Clear and Present Danger: Enforcing the International Ban on Biological and Chemical Weapons Through Sanctions, Use of Force, and Criminalization

Currently there are two means of enforcing the international prohibition of chemical and biological weapons. First, the international community can induce compliance through imposition of sanctions, such as trade embargoes, freezing of assets and diplomatic isolation. Second, when sanctions fail, States can individually or collectively respond to the threat of chemical or biological weapons by using military force. After exploring the potential strengths and weaknesses of these approaches, this article examines the desirability of supplementing them with a third approach based on the criminal prosecution of persons responsible for the production, stockpiling, transfer, or use of chemical and biological weapons.