ICRC databases on international humanitarian law
Treaties and Documents
1949 Conventions and Additional Protocols, and their Commentaries
Historical Treaties and Documents
Convention on the prohibition of the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and on their destruction, Paris 13 January 1993
State parties (190)
State signatories (2)
The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) prohibits the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and requires the destruction of both chemical weapons production facilities and the weapons themselves.
The CWC strengthens the 1925 Geneva Protocol prohibition on the use of chemical weapons by prohibiting their use "under any circumstances". Chemical weapons are defined broadly as "toxic chemicals and their precursors, except where intended for purposes not prohibited", munitions exclusively designed for the delivery of toxic chemicals and other equipment designed for use with such munitions. A major innovation of the CWC is its intrusive verification regime which requires :
(1) national declarations of data on industrial chemical production;
(2) continuous and routine inspections of treaty-related facilities;
(3) short-notice challenge inspections, intended to resolve concerns about compliance, of any facility on the territory of a State Party.
The CWC also provides for assistance to and protection of States attacked or threatened with chemical weapons, cooperation in the peaceful use of chemicals, restrictions on the transfer of certain chemicals to non-States Parties and sanctions in response to grave violations of its provisions. Destruction of all existing chemical weapons is to take place within ten years of entry into force of the Convention, which requires the deposit of sixty-five instruments of ratification.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), with its seat in the Hague (Kingdom of the Netherlands), is to be established, upon entry into force, to monitor compliance with the CWC. Arrangements for the establishment of the OPCW are the responsibility of the Preparatory Commission for the OPCW, and its Secretariat, created by Signatory States in February 1993. The CWC was negotiated in the Conference on Disarmament (and its predecessor bodies) in Geneva between 1972 and 1992. It was opened for signature in Paris on 13 January 1993.
The technical annexes to this Convention (list of chemicals, verification measures, handling of confidential information, etc.) are available at the
Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Forum of adoption :
Conference of Disarmament and General Assembly of United Nations
In force :
Meetings of forum :
03.09.1992, Paris and 30.11.1992, New York
Number of articles :
Authentic text :
English, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, French, Russian
Doc. CD/CW/WP.400/Rev. 1 (United Nations reference)
Download document(s) :
IHL-87-EN.pdf (109.27 kb)