Practice Relating to Rule 74. Chemical Weapons
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (1973), as amended in 1978, provides:
Any person who uses war instruments or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or the general rules of international law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. a fine, lenient imprisonment or up to 12 years’ imprisonment].
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (2005) provides:
Any person who deliberately uses war means [“krigsmiddel”] or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or international customary law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. imprisonment up to life imprisonment].
Denmark’s Executive Order on Weapons and Ammunition (1995) prohibits the importation, development, production, consumption, stockpiling, selling, exportation or possession of chemical weapons.
Denmark’s Weapons and Explosives Act (2009), as amended to 2012, states: “It is prohibited to import, export, transport, purchase, transfer, possess, carry, use, manufacture, develop or to develop research into chemical … weapons and delivery systems specifically designed or modified for such weapons”.
In 1969, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly on the question of chemical and bacteriological (biological) weapons, the representative of Denmark, with respect to UN General Assembly Resolution 2603 (XXIV), stated:
154. My delegation abstained in the vote on the draft resolution [on chemical and bacteriological (biological) weapons under discussion] on legal grounds. We cannot accept the concept on which the resolution is based, namely, that there exist generally recognized rules of international law according to which the prohibition in the 1925 Geneva [Gas] Protocol is total. Such a concept implies that there is a general, long-standing, well-established practice, as well as a legal conviction, that the resulting conduct manifested by action or inaction is legally binding; that is to say, there exists an opinio juris. Today’s vote has proved that this is not the case …
155. Having said this, I wish to add that my Government is generally in favour of making the prohibition against chemical and bacteriological weapons as comprehensive as possible.
In 1987, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Denmark condemned on behalf of the European Community, the use of chemical weapons in the Iran–Iraq War and chemical attacks against the civilian population.
In 1988, during a debate in the UN General Assembly, Denmark stated:
Many have been the calls over the years for a ban on chemical weapons. We appreciate the progress made at the Conference on Disarmament. The abhorrent use of chemical weapons has made even more urgent the task of reaching agreement on a global convention prohibiting such weapons. All sides must take an active part in the negotiations toward this end. Denmark has signed the 1925 [Geneva Gas] Protocol without conditions. We do not have any chemical weapons. We do not want any. This has always been our policy and we have declared it openly. It would be a sign of confidence and an important political signal if all countries declared their policy towards chemical weapons and whether or not they possessed those weapons.
In 1989, Denmark 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”.