Practice Relating to Rule 75. Riot Control Agents
Under Hungary’s Criminal Code (1978), as amended in 1998, employing “chemical weapons and chemical instruments of war” as defined in Article II(1) and (7) of the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention is a war crime.
In 1966, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Hungary stated:
34. … It was sometimes argued that the Geneva [Gas] Protocol referred to circumstances existing in 1925, and not to the present situation when new types of gases, including comparatively harmless riot-control agents, had been invented. But practising riot control and conducting warfare were two distinctly different problems. The former fell within the domestic jurisdiction of each State, whereas the latter was governed by international law.
35. The gases being used in Viet-Nam were intended to undermine morale, destroy health, spread disease and create starvation. They were being used mainly in populated areas where they were likely to affect more people, and more civilians than soldiers. It had been asserted that able-bodied persons could recover quickly from the effects of the gases. But for elderly and sick people, pregnant women and children, the effects were very grave and sometimes fatal. Indeed, the use of such mass weapons verged upon genocide …
36. The hollow pretexts given for using riot-control gases in Viet-Nam had been rejected by world public opinion and by the international scientific community, including scholars in the United States itself. Weapons of that kind … were difficult to control and might affect those who were using them, as well as those against whom they were used.