[Doctoral seminar] Chemical and biological weapons: International investigative mechanisms

19 - 19 December 2022
  • Starts at: 09:30h
  • Fee: Free
  • Venue: T.M.C. Asser Instituut
  • Address: R.J. Schimmelpennincklaan 20-22
    2517 JN The Hague

We invite researchers to join us in person at the Asser Institute in The Hague for the third 2022 arms control seminar. This seminar is focused on the topic of chemical and biological weapons. Learn from leading researchers as well as directly from the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Topic: Chemical and Biological Weapons: International Investigative Mechanisms
International investigative mechanisms serve an important role in international law. This includes elements of dispute settlement and accountability. Firstly, by establishing an independent record of events, allowing for the peaceful settlement of related disputes; secondly, by alerting the international community of the need to take corrective action in the light of violations of international human rights law, international humanitarian law or international criminal law; and, finally, by recording, analyzing and presenting evidence in line with applicable legal frameworks for use in future international or domestic accountability processes. This seminar explores the role of international investigative mechanisms in investigating chemical weapon attacks, as well as disinformation about the use of chemical and biological weapons.

The seminar is structured around three lectures on the topics of:

  1. The role of the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team in identifying individuals or entities directly or indirectly involved in chemical weapons use falling outside the remit of OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism
  2. The frameworks and processes developed by the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to collect and consolidate evidence in its central repository of crimes and violations of international law committed in Syria since 2011
  3. The phenomena of unsubstantiated allegations of chemical and biological weapons use in armed conflicts as well as the deployment of disinformation campaigns to evade attribution and accountability for actions that breach global nonproliferation treaty obligations

After the lectures, the participants will engage in a roundtable discussion of their research topics, guided by Asser Institute researchers.

Participation in the workshop is extended to approximately 10 doctoral candidates and postdoctoral researchers who are currently conducting research in arms control, whether from legal, historical, political or theoretical perspectives.

Please email Thea Coventry to apply for the event by Monday 5 December, including your position, university affiliation and area of research. Additionally, participants need to submit a short abstract on their research topic by email to Thea Coventry by Monday 12 December, which will be circulated in advance to the other participants. Acceptance will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Attendance is in-person.

About the Asser Institute Doctoral Seminar Series on International Arms Control Law
The Asser Institute Doctoral Seminar Series on International Arms Control Law provides a select number of early career researchers with insights into the current and future issues raised by International Arms Control Law with perspectives from international law and related disciplines. At each seminar, academics and practitioners deliver several expert lectures on the international legal framework of arms control, geo-political perspectives on arms control, institutional and procedural frameworks for control and disarmament, as well as emerging issues and trends. Additionally, the seminar provides an opportunity for doctoral and postdoctoral researchers to discuss their research in the field of International Arms Control to foster interdisciplinary exchange among peers in a low-stakes environment.

Download the programme


5 December 2022

Deadline for registration

12 December 2022

Submission of abstracts for roundtable

19 December 2022

Chemical and Biological Weapons Seminar

Full programmeMonday 19 December 2022

9.30-10.00       Words of Welcome - Opening and round of introductions

10.00-11:15    Disinformation and Unsubstantiated Allegations of Chemical and Biological Weapons Use - Dr Alexander Kelle (Senior Researcher, IFSH, Hamburg University)

11.15-12.00   Coffee/Tea Break

12.00-13.15    Investigating Chemical Weapons Use: The work of the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) - Santiago Oñate (Coordinator of the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team)

13.15-14.15   Lunch

14.15-15.30    Collecting, Preserving and Assessing Evidence: The Central Repository of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism – Syria (IIIM) - Professor Thilo Marauhn (Special Chair Arms Control Law, Asser Institute; Professor of Public Law and International Law, Justus Liebig University Giessen)

15.30-15.45   Coffee/Tea Break

16:00-17:15   Early Career Researcher Roundtable - Peer-to-peer review of research topics by participants
17.15-18.15   Closing Reception

Thilo Marauhn

undefinedThilo Marauhn is a researcher in the research strand 'Regulation in the public interest: Disruptive technologies in peace and security.' Since 2016 Thilo has been Head of the Research Group on International Law at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF), Member of the Leibniz Association. PRIF is one of the leading peace research institutes in Europe. Since 2017 he has been President of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission. Marauhn combines his endowed professorship in Arms Control Law with his work as Professor of Public Law and International Law at the Justus-Liebig Universität Giessen and at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt in Germany.

Thea Coventry
undefinedThea Coventry also forms part of the ‘Regulation in the public interest: disruptive technologies in peace and security’ strand of research. Thea is completing her PhD (Leiden University) investigating the role of accidental and strategic textual ambiguity in the progressive development and codification of legal rules in the field of State criminal jurisdiction. Her research interests include international arms control law, maritime security, and transnational criminal law.