Related Rule
Australia
Practice Relating to Rule 74. Chemical Weapons
Australia’s Commanders’ Guide (1994) places chemical weapons under the heading “Prohibited weapons” and refers to the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention. 
Australia, Law of Armed Conflict, Commanders’ Guide, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 Supplement 1 – Interim Edition, 7 March 1994, § 305.
The manual defines the use of “certain unlawful weapons and ammunition” as “grave breaches or serious war crimes”. 
Australia, Law of Armed Conflict, Commanders’ Guide, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 Supplement 1 – Interim Edition, 7 March 1994, § 1305(p).
Australia’s Defence Force Manual (1994) provides: “Asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases are prohibited.” 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 410.
The manual adds:
Chemical weapons, which include toxic chemicals and their precursors (those chemicals which can cause death, permanent harm or temporary incapacity to humans or animals) and munitions or devices designed to carry such chemicals, are banned. 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 412.
The manual defines the use of “certain unlawful weapons and ammunition” as “grave breaches or serious war crimes”. 
Australia, Manual on Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Force Publication, Operations Series, ADFP 37 – Interim Edition, 1994, § 1315(p).
Australia’s LOAC Manual (2006) states in its chapter on “Weapons”: “Both chemical and biological weapons are prohibited because they cause unnecessary suffering and may affect the civilian population in an indiscriminate fashion.” 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 4.20.
With respect to the use of gas, the manual states:
Asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases are prohibited. Smoke grenades, smoke ammunition from indirect fire weapons and tank smoke ammunition, all primarily used to conceal position or movement or mask a target are not prohibited. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 4.14.
With respect to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the manual states that, as a party, Australia undertakes:
never under any circumstances:
to develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile or retain chemical weapons, or transfer, directly or indirectly, chemical weapons to anyone;
to use chemical weapons;
to engage in any military preparations to use chemical weapons; and
to assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under the convention. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 4.15.
Australia also subscribes to the definition of chemical weapons contained in Article 2 of the Chemical Weapons Convention. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, § 4.16.
The manual further states:
4.17 Permitted uses of chemicals include industrial, agricultural, research, medical, pharmaceutical or other peaceful purposes; purposes directly related to protection against toxic chemicals and chemical weapons; 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; and law enforcement, including domestic riot control purposes.
4.18 The CWC also requires States Parties to destroy existing chemical weapons and chemical weapons production facilities. It establishes an Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and contains very detailed provisions for verification, including short notice challenge inspections. 
Australia, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 06.4, Australian Defence Headquarters, 11 May 2006, §§ 4.17–4.18.
The LOAC Manual (2006) replaces both the Defence Force Manual (1994) and the Commanders’ Guide (1994).
Australia’s War Crimes Act (1945), considers “any war crime within the meaning of the instrument of appointment of the Board of Inquiry [set up to investigate war crimes committed by enemy subjects]” as a war crime, including the use of deleterious and asphyxiating gases. 
Australia, War Crimes Act, 1945, Section 3.
Australia’s Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Act (1994), provides:
A person must not intentionally or recklessly:
(a) develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile or retain chemical weapons or
(b) transfer, directly or indirectly, chemical weapons to another person; or
(c) use chemical weapons; or
(d) engage in any military preparations to use chemical weapons; or
(e) assist, encourage or induce, in any way, another person to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under the Convention; or
(f) use riot control agents as a method of warfare.
Penalty: imprisonment for life. 
Australia, Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Act, 1994, p. 13, Section 12.
The Act also specifies the purposes which are not prohibited under the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention:
(a) industrial, agricultural, research, medical, pharmaceutical or other peaceful purposes;
(b) protective purposes, namely those purposes directly related to protection against toxic chemicals and to 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. 
Australia, Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Act, 1994, p. 95, Section 9.
In an amendment to that Act on 16 April 2007, taking into account various amendments up to Act 50 of 2007, the word “recklessly” has been removed from the introduction to the prohibition:
A person must not intentionally:
(a) develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile or retain chemical weapons; or
(b) transfer, directly or indirectly, chemical weapons to another person; or
(c) use chemical weapons; or
(d) engage in any military preparations to use chemical weapons; or
(e) assist, encourage or induce, in any way, another person to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under the Convention; or
(f) use riot control agents as a method of warfare.
Penalty: Imprisonment for life. 
Australia, Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Act, 1994, as amended in 2007, taking into account amendments up to Act 50 of 2007, Part 2, § 12, p.10.
The 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, which includes the “Purposes Not Prohibited Under this Convention”, has been incorporated as a Schedule to the Act.
Australia’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act (1995), as amended to 2003, states:
3 Interpretation
Weapons of Mass Destruction program or WMD program means a plan or program for the development, production, acquisition or stockpiling of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons or missiles capable of delivering such weapons.
9 Prohibition on supplying goods for WMD program
(1) If:
(a) a person supplies any goods to another person; and
(b) the first-mentioned person believes or suspects, on reasonable grounds, that the goods will or may be used in a WMD program; and
(c) the supply of the goods is not authorised by a permit or is in contravention of a condition stated in a permit; and
(d) the Minister has not given a written notice to the first-mentioned person under section 12 stating that the Minister has no reason to believe or suspect that the goods will or may be used in a WMD program;
the first-mentioned person is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by imprisonment for not more than 8 years.
