Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 May 2016
International concern with the ability of the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention to fulfill its purpose induced the treaty parties to explore the means to promote compliance with the treaty and to detect noncompliance. In September 1995, the Conference on Disarmament hosted a Special Conference to discuss the findings of the ad hoc group of governmental experts to identify and examine potential verification measures from a scientific and technical standpoint. This article analyzes the work of the Special Conference and the most contentious issues raised there, especially (1) objective criteria for permitted and prohibited activities; (2) the concept of a threshold quantity of agent; (3) technical assistance to States Parties; (4) export controls; (5) the use of a list of agents and toxins for facility declarations; (6) on-site measures to promote compliance; (7) the intrusiveness of these measures; and (8) the protection of sensitive information. Ultimately, the conference delegates endorsed a legally binding protocol to strengthen the treaty. The article concludes with a discussion of the trade-offs necessary to achieve consensus on such a protocol.
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