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Research Report

Weapons of Mass Destruction:: How to set up an Inspection Regime

Jørn Siljeholm General Rapporteur
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2012
Pages: 45

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. 1-2)
  2. (pp. 3-4)
  3. (pp. 5-6)
    Sergio Duarte

    I have read with great interest this study of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI). I would recommend it for careful consideration by diplomats and experts involved in arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament issues. I am a stong believer that effective verification could pave the road to increased confidence in disarmament treaties, in particular related to weapons of mass destruction.

    Inpsections are a vital tool in international agreements that seek to minimize the potential of conflict or threats to international or regional peace and security. While States prepare and train continuously for the event of war, by comparison, the...

  4. (pp. 7-8)
  5. (pp. 9-9)
    Jørn Siljeholm
  6. (pp. 10-13)
  7. (pp. 14-19)

    A weapon of mass destruction (WMD) may be defined as a weapon that is capable of indiscriminant and large-scale destruction of people, infrastructure and resources. WMD usually include nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. WMD are the subject of numerous international arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament treaties in addition to political agreements, conventions and other legal arrangements.

    Weapons inspection . States have been developing and deploying WMD for nearly a century, whereas arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament measures have lagged behind. Arms control agreements inevitably focus on verification and inspections are regularly a key element of verification; they build confidence in...

  8. (pp. 20-24)

    The objective and mandate of an inspection regime must be clearly defined if it is to stand any chance of success. Given the environment in which such matters are often considered – frenetic diplomatic activity at all levels, military action and great political pressure – identifying the parameters that affect the intended regime and how they should be addressed is not easy. It is paramount to the success of an inspection regime that the desired outcome will be clearly understood and agreed by all parties. Once established, the objectives of the inspection regime can be identified. In turn, this allows...

  9. (pp. 25-28)

    The head of a newly created inspection regime must arrange for many guidelines on fundamental issues within a very short period. Internal guidelines for the inspectorate operations will be required as well as procedural guidelines agreed upon with the inspected party.

    Legal framework . The mandate, whatever its form, is the basis on which derivative inspection procedures are set. Subsidiary documents will likely be required to establish privileges and immunities of inspections staff, aircraft flight clearance procedures, landing rights, and other operational guidelines. An evolution of legal structures should be anticipated. Creation of the mandate must take account of the...

  10. (pp. 29-33)

    Following the adoption of a mandate, the next task for the inspectorate is to make an initial implementation plan (which may constitute the first report of the inspectorate’s head to the commissioning (supervisory) body). The plan will explain how the mandate will be carried out in practical and administrative terms. It will also indicate the powers and procedures to be negotiated as implementation proceeds. In addition, it will indicate requirements for resources and detail the concept of operations as well as an initial plan for inspections. This report may simply inform the supervisory body, or may be used to elicit...

  11. (pp. 34-36)

    As noted earlier, the inspectors’ basic material is information. The original information will come from the source of allegation or declaration that led to the establishment of the inspection regime. Most of the inspectors’ tools will involve ways of acquiring, analyzing, and storing information from all possible sources.

    On-Site inspection. Most inspections will involve visits to locations directly or indirectly involved or suspected to be involved with WMD. Such visits offer an opportunity to collect samples, interview local staff, and examine documents and computers as well as to assess many practical aspects of a program. Planning preparation requires obtaining reference...

  12. (pp. 37-42)

    Inspections take many forms, and may be classified in various ways. It is important to acknowledge that however they are defined, inspections are attempts to either collect information, or carry out specific actions like weapons destruction -- or both. As noted above, for some inspections, inspectors may be welcomed by a fully cooperative state and given the access they request. For other inspections, the process may be coercively imposed on the inspected party, and the inspectors will confront obstruction and hostility.

    Inspection process. The inspection activity may commence with on-site investigations seeking baseline information about the nature and extent of...

  13. (pp. 43-44)

    Hiatus or termination. From its inception, an inspection regime must plan to deal with interruptions to its work and, ultimately, its termination. This may occur because the objective has been achieved, because a mandate has expired, because the process has been overtaken by events, or because of inadequate political support. It may also be triggered by violations or non-compliance. Each eventuality will require a different response. There must be a clear understanding as to whom, or which body, makes the appropriate decisions.

    Legacy. When it has been decided to end the inspection regime and close down its headquarters and support,...