Practice Relating to Rule 73. Biological Weapons
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) states: “The [1925 Geneva Gas Protocol] prohibits the use … of bacteriological methods of warfare.”
The manual also includes “using bacteriological methods of warfare” in a list of “war crimes recognised by the customary law of armed conflict”.
New Zealand’s Disarmament Act (1987) provides: “No person shall manufacture, station, acquire, or possess, or have control over any biological weapon in the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone.”
At the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention in 1980, the representative of New Zealand stated: “Since New Zealand possessed none of the weapons or delivery systems referred to in article I of the [1972 Biological Weapons Convention], his Government had not considered it necessary to enact any special legislation prohibiting the activities in question”.
At the Fourth Review Conference of States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention in 1996, New Zealand stressed that it was “strongly committed to the [Biological Weapons Convention]”. Moreover, it stated that it was very conscious that
biological weapons pose as great a threat to humanity as nuclear weapons. But they are much easier to manufacture and conceal. For that reason States Parties to the Convention have a major responsibility to strengthen the Convention and establish a mechanism to ensure that the Parties to the Convention comply with its prohibition.