National implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction in the Czech Republic
22.01.2009 / 13:13
The Czech Republic belongs to the founder states of the OPCW. The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (the Convention) was signed by the Czech Republic on the day of its opening for signature.
The Czech Republic belongs to the founder states of the OPCW. The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (the Convention), signed by the Czech Republic on the day of its opening for signature on 14 January1993 and ratified on 6 March 1996, became binding for the Czech Republic on 29 April 1997.
Preparation of legislative draft acts and executive regulations implementing the Convention to the Czech legal order and submission of features for establishment of the National Authority responsible for implementation and enforcement of the requirements of the Convention in the Czech Republic were delegated to the Preparatory Commission for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons temporarily established by the government of the Czech Republic for this purpose.
The function of the National Authority responsible for the implementation of the Convention in the Czech Republic is executed by the State Office for Nuclear Safety (SONS); the Department for Control of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons works within its framework. Till the year 2000, it was the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic that was charged to carry out this function.
The key legal document implementing the requirements resulting from the Convention into the Czech legislation is the Act No. 19/1997 Coll., On Some Measures Concerning Chemical Weapons Prohibition, as amended. Sanctions for breaking the prohibition of chemical weapons are regulated by the Criminal Act. The Act No. 19/1997 Coll., as amended, regulates the rights and obligations of natural or legal persons related to the prohibition of chemical weapons and handling of toxic chemicals and their precursors that can be misused for breach of prohibition of chemical weapons. It enacts the prohibition of development, production, stockpiling, use and handling of chemical weapons and their import to and transfer through the territory of the Czech Republic, and regulates the conditions for handling of the so-called scheduled chemicals (chemicals listed in Annex to the Convention) and categorization of these chemicals. The Decree No. 50/1997 Coll. providing for implementation of the Act No. 19/1997 Coll. contains, inter alia, the lists of scheduled chemicals, contained in the Annex to the Convention.
In 2000, the Act No. 19/1997 Coll. was amended by the Act No. 249/2000 Coll. by means of which the competence of the execution of state administration and control in the field of chemical weapons prohibition passes from the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic to the State Office for Nuclear Safety. At the same time, the SONS has become the national coordinating body responsible for the implementation of the Convention in the Czech Republic. Another amendment of the Act No. 19/1997 Coll. was executed by the Act No. 356/2003 Coll., On Chemical Agents and Chemical Preparations binding the manufacturers and importers to classify and to register scheduled chemicals and to provide them with safety sheet. Further amendments of the Act No. 19/1997 Coll. were related to the adoption of the Act on Customs Administration of the Czech Republic (Act No. 186/2004 Coll.) which regulates the obligations of carriers of scheduled chemicals from or to the territory of the Czech Republic when executing the supervision or control by the customs house (authority).
In July 2008, Act No. 138/2008 Coll. entered into force, amending the Act on Some Measures Concerning Chemical Weapons Prohibition. The Decree No. 208/2008 Coll., Implementing the Act on Some Measures Concerning Chemical Weapons Prohibition, entered into force the same day.
Breach of the Act No. 19/1997 Coll. is sanctioned by the form of penalties up to Czech Crowns 100 000 000 (approx. 4 mil. Euro). Sanctions of the Criminal Code, including a possible imprisonment, are also relevant for criminal offences relating to the breach of the prohibition of chemical weapons.
Initial declarations set forth by the Convention were submitted by the Czech Republic in May 1997. Since then, the Czech Republic has been regularly submitting the declarations of past and anticipated activities and other required information. The Czech Republic has not possessed any chemical weapons or facilities for their production, old or abandoned chemical weapons and facilities for production of highly toxic chemicals (Schedule 1 chemicals pursuant to the Convention) subject to declaration obligation set forth by the Convention. Inspection activities of the OPCW in the Czech Republic are thus focused on the activities not prohibited by the Convention. All inspections of the OPCW performed so far in the Czech Republic proved the compliance with the Convention. Apart from the cooperation in the case of the international OPCW inspections, the SONS also performs its own regular inspections of relevant facilities.