IRRC No. 318

Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (1972): Statement of the ICRC at the Review Conf...

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The International Committee of the Red Cross is privileged to address this conference which has the task of strengthening one of the earliest prohibitions of international humanitarian law: the proscription against the use of poison as a means of warfare. This norm has its basis not only in the 1899 Hague Declaration (2) and 1907 Hague Convention (IV) but also in the rules of warfare of diverse moral and cultural systems. Ancient Greeks and Romans customarily observed a prohibition on the use of poison and poison weapons. By 500 BC the Manu Law of War in India had banned the use of such arms. A millennium later regulations on the conduct of war drawn from the Koran by the Saracens forbade poisoning.

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