ICRC worried by military chemicals

Feb. 6, 2013 at 11:45 AM

GENEVA, Switzerland, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- National governments need to take a stand against using toxic chemicals outside of riot control measures, the ICRC said from Geneva.

Philip Spoerri, director of international law and cooperation for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said he was concerned by state use of toxic chemicals because of potential violations of international laws regarding the use of chemical weapons.

"We are asking them to put in place the requisite national legislation clearly limiting the use of toxic chemicals as weapons for law enforcement to riot control agents – also known as 'tear gas' -- only," he said in a statement.

Spoerri said there was growing concern about the use of so-called incapacitating agents -- anesthetic and sedatives -- as weapons by military forces and law enforcement agencies.

"It is time for states to take a clear stand against the development of other toxic chemicals for use as weapons, because any such development risks undermining international law prohibiting chemical weapons," he said.

The ICRC said it viewed the risks of certain chemicals other than riot control agents like tear gas to be far greater than the potential benefit.

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