|A Comparison of Self-Evaluating State Reporting Systems (International Committee of the Red Cross , 1995, 63 p.)|
|CHAPTER 7. DISARMAMENT TREATIES|
There are currently 24 arms control agreements in force, or recently signed; of these, three provide for the establishment of international organizations with the specific aim of verifying compliance with the agreement: the Modified Brussels Treaty of 1954, establishing the Western European Union and the now defunct Arms Control Agency; the Treaty of Tlatelolco establishing OPANAL (Agency for Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America, 1976, known by its Spanish acronym); and the Guadalajara Agreement between Argentina and Brazil establishing the Argentine-Brazilian Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC).
The bilateral (US-USSR) treaties, as well as the multilateral CFE Treaty, opted for a less institutionalized mechanism, namely, the Consultative Commission. The Antarctic Treaty, which should also be mentioned, establishes a Meeting of Contracting Parties.
The vast majority of multilateral agreements, however, do not provide for the establishment of an international organization or mechanism dedicated to verification, though some of the agreements leave open the possibility for creation of such a mechanism, through a clause permitting resort to appropriate international procedures.
There are also treaties, such as the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and the 1925 Geneva Protocol prohibiting the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases and of bacteriological warfare, that have no verification system.
7.3.1 Specialized institutions
The Arms Control Agency (ACA) is now defunct, but some remarks can be made on its functioning. It has been, over the years, a relatively independent and autonomous body, even with regard to the Council of the Western European Union, to which the Agency was directly answerable.
The Agency was always relatively small: in 1971, for instances, it had a staff of 52, including 21 of officer grade, and an annual budget of 3,900,000 BFrs.
The most interesting aspect of the WEU verification scheme lies in the fact that an integrated, international body carried out the verification. Most noteworthy in this respect are its experiences in the fields of data exchange and of random inspections.
Since 1984, when Member States decided to reactivate the WEU and to abolish all conventional controls by 1986, the status of the ACA has become unclear. A Director was supposed to be appointed in 1988, but never was. Apparently the Council annual reports no longer include Agency activities, and the Agency has de facto ceased to exist.
Compared with ACA, the OPANAL is far more institutionalized and autonomous (integrated). The fact-finding methods at its disposal to verify compliance include:
- semi-annual reports by the parties incorporating statements that no activity prohibited under the Treaty has occurred:
- special reports by the parties which may be requested by the General Secretary with the authorization of the Council;
- special reports or studies by the General Conference, the Council or the General Secretary;
- special inspections carried out by the Council;
- routine inspections carried out under a safeguards agreement negotiated by each party with the IAEA.
The legal and political evaluation of facts is left to the General Conference. OPANAL has a very small international staff and an annual budget of $ 316,251. Little is published on the workings of OPANAL, and the proceedings of its General Conference are not widely disseminated. The comprehensiveness - both in terms of functions assigned to it and in terms of procedures and methods it is capable of invoking - as well as the international nature of the organization stand somewhat in contrast to its known activities. The fact that it has not yet had to implement any special procedures, such as inspections or requests for special reports, seems to be a positive sign. Nonetheless, it should not be forgotten that for the major countries of the region the Treaty has not yet entered into force. As in the case of the ACA, political reasons preclude OPANALs fully exercising its theoretically far-reaching powers.
The ABACC has in principle the same form and objective as the OPANAL, but covers only Argentine and Brazil. It is thought that ABACC will eventually become a part of OPANAL.
7.3.2 Other possibilities
There is the Conflict Prevention Centre (CPC), which was established by the Charter of Paris for a New Europe, signed in November 1990. The Centre assists the equally newly-created Council of CSCE Ministers in reducing the risk of conflict and gives support to implementation of the CSBMs, as stipulated in the Vienna Document 1990.
Consultative Commissions, as set up for example as a Joint Consultative Group (JCG) for the multilateral CFE Treaty, are another possibility for verification of compliance with a treaty. In theory, the Commissions have no authority whatsoever with respect to the political and legal evaluation of compliance. Formally, they do not make any decisions in this field. Nevertheless, with the antagonism between the US and the USSR retreating into the background, compliance issues lose their explosive political character, and assessment hence becomes more dependent on objective and technical factors.
In 1990 the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) was adopted, limiting military personnel. Extensive inspections are foreseen in this treaty as a confidence-building measure between former adversaries and as an opportunity to share sophisticated technologies via East-West cooperative inspection teams.39 The States agreed that manpower, weapon systems, weapons and production facilities would be monitored.
39 Sipri Yearbook 1993, World Armaments and Disarmament, 606 ff.
CFE is a multilateral treaty, but it proceeds from East-West logic and thus has naturally followed the bilateral practice in establishing the JCG. The Group, like the other Commissions, has no fact-finding functions nor does it make any judgements concerning compliance; it is a deliberative body. It provides a forum in which parties may meet, discuss questions arising after data collection and analysis, and through which they may clear up ambiguities. Decisions or recommendations are made by consensus, and deliberations are private.
The Meeting of Contracting Parties was established by Article IX of the Antarctic Treaty and has been operative since 1961. It is composed of the original signatories and of those States that have acceded to the Treaty and that demonstrate their interest in Antarctica, by conducting substantial scientific research activity in the region, such as the establishment of a scientific station or the dispatch of a scientific expedition.
Only members of the Meeting are entitled to verify compliance with the Treaty. Verification (i.e., aerial observation and on-site inspections) may be carried out unilaterally or jointly, and possibly also through the Meeting, which is, inter alia, responsible for recommending measures regarding the facilitation of the exercise of rights of inspection provided for in Article VII of the Treaty. The meeting convenes at regular intervals and is also the place where consultations take place and where data are exchanged.
The verification mechanism installed by the Antarctic Treaty (i.e., the Meeting of Contracting Parties) is of a highly discriminatory character and runs counter to the principle that all States have equal rights to participate in verification of the agreement to which they are parties.
Existing international organizations may also involve themselves with the verification of arms-control obligations, as provided for in the different existing agreements, or deriving from their more general mandates in the field of international peace and security. Examples are the United Nations, or regional organizations such as the Organization of American States (OAS), the Organization of African Unity (OAU), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), or organizations which have a specific technical or legal mandate, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ), whose authority is usually confined to technical assistance or fact-finding missions. Organizations in the first category may also derive their authority to intervene from their statutes.
Numerous proposals exist to establish organizations dedicated to non-treaty-specific verification or monitoring. Since they are not related to any specific agreement, they can exercise monitoring functions only by gathering data. No such body has yet been established or is likely to be set up in the near future.40
40 See note 35.