10 Prohibition on exporting goods for WMD program
(1) If:
(a) a person exports any non-regulated goods; and
(b) the person believes or suspects, on reasonable grounds, that the goods will or may be used in a WMD program; and
(c) the export of the goods is not authorised by a permit or is in contravention of a condition stated in a permit; and
(d) the Minister has not given a written notice to the person under section 12 stating that the Minister has no reason to believe or suspect that the goods will or may be used in a WMD program;
the person is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by imprisonment for not more than 8 years.
11 Prohibition on providing services for WMD program
(1) If:
(a) a person provides any services to another person; and
(b) the first-mentioned person believes or suspects, on reasonable grounds, that the services will or may assist a WMD program; and
(c) the provision of the services is not authorised by a permit or is in contravention of a condition stated in a permit; and
(d) the Minister has not given a written notice to the first-mentioned person under section 12 stating that the Minister has no reason to believe or suspect that the provision of the services will or may assist a WMD program;
the first-mentioned person is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by imprisonment for not more than 8 years. 
Australia, Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act, 1995, as amended to 2003, §§ 3 and 9–11, pp. 3 and 6–7.
Australia’s Criminal Code Act (1995), as amended to 2007, states with respect to serious war crimes that are committed in the course of an international armed conflict:
War crimeemploying prohibited gases, liquids, materials or devices
A person (the perpetrator) commits an offence if:
(a) the perpetrator employs a gas or other analogous substance or device; and
(b) the gas, substance or device is such that it causes death or serious damage to health in the ordinary course of events through its asphyxiating or toxic properties; and
(c) the perpetrator’s conduct takes place in the context of, and is associated with, an international armed conflict.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 25 years. 
Australia, Criminal Code Act, 1995, as amended to 2007, Chapter 8, § 268.56, p. 337.
Australia’s ICC (Consequential Amendments) Act (2002) incorporates in the Criminal Code the war crimes defined in the 1998 ICC Statute, including “employing prohibited gases, liquids, materials or devices” in international armed conflicts. 
Australia, ICC (Consequential Amendments) Act, 2002, Schedule 1, § 268.56.
In 1966, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Australia supported the principle that international law prohibits the use of chemical weapons as a result of the 1925 Geneva Gas Protocol. 
Australia, Statement before the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, UN Doc. A/C.1/SR.1461, 23 November 1966, p. 202.
In April 1982, in response to a parliamentary question on notice regarding chemical and biological defence research, the Minister for Defence stated: “It is a matter of government policy, stated publicly on a number of occasions, that the development, production or stockpiling of chemical weapons is not undertaken or planned to be undertaken.” 
Australia, House of Representatives, Minister for Defence, Question on Notice: Chemical and Biological Defence Research, Hansard, 21 April 1982.
On 25 March 1988, in response to a Question Without Notice in the Australian Senate in relation to the use of chemical weapons in the Iran–Iraq War, the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade stated:
Australia has repeatedly condemned the use of chemical weapons and stated unequivocally that their use cannot be justified in any circumstances. We share the international community’s concern that violations of the 1925 Geneva [Gas] Protocol constitute a very serious erosion of international norms. 
Australia, Senate, Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Question Without Notice: Iran–Iraq War, Hansard, 25 March 1988.
In 1989, Australia 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”. 
Australia, Draft resolution on the situation of human rights in Iraq, UN Doc. E/CN.4/ 1989/L.82, 3 March 1989, § 2.
In 1995, in a statement in the Senate, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia said that Australia expressly condemned the use of chemical weapons by terrorist groups. 
Australia, Senate, Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, 27 March 1995, Debates, Vol. 170, p. 2107.
In its oral pleadings before the ICJ in the Nuclear Weapons case in 1995, Australia stated:
Given the ever present threat of destruction that is inherently associated with nuclear weapons, and the way in which that threat is now so universally understood, Australia submits the attitude of the international community is that there are some weapons the very existence of which is inconsistent with fundamental general principles of humanity. In the case of weapons of this type, international law does not merely prohibit their threat or use. It prohibits even their acquisition or manufacture and by extension their possession. Such an attitude has been manifested in the case of other weapons of mass destruction. Both the 1972 Biological Weapons and the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention do not merely prohibit the use of biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction, but prevent their very existence … Clearly, this is a strong international statement that the use of such weapons would be contrary to fundamental general principles of humanity. The approach of both conventions indicates a further conviction that the threats posed by certain types of weapons are so grave that they should be eliminated altogether, with their mere possession by a State made unlawful. 
Australia, Oral pleadings before the ICJ, Nuclear Weapons case, 30 October 1995, Verbatim Record CR 95/22, pp. 49–50, §§ 38–40.
At the First Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997, Australia stated that the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention would serve both the international community’s security and economic interests. It added that it hoped that the Chemical Weapons Convention would lead to a world free from the scourge of chemical weapons. 
Australia, Statement at the First Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, The Hague, 6–23 May 1997.