the UN General Assembly “of the decision of the Yugoslav Government on a unilateral renunciation of biological weapons”.
At the CDDH, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia voted in favour of the Philippine amendment (see supra). When the amendment was rejected it stated that it
deeply regrets that the use of unlawful methods or means of combat was not included in the grave breaches, particularly since to have done so would merely have been to have codified an already existing rule of customary law, because there can be no doubt that to use prohibited weapons or unlawful methods of making war is already to act unlawfully, that is, it is a war crime punishable by existing international law.
In the preliminary stages of the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention in 1980, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia stated:
The Government of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia strictly adheres to and fulfils the obligations regarding the prohibition of the development, production and stockpiling of bacteriological (biological) weapons, as set forth in articles I, II, IV, V and X of the [1972 Biological Weapons Convention]. The Government of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia further declares that it has never possessed biological weapons.