From the verification of chemical weapons destruction to attribution of their use – Article on shifting focus of the CW prohibition regime by Alexander Kelle

In “The CWC at 25: from verification of chemical-weapons destruction to attribution of their use” in the Nonproliferation Review, Dr Alexander Kelle, CBWNet project coordinator at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH), analyses the shift in the focus of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) from the verification of destruction of declared chemical weapon stockpiles to the attribution of chemical weapon use over the first 25 years of the Convention’s implementation. The article highlights the repeated use of chemical weapons by Syria as a critical juncture in the regime's evolution, leading to the creation of a new attribution norm under the CWC. Calls for accountability for the use of so-called Novichok nerve agents constitute the first manifestation of this new norm. The article also outlines steps that CWC states parties should take at the upcoming Fifth CWC Review Conference to prepare the CW-prohibition regime for the future.
The Nonproliferation Review article is available in open access here.