Schabas on Chemical Weapons
Bill Schabas makes a great point regarding whether the Rome Statute should be interpreted to directly criminalize chemical weapons as part of its direct criminalization of poisoned weapons:
I know that some colleagues are debating this elsewhere in the blogsphere. The argument seems to be that a broad construction of the notion of poison or poisonous weapons, whose use is criminalised by article 8(2)(b)(xvii) of the Rome Statute, might do the trick and encompass chemical weapons. It is fine for academics to make this argument, but it is a big trap for the United Kingdom, France and the United States and I doubt that they will fall into it. That is because if we consider chemical weapons to fall into the archaic category of poison or poisonous weapons, by some form of dynamic and evolutive interpretation of the Rome Statute, then we will also have to include nuclear weapons. What could be more poisonous than nuclear weapons? And London, France and Paris won’t go along with that.
Exactly! We call it “radiation poisoning” for a reason. Do defenders of the poison-weapons-includes-chemical-weapons position believe that the Rome Statute directly criminalizes nuclear weapons in the same way?