Chem/Bio Weapons Control

Preventing Biological Violence

Biological weapons threaten thousands of casualties and unprecedented panic levels. Terrorists have proven that anthrax can be fatally disseminated. A contagious disease can turn terror victims into extended biological weapons, carrying an epidemic virtually anywhere. Yet, in most nations, it is perfectly legal to make a biological weapon - to propagate pathogens and prepare a device for dissemination. Because creating a bioweapon is not illegal, police and other law enforcement personnel are without authority to investigate and interdict such catastrophic preparations. Worse, the resources of assorted international organizations - from Interpol to disarmament agencies - are not coherently deployed to prevent pathogen smuggling or bio-conspiracies.

A systematic strategy for international criminal law enforcement to help prevent biological wrongdoing must be based on the clear assertion that use, possession, production, or movement of pathogens for hostile purposes by anyone is a crime. International organizations should promote eradication of this crime, and States should enact comprehensive penal laws to criminalize misuses of biology before an attack. More specifically, national legislation should limit access to pathogens, enhance border and customs controls to interdict bio-smuggling, authorize surveillance with due regard for civil liberties, and punish bioweapons preparations. Strengthened biosecurity measures should impede diversion of pathogens from facilities or during transport; only properly trained and screened persons should be permitted access to pathogens; and dangerous biological research should be reviewed.

The mission of the IWCC is to advance understanding of bioviolence preventiuon among relevant national officials and international organizations by developing trans-national links with communities that have not traditionally been part of this discussion and to:

  • Undertaking studies of national laws relevant to bioviolence in order to identify gaps and recognize innovative legislative initiatives
  • Drafting papers to address the many complex legal issues raised by bioviolence
  • Developing workshops and education programs for international and national law enforcement officials to raise attention to problems of bioviolence

Program Information

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