Practice Relating to Rule 74. Chemical Weapons
Italy’s IHL Manual (1991) states: “The use … of asphyxiating, toxic or similar gases … is forbidden in conformity with the international provisions in force.”
Italy’s Law of War Decree (1938), as amended in 1992, in an article dealing with “Bacteriological and chemical means”, provides: “The use … of asphyxiating, toxic or similar gases … is forbidden in conformity with the international provisions in force.”
Italy’s Law on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (1995) provides:
Production, transfer or receipt, directly or indirectly, acquisition, import, export, transit, retention and use – with the exception of the cases referred to in comma 2 – of the chemicals listed in Schedule 1 of the Annex on Chemicals to the Convention, as well as of any other chemical product which might be exclusively employed for the production of chemical weapons, are prohibited.
Italy is said to have used gas in the war against Abyssinia.
Representatives of Abyssinia complained repeatedly to the Council of the League of Nations about alleged use of gas by the Italian army, and on 30 June 1936, the Emperor of Abyssinia himself protested against and denounced the use of gas by the Italian army before the League of Nations.
The League condemned the use of gas and imposed sanctions against Italy.
In 1966, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Italy supported the principle that international law prohibits the use of chemical weapons as a result of the 1925 Geneva Gas Protocol, but expressed reservations about the resolution’s bias against the West.
At the CDDH, Italy abstained in the vote on the Philippine amendment (see infra
) stating: “It would not be useful because it dealt with means and methods of warfare which were already prohibited by the existing law.”
In 1987, during a debate in the UN Security Council, Italy called the prohibition of chemical weapons “a great and precious accomplishment of our civilization”.
In 1987, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Italy stated that it was committed to a global ban on chemical weapons.
In 1990, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Italy stated on behalf of the European Community, that it supported “the goal of a total chemical-weapons ban”.