• The use of incapacitating chemical agent weapons in law enforcement

      Crowley, Michael J.A.; Dando, Malcolm R. (2015)
      This article explores the implications for human rights and human security arising from the development and use of weapons employing certain toxic chemicals, termed incapacitating chemical agents (ICAs), ostensibly intended for law enforcement operations. Publicly accessible information clearly indicates that China, Israel and the Russian Federation have acquired or developed ICA weapons, and that such weapons are either in the possession, or have been used by law enforcement or security services, of those countries since the coming into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 1997. Although there is evidence of potentially applicable dual-use research in additional states, the full nature and purpose of such research, in certain states, is unclear as are the intended applications to which it will be put. Following a survey of state practice, existing obligations upon states derived from relevant international law are examined, specifically the CWC and applicable human rights instruments. Whilst existing international law certainly severely constrains and arguably prohibits the development, acquisition and use of such weapons for law enforcement, there are areas of contested interpretation, which need to be urgently addressed by the international community.