Practice Relating to Rule 73. Biological Weapons
In 1968, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Sweden advocated a process leading to a total prohibition of the use, production and stockpiling of biological weapons.
In 1970, during a debate in the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly, Sweden stated: “The rationale for a comprehensive ban on biological weapons in international armed conflicts would seem to be equally valid in internal armed conflicts. At all events, there should be no hesitation in imposing a complete ban in internal conflicts.”
In 1974, during discussions in the Ad Hoc Committee on Conventional Weapons established by the CDDH, Sweden stated: “All weapons could be used indiscriminately, but some were incapable of being directed at military objectives alone. One example was bacteriological weapons: germs could not distinguish between soldiers and civilians.”
In the preliminary stages of the First Review Conference of States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention in 1980, Sweden stated:
In 1970 the Swedish Government declared that Sweden does not possess and does not intend to acquire biological … weapons. National investigations in 1974 showed that no ongoing activity violated the provisions of the [1972 Biological Weapons Convention] …
… The prohibition of the development and production of biological and toxin weapons is covered by national Swedish legislation passed in 1935 on the control of production of war materials according to which no such production may take place without the Government’s permission. The provisions of the Convention concerning stockpiling, acquisition and possession of these weapons have not resulted in any special legislation. The provisions may, as necessary, be enforced in accordance with national legislation of 1974 on the handling of dangerous goods.
In 1991, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Sweden urged States to withdraw reservations to the 1925 Geneva Gas Protocol in order to make “it possible finally to exclude the possibility that biological weapons may be used in the future”.