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High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Protocol

The protocol was signed in Geneva on 17 June 1925 and entered into force on 8 February 1928.

France is the depositary power for the protocol.

133 states have ratified, acceded to, or declared succession to the Geneva Protocol

Most recent accession: Ukraine 7 August 2003

El Salvador has signed (17 June 1925) but not ratified the Geneva Protocol.

Explanatory notes regarding membership and reservations appear at the end of this document.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | Y | Notes




    A    [top]
  • Afghanistan, acceded 9 December 1986
  • Albania, acceded 20 December 1989
  • Algeria, acceded 27 January 1992

    Algeria entered the following reservation on accession -- "The Algerian Government will be bound by the Protocol only with regard to States which have ratified or have adhered to it and will cease to be bound by the said Protocol with regard to any State whose armed forces or whose allies' armed forces do not respect the provisions of the Protocol."

  • Angola, acceded 8 November 1990

    Angola entered the following reservation on accession -- "In acceding to the Protocol of 17 June 1925, the People's Republic of Angola declares that the latter is binding only on those States which have signed and ratified or which have definitively acceded to the Protocol. In acceding to the Protocol of 17 June 1925, the People's Republic of Angola declares that the latter would cease to be binding on all enemy States whose armed forces or whose allies, de jure or de facto do not respect the prohibitions which are the object of the said Protocol."

  • Antigua and Barbuda, acceded 27 April 1988
  • Argentina, acceded 12 May 1969
  • Australia, acceded 24 May 1930

    Australia had entered the following reservation on accession which was withdrawn in 1986 -- "Subject to the reservations that His Majesty is bound by the said Protocol only towards those Powers and States which have both signed and ratified the Protocol or have acceded thereto, and that His Majesty shall cease to be bound by the Protocol towards any Power at enmity with Him whose armed forces, or the armed forces of whose allies, do not respect the Protocol."

  • Austria, signed 17 June 1925, ratified 9 May 1928


    B    [top]
  • Bahrain, acceded 9 December 1988

    Bahrain entered the following reservation on accession -- "The said Protocol is only binding on the Government of the State of Bahrain as regards those States which have signed and ratified the Protocol or have acceded thereto; The said Protocol shall cease to be binding on the Government of the State of Bahrain in regard to any enemy State whose armed forces, or the armed forces of whose Allies, fail to respect the prohibitions laid down in the Protocol; The accession of the State of Bahrain to the said Protocol, signed on June 17, 1925, shall in no way constitute recognition of Israel or be a cause for the establishment of any relations of any kind therewith."

  • Bangladesh, acceded 20 May 1989

    Bangladesh entered the following reservation on accession -- "The said Protocol is only binding on the Government of Bangladesh as regards those States which have signed and ratified the Protocol or have acceded thereto;
    The said Protocol shall cease to be binding on the Government of Bangladesh in regard to any enemy State whose armed forces, or the armed forces of whose Allies, fail to respect the prohibitions laid down in the Protocol."

  • Barbados, acceded 16 July 1976
  • Belgium, signed 17 June 1925, ratified 4 December 1928

    Belgium had entered the following reservation which was withdrawn in 1997 -- "(1) The said Protocol is only binding on the Belgian government as regards States which have signed or ratified it or which may accede to it. (2) The said Protocol shall ipso facto cease to be binding on the Belgian government in regard to any enemy State whose armed forces or whose allies fail to respect the prohibitions laid down in the Protocol."

  • Benin, acceded 9 December 1986
  • Bhutan, acceded 19 February 1979
  • Bolivia, acceded 13 August 1985
  • Brazil, signed 17 June 1925, ratified 28 August 1970
  • Bulgaria, signed 17 June 1925, ratified 7 March 1934

    Bulgaria had entered the following reservation on ratification which was withdrawn in 1991 -- "The said Protocol is only binding on the Bulgarian government as regards States which have signed or ratified it or which may accede to it. The said Protocol shall ipso facto cease to be binding on the Bulgarian government in regard to any enemy State whose armed forces or whose allies fail to respect the prohibitions laid down in the Protocol."

  • Burkina Faso, acceded 3 March 1971


    C    [top]
  • Cambodia

    In a note verbale of 30 September 1993, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia declared that the Royal Government of Cambodia considered itself bound by the Protocol of 17 June 1925, to which the coalition Government of Democratic Cambodia had acceded on 15 March 1983. This accession had been considered invalid by France (the depositary power) as well as by Australia, Bulgaria, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Ethiopia, Hungary, Mauritius, Mongolia, Poland, the Soviet Union and Viet Nam. The 15 March 1983 instrument contained the following reservation: "The Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (CGDK) reserves the right not to be bound by the aforesaid Protocol as regards any enemy whose armed forces or allies no longer respect the prohibitions contained in this Protocol."

  • Cameroon, acceded 20 July 1989
  • Canada, signed 17 June 1925, ratified 6 May 1930

    Canada had entered the following reservation on ratification which was withdrawn in relation to biological weapons in 1991 and in relation to chemical weapons in 1999 -- "(1) The said Protocol is only binding on His Britannic Majesty as regards those States which have both signed and ratified it, or have finally acceded thereto. (2) The said Protocol shall cease to be binding on His Britannic Majesty towards any State at enmity with Him whose armed forces, or whose allies de jure or in fact fail to respect the prohibitions laid down in the Protocol."

  • Cape Verde, acceded 15 October 1991
  • Central African Republic, acceded 31 July 1970
  • Chile, acceded 2 July 1935

    Chile had entered the following reservation on ratification which was withdrawn in 1991 -- "(1) The said Protocol is only binding on the Chilean government as regards States which have signed and ratified it or which may definitely accede to it. (2) The said Protocol shall ipso facto cease to be binding on the Chilean government in regard to any enemy State whose armed forces, or whose allies, fail to respect the prohibitions which are the object of this Protocol."

  • China, signed 17 June 1925, ratified 24 August 1929

    On 13 July 1952, the People's Republic of China issued a statement recognizing as binding upon it the accession to the Protocol in the name of China. The People's Republic of China considers itself bound by the Protocol on condition of reciprocity on the part of all the other contracting and acceding powers.

  • Côte d'Ivoire, acceded 27 July 1970
  • Cuba, acceded 24 June 1966
  • Cyprus, succeeded 12 December 1966

    Cyprus may be regarded as maintaining an implicit reservation on declaring succession from the United Kingdom which had a reservation in force at the time (see explanatory note at end of page).

  • Czech Republic, succeeded 1 January 1993 (declaration 17 September 1993)

    Czechoslovakia (signed 17 June 1925, ratified 18 August 1938) had entered the following reservation which was withdrawn in 1990 -- "The Czechoslovak Republic shall ipso facto cease to be bound by this Protocol towards any State whose armed forces, or the armed forces of whose allies, fail to respect the prohibitions laid down in the Protocol." Czechoslovakia was formally dissolved on 31 December 1992.


    D    [top]
  • Denmark, signed 17 June 1925, ratified 5 May 1930
  • Dominican Republic, acceded 8 December 1970


    E    [top]
  • Ecuador, acceded 16 September 1970
  • Egypt, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 6 December 1928
  • Equatorial Guinea, acceded 20 May 1989
  • Estonia, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 28 August 1931

    Estonia had entered the following reservation which was withdrawn in 1991 -- "(1) The said Protocol is only binding on the Estonian Government as regards States which have signed or ratified it or which may accede to it. (2) The said Protocol shall ipso facto cease to be binding on the Estonian Government in regard to any enemy State whose armed forces or whose allies fail to respect the prohibitions laid down in the Protocol."

  • Ethiopia, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 7 October 1935


    F    [top]
  • Fiji, succeeded 21 March 1973

    Fiji entered the following reservation on succession -- "The Protocol is only binding on Fiji as regards States which have both signed and ratified it and which will have finally acceded thereto. The Protocol shall cease to be binding on Fiji in regard to any enemy State whose armed forces or the armed forces of whose allies fail to respect the prohibitions which are the object of the Protocol."

  • Finland, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 26 June 1929
  • France, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 10 May 1926

    France had entered the following reservation which was withdrawn in 1996 -- "(1) The said Protocol is only binding on the government of the French Republic as regards States which have signed or ratified it or which may accede to it. (2) The said Protocol shall ipso facto cease to be binding on the government of the French Republic in regard to any enemy State whose armed forces or whose allies fail to respect the prohibitions laid down in the Protocol."


    G    [top]
  • Gambia, succeeded 5 November 1966

    Gambia may be regarded as maintaining an implicit reservation on declaring succession from the United Kingdom which had a reservation in force at the time (see explanatory note at end of page).

  • Germany, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 25 April 1929
  • Ghana, acceded 3 May 1967
  • Greece, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 30 May 1931
  • Grenada, succeeded, 3 January 1989

    Grenada may be regarded as maintaining an implicit reservation on declaring succession from the United Kingdom which had a reservation in force at the time (see explanatory note at end of page).

  • Guatemala, acceded 3 May 1983
  • Guinea-Bissau, acceded 20 May 1989


    H    [top]
  • Holy See, acceded 18 October 1966
  • Hungary, acceded 11 October 1952


    I    [top]
  • Iceland, acceded 2 November 1967
  • India, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 9 April 1930

    India entered the following reservation -- "(1) The said Protocol is only binding on His Britannic Majesty as regards those States which have both signed and ratified it, or have finally acceded thereto. (2) The said Protocol shall cease to be binding on His Britannic Majesty towards any Power at enmity with Him whose armed forces, or the armed forces of whose allies, fail to respect the prohibitions laid down in the Protocol."

  • Indonesia, succeeded 21 January 1971

    Indonesia may be regarded as maintaining an implicit reservation on declaring succession from the Netherlands which had a reservation in force at the time (see explanatory note at end of page).

  • Iran, acceded 5 November 1929
  • Iraq, acceded 8 September 1931

    Iraq entered the following reservation -- "On condition that the Iraq government shall be bound by the provisions of the Protocol only towards those States which have both signed and ratified it or have acceded thereto, and that it shall not be bound by the Protocol towards any State at enmity with Iraq whose armed forces, or the forces of whose allies, do not respect the provisions of the Protocol."

  • Ireland, acceded 29 August 1930

    Ireland had entered the following reservation on ratification which was withdrawn in 1972 -- "The government of the Irish Free State does not intend to assume, by this accession, any obligation except towards the States having signed and ratified this Protocol or which shall have finally acceded thereto, and should the armed forces or the allies of an enemy State fail to respect the said Protocol, the government of the Irish Free State would cease to be bound by the said Protocol in regard to such State."

  • Israel, acceded 20 February 1969

    Israel entered the following reservation on accession -- "The said Protocol is only binding on the State of Israel as regards States which have signed and ratified or acceded to it. The said Protocol shall cease ipso facto to be binding on the State of Israel as regards any enemy State whose armed forces, or the armed forces of whose allies, or the regular or irregular forces, or groups or individuals operating from its territory, fail to respect the prohibitions which are the object of this Protocol."

  • Italy, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 3 April 1928


    J    [top]
  • Jamaica, succeeded 28 July 1970

    Jamaica may be regarded as maintaining an implicit reservation on declaring succession from the United Kingdom which had a reservation in force at the time (see explanatory note at end of page).

  • Japan, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 21 May 1970
  • Jordan, acceded 20 January 1977

    Jordan entered the following reservation -- "The accession by Jordan to the Protocol does not in any way imply recognition of Israel, and does not oblige Jordan to conclude with Israel any arrangement under the Protocol. Jordan undertakes to respect the obligations contained in the Protocol with regard to States which have undertaken similar commitments. It is not bound by the Protocol as regards States whose armed forces, regular or irregular, do not respect the provisions of the Protocol."


    K    [top]
  • Kenya, acceded 6 July 1970
  • Korea, Democratic People's Republic of, acceded 4 January 1989

    The DPRK entered the following reservation on accession -- "The said Protocol is only binding on the Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea as regards those States which have signed and ratified the Protocol or have acceded thereto. The said Protocol shall cease to be binding on the Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in regard to any enemy State whose armed forces, or the armed forces of whose Allies, fail to respect the prohibitions laid down in the Protocol."

  • Kuwait, acceded 15 December 1971

    Kuwait entered the following reservation on accession -- "The accession by the State of Kuwait to this Protocol does not in any way imply recognition of Israel, or the establishment of relations with the latter on the basis of the present Protocol. In case of breach of the prohibition mentioned in this Protocol by any of the Parties, the State of Kuwait will not be bound, with regard to the Party committing the breach, to apply the provisions of this Protocol."


    L    [top]
  • Laos, acceded 20 May 1989
  • Latvia, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 3 June 1931
  • Lebanon, acceded 17 April 1969
  • Lesotho, succeeded 10 March 1972

    Lesotho may be regarded as maintaining an implicit reservation on declaring succession from the United Kingdom which had a reservation in force at the time (see explanatory note at end of page).

  • Liberia, acceded 17 June 1927
  • Libya, acceded 29 December 1971

    Libya entered the following reservation -- "The accession to the Protocol does not imply recognition or the establishment of any relations with Israel. The present Protocol is binding on the Libyan Arab Republic only as regards States which are effectively bound by it and will cease to be binding on the Libyan Arab Republic as regards States whose armed forces, or the armed forces of whose allies, fail to respect the prohibitions which are the object of this Protocol."

  • Liechtenstein, acceded 6 September 1991
  • Lithuania, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 15 June 1933
  • Luxembourg, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 1 September 1936


    M    [top]
  • Madagascar, acceded 2 August 1967
  • Malawi, acceded 14 September 1970
  • Malaysia, acceded 10 December 1970
  • Maldives, succeeded 27 December 1966

    The Maldives may be regarded as maintaining an implicit reservation on declaring succession from the United Kingdom which had a reservation in force at the time (see explanatory note at end of page).

  • Malta, succeeded 21 September 1964

    Malta may be regarded as maintaining an implicit reservation on declaring succession from the United Kingdom which had a reservation in force at the time (see explanatory note at end of page).

  • Mauritius, succeeded 12 March 1968

    Mauritius may be regarded as maintaining an implicit reservation on declaring succession from the United Kingdom which had a reservation in force at the time (see explanatory note at end of page).

  • Mexico, acceded 28 May 1932
  • Monaco, acceded 6 January 1967
  • Mongolia, acceded 6 December 1968

    Mongolia had entered the following reservation which was withdrawn in 1990 -- "In the case of violation of this prohibition by any State in relation to the People's Republic of Mongolia, or its allies, the government of the People's Republic of Mongolia shall not consider itself bound by the obligation of the Protocol towards that State.

  • Morocco, acceded 13 October 1970


    N    [top]
  • Nepal, acceded 9 May 1969
  • Netherlands, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 31 October 1930

    The Netherlands had entered the following reservation on ratification which was withdrawn in 1995 -- "As regards the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and of all analogous liquids, materials or devices, this Protocol shall ipso facto cease to be binding on the Royal Netherlands government with regard to any enemy State whose armed forces or whose allies fail to respect the prohibitions laid down in the Protocol."
    [Note: This reservation had been made specifically to include "the Netherlands Indies, Surinam and Curacao" while the withdrawal was specific to "the Kingdom in Europe, the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba".]

  • New Zealand, acceded 24 May 1930

    New Zealand had entered the following reservations which were withdrawn in 1989 -- "Subject to the reservations that His Majesty is bound by the said Protocol only towards those Powers and States which have both signed and ratified the Protocol or have acceded thereto, and that His Majesty shall cease to be bound by the Protocol towards any Power at enmity with Him whose armed forces, or the armes forces of whose allies, do not respect the Protocol."

  • Nicaragua, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 5 October 1990
  • Niger, succeeded 5 April 1967

    Niger may be regarded as maintaining an implicit reservation on declaring succession from France which had a reservation in force at the time (see explanatory note at end of page).

  • Nigeria, acceded 15 October 1968

    Nigeria entered the following reservation -- "The Protocol is only binding on Nigeria as regards States which are effectively bound by it and shall cease to be binding on Nigeria as regards States whose armed forces or whose allies' armed forces fail to respect the prohibitions which are the object of the Protocol."

  • Norway, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 27 July 1932


    P    [top]
  • Pakistan, succeeded 15 April 1960

    By a note of 13 April 1960, Pakistan informed the depositary Government that it was a party to the Protocol by virtue of Paragraph 4 of the Annex to the Indian Independence Act of 1947.

    Pakistan may be regarded as maintaining an implicit reservation on declaring succession as the entities which it could be argued it derived its legal succession from -- the United Kingdom and "British India" -- both had reservations in force at the time (see explanatory note at end of page).

  • Panama, acceded 4 December 1970
  • Papua New Guinea, succeeded 2 September 1980

    Papua New Guinea entered the following reservation -- "The said Protocol is only binding on the Government of Papua New Guinea as regards those States which have signed and ratified the Protocol or have acceded thereto. The said Protocol shall cease to be binding on the Government of Papua New Guinea in regard to any enemy State whose armed forces, or the armed forces of whose Allies, fail to respect the prohibitions laid down in the Protocol."

  • Paraguay , acceded 22 October 1933

    22 October 1933 is the date of receipt of the instrument of accession. The date of the notification by the French government "for the purpose of regularization" is 13 January 1969.

  • Peru, acceded 13 August 1985
  • Philippines, acceded 8 June 1973
  • Poland, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 4 February 1929
  • Portugal, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 1 July 1930

    Portugal had entered the following reservation on ratification which was withdrawn in 2002 -- "(1) The said Protocol is only binding on the government of the Portuguese Republic as regards States which have signed and ratified it or which may accede to it. (2) The said Protocol shall ipso facto cease to be binding on the government of the Portuguese Republic in regard to any enemy State whose armed forces or whose allies fail to respect the prohibitions which are the object of this Protocol."


    Q    [top]
  • Qatar, acceded 18 October 1976


    R    [top]
  • Republic of Korea, acceded 4 January 1989

    The Republic of Korea entered the following reservation -- "The said Protocol is only binding on the Government of the Republic of Korea as regards those States which have signed and ratified the Protocol or have acceded thereto. The said Protocol shall cease to be binding on the Government of the Republic of Korea in regard to any enemy State whose armed forces, or the armed forces of whose Allies, fail to respect the prohibitions laid down in the Protocol."
    [According to information the French Government (as depositary) passed to the United Nations Secretary-General, reproduced in UN document A/59/179 dated 23 July 2004, this reservation was "partially withdrawn" in 2002. SIPRI has