Multilateral Arms Control and Disarmament Treaties (Table)

Dr. Walter Dorn

(Common name, year opened)





Geneva Protocol

Use of chemical and bacteriological weapons in war



None in treaty
(in 1980s UN Secretary-General given  responsibilities for expert assessments)

Antarctic Treaty

Any measures of a military nature in Antarctica

– Consultation
– Referral to Int. Court of Justice (ICJ)

– "Appropriate efforts" by states parties to uphold treaty


Partial Test Ban Treaty (1963)

Nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere, in outer space and under water




Outer Space Treaty

Nuclear weapons in outer space. Military use of celestial bodies

– Consultation



Non-Proliferation Treaty

Wider dissemination of nuclear weapons

- IAEA Statute provides for mandatory referral to ICJ and access to  advisory opinions from ICJ

– IAEA Board may request  a state to remedy its non-compliance
– Curtailment or suspension of assistance
– Return of materials and equipment
– Suspension of  privileges and rights of membership"
– Report non-compliance to UN SC and GA

– Safeguards regime administered by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

– Assistance/ exchanges re. peaceful uses of nuclear energy

Seabed Treaty (1971)

Nuclear weapons on ocean floor

– Consultation

- Referral to UN Security Council


Biological Weapons Convention  (1972)

Production and stockpiling of biological and toxin weapons

- Consultation

– Complaints

lodged with UN Security Council

- Any necessary domestic measures

- Investigations may be carried out by SC

- Assistance to victims

Environmental Modification  Treaty

Military or any other hostile use of environmental modification (ENMOD) techniques

- Consultation (e.g., formation of Consultative Committee of Experts)

- Complaints lodged with UN Security Council

- Any necessary domestic measures
- Consultative Committee of Experts, formed on request
- Exchange of information
- Assistance to victims

Moon Treaty (1979)

Any hostile act on, or using, the moon. Placing nuclear weapons on, or in orbit around, the moon

- Consultation
- Peaceful methods
- Assistance from UN Secretary-General



Excessively Injurious Weapons Convention

Uses of certain conventional weapons e.g., mines, booby traps, blinding lasers. and incendiary weapons against civilians



- Education of armed forces

Celestial Bodies Agreement (1984) Moon and other celestial bodies used only for peaceful purposes

– Consultations
– Peaceful means
– Assistance of UN SG

– States parties to assure that national activities carried out in accordance with treaty – Reporting of activities to UN SG
Chemical Weapons Convention (1993) Development, production, stockpiling, use and transfer of chemical weapons

– Clarification & consultation
– ICJ referral
– ICJ advisory opinions

– Request measure to redress non-compliance

– Referral to UN SC
– Recommend collective measures

– Mandatory penal legislation
– Compliance promoted by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
– National authority

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (1996) Nuclear tests and other nuclear explosions in all environments

– Consult and cooperate
– Referral to ICJ

– Request to State Party to take measures to redress
– Conference of the CTBTO to take the necessary measures to ensure compliance
– Suspend rights and privileges
– Referral to  the United Nations

– Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) to ensure the implementation of treaty provisions
– Any national implementation measures any necessary measures to prohibit violations of treaty
– National Authority

Anti-Personnel Mines Convention (1997) Use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines

– Consult and cooperate
– UN Secretary-General's good offices- Fact-finding

Special Meeting of the States Parties may request party to take measures to address

– Fullest possible exchange

– Assistance for mine victims

– National measures including penal sanctions

Cluster Munitions Convention (2008) Use, develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer cluster munitions; assist anyone

– Annual declarations
– Consult and cooperate
– Request for clarification
– UN Secretary-General's good offices

– National "penal sanctions"
– Meeting of States Parties

Arms Trade Treaty (2013) International transfer of conventional arms in violation of UN arms embargoes or human rights, including terrorism

– Consult and cooperate
– Arbitration (voluntary)

 – National enforcement

– National control system to regulate exports

– National regulation of arms brokering

– Annual reporting of imports/exports to treaty secretariat



– Other arms control provisions can be found in treaties under the Laws of Armed Conflict (LOAC), e.g., Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907.

-– Regional Treaties for arms control: Treaty of Tlatelolco (1967), Treaty of Rarotonga (1985), Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty (1990), Open Skies Treaty (1992), Bangkok Treaty (1995), Pelindaba Treaty (1996), Inter-American Convention on Illicit Firearms (1997), Central Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty (2006).


pdf version (2012); French version