Disarmament and Arms Control Treaties
Disarmament and Arms Control Treaties
Treaty - 1959. The Antarctic Treaty, signed by
12 countries, prohibits nuclear explosions and the disposal
of radioactive wastes on Antarctic, subject to future ageements.
Missile (ABM) Treaty - 1972-2002. The Anti-Ballistic
Missile Treaty was a bilateral agreement between the US and
USSR under which each promise to establish no more than one
ABM site on their national territory. It bans the testing,
development and deployment of sea-, air-, space-, and mobile
land-based systems. The plan for a defensive umbrella over
the entire United States, first proposed under the Reagan
administration, would have violated the treaty; the ballistic
missile defense systems under development would still violate
the treaty, since the plan involves more than one system,
could involved sea-based missiles, and will be shared with
other nations. The US withdrew from the ABM in 2002, despite
enormous national and international objections.
and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) - 1975. The
Biological Weapons Convention entered into force in 1975 and
has over 125 signtories. It builds on the protocols of the
Geneva conventions that banned the use of gas in war. It is
the first treaty to ban an entire category of mass destruction
weapons. However, the BWC has no verification provisions.
Weapons Convention (CWC)
- 1993. The CWC opened for signature in 1993 and entered
into force in April 1997. It has many signatories, including
the US, Russia, and China. It bans the "development,
production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons"
(earlier agreements only banned the use). The treaty contains
an extensive list of banned chemicals and precursors and provides
for an elaborate and intrusive verification regime.
Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) - 1996. The CTBT bans all
nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion,
establishes an extensive International Monitoring System,
and allows for short-notice on-site inspections. It was opened
for signature in 1996, but has not yet entered into force.
Under the terms of the treaty, all forty-four countries with
nuclear power plants must sign and ratify before it enters
on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) - 1983. The
Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain
Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively
Injurious or to Have Indescriminate Effects entered into force
in 1983. The CCW and its five Protocols restrict or prohibit
the use of conventional weapons whose effects are deemed to
be excessively cruel or indiscriminate—weapons that
do not discriminate between legitimate and illegitimate targets.
The Convention itself, described as a chapeau agreement,
contains only general provisions. The Protocols, a series
of optional agreements annexed to the Convention, contain
prohibitions or restrictions on the use of specific weapons
or weapon systems. Protocol I prohibits the use of fragment
weapons made of material that cannot be detected inside the
body; Protocol II restricts the use of mines, booby-traps,
and similar devices; Protocol III restricts the use of incendiary
weapons; Protocol IV prohibits the use and transfer of blinding
laser weapons; and Protocol V provides a framework for the
use and clearance of explosive remnants of war (ERW). In order
to become party to the CCW, states have to accept at least
two of the Protocols.
on Cluster Munitions - 2008. The Convention, which
opened for signature in Oslo in December 2008, bans the use,
production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions
and places obligations on countries to clear affected areas,
assist victims and destroy stockpiles. It is the most significant
treaty of its kind since the ban on anti-personnel landmines
in 1997. Like the Mine Ban Treaty, this treaty is likely to
have a powerful effect in stigmatising cluster bombs, so that
even those countries that do not sign the treaty will not
be able to use them without being subject to international
on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material - 1980.
The Convention, signed in Vienna and in New York on 3 March
1980, entered into force on February eight, 1987. Till date,
there are 70 countries which are participating member States.The
Convention provides a legal basis to physical protection measures
for nuclear material that have been evolved over time by the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It provides a framework
for international cooperation against theft or unauthorised
diversion of nuclear materials and obliges States parties
to ensure physical protection of nuclear material during international
Modification Convention (ENMOD) - 1977. The Convention
on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of
Environmental Modification Techniques attempts to prohibit
military or any other hostile use of environmental modification
techniques. The Convention defines environmental modification
techniques as "changing -- through the deliberate manipulation
of natural processes -- the dynamics, composition or structure
of the earth, including its biota, lithosphere, hydro-sphere,
and atmosphere, or of outer space." Changes in weather
or climate patterns, in ocean currents, or in the state of
the ozone layer or ionosphere, or an upset in the ecological
balance of a region are some of the effects which might result
from the use of environmental modification techniques.
Forces in Europe (CFE) - 1992. The Treaty on Conventional
Armed Forces in Europe limited conventional armaments in Europe
to under 40,000 battle tanks, 60,000 armoured combat vehicles,
40,000 pieces of artillery, 13,600 combat aircraft and 4,000
helicopters. Russia suspended its observance of its CFE Treaty
obligations in 2007.
Nuclear Forces INF - 1987. The INF Treaty seeks
to eliminate the US and Russia's land-based intermediate-
and shorter-ranges missiles. In October 2007, the US and Russia
released a joint
statement on the INF Treaty. (See an NGO perspective on
the statement here.)
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) - 1968. The NPT
contains the only binding commitment to nuclear disarmament
in a multilateral treaty on the part of the nuclear weapon
states, in Article VI. The NPT's "grand bargain"
states that the nuclear weapon states pledge to disarm, whilt
non-nuclear weapon states pledge never to acquire nuclear
weapons. 190 governments have ratified the Treaty (though
there are 189 States Parties, as North Korea withdrew from
the Treaty after it ratified it).
Convention (aka Mine Ban Treaty) - 1997. The Convention
on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and
Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction
opened for signature in December 1997 and entered into force
on March 1, 1999 - the most rapid ratification process of
any major arms control treaty. The Treaty is notable on several
counts: it is the first treaty to ban a class of weapon in
wide use; it combines elements of humanitarian and arms control
law (meaning, among other things, individuals rather than
just states have rights and responsibilities under the treaty);
and it came about as a result of a coalition of NGOs and mid-size
governments without the participation of the major military
powers. Major landmines producers including the US, Russia,
China, and Pakistan have not signed the treaty.
Space Treaty (OST) - 1967. The Outer Space Treaty
has been signed and ratifed by the US, UK, USSR, France, India,
and 58 others. It prohibits nuclear or other weapons of mass
destruction from being placed in space (including Earth orbit).
Test Ban Treaty (PTBT) - 1963. The Limited Test
Ban Treaty banned all but underground nuclear explosions.
The US, USSR, and UK are signatories (they wrote it and are
the depositories). It was negotiated in 6 weeks.
Treaty - 1971. This treaty prohibits the placement
of nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction on the seabed
and ocean floor beyond a 12 mile coastal zone. It entered
into force in 1972 and multiple review conferences have upheld
the treaty. 66 states have ratified, including US, UK, USSR,
China, but not France.
Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I) - 1972. The United
States and the Soviet Union engaged in talks from 1969 to
1972, during which they negotiated the first agreements to
place limits and restraints on some of their central and most
important armaments, such as the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty,
and the Interim Agreement on strategic offensive arms.
Arms Limitation Treaty II (SALT II) - 1979. The
second Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty increased limits on
intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched
ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and heavy bombers. Other limits
were placed on multiple re-entry vehicles and bombers with
intermediate-range missiles. SALT II was to remain in effect
through 1985, but it was never ratified, and was then supplanted
by the START negotiations.
Arms Reduction Treaty I (START I) 1991, 1992. The
Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the US and the USSR
limits the number of heavy bombers, ICBMs, and SLBMs, and
also limits launchers and warheads. It prohibits both states
from deploying more than 6000 nuclear warheads on a total
of 1600 delivery systems, and the ballistic missile throw-weight
(lifting power) is limited to 3600 metric tons.
Arms Reduction Treaty II (START II) - 1993. The
second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the US and
Russia limits their strategic arsenals to 3000-3500 warheads
on delivery systems (tactical weapons and spares are not included
in the counts). It also prohibits multiple re-entry vehicles
(MIRVs) on intercontinental ballistic missiles, and limits
the number of warheads deployable on submarine-launched ballistic
missiles to 1700-1750. START II has not entered into force:
when the US withdrew from the ABM Treaty in 2002, Russia declared
START null and void the following day. It was replaced by
SORT in 2002.
Arms Reduction Treaty III (START III). Discussions
began between the US and Russia in 2007 to further reduce
nuclear arsenals to 2000-2500 each, though it is unlikely
negotiations will begin, as Russia withdrew from START II
Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) - 2002. Also
known as the Moscow Treaty, SORT limits the nuclear arsenal
of both the US and Russia to 1700-2200 warheads each. It does
not specify which warheads are to be reduced or how reductions
should be made, nor does in include any verification provisions.
It came into force on 1 June 2003, and is set to expire 31
Test Ban Treaty - TTBT - 1974. Signed by US and
USSR, the Threshold Test Ban Treaty limited nuclear explosions
to 150 kilotons.
of Bankok - 1995. The Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons
Free Zone entered into force in 1997 and prohibits the development,
testing, stationing, transport, manufacture, and possession
of nuclear weapons, and prohibits the dumping of waste in
the region. It allows nuclear energy. US, UK, Russia, France,
and China do not support this treaty.
of Pelindaba - 1996. The African Nuclear Weapon
Free Zone is not yet ratified, although it has 49 reional
signatories, including the US, Frace, UK, Russia, and China.
It prohibits all nuclear weapons in NWFZ and requires destruction
of any nuclear devices. It calls on nuclear weapons states
to provide assurances that they will not use nuclear weapons
against the states party to the Treaty.
of Rarotonga - 1985. The South Pacific Nuclear
Free Zone prohibits the manufacture, possesssion, or testing
of nuclear devices, and prohibits dumping of nuclear waste.
It entered into force in 1986.
of Tlatelolco - 1967. The Treaty for the Prohibition
of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America prohibits testing, production,
possiession, or acquisition of nuclear weapons in the Latin
American nuclear weapon free zone. In Protocol II, nuclear
weapons states party to the treaty cannot use or threaten
to use nuclear weapons against parties to the protocol. This
was the first treaty to exclude nukes from an inhabited region
of the globe.
Possible Future Treaties
Trade Treaty (ATT)
Cut-off Treaty (FMCT)
Weapons Convention (NWC)
of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space (PPWT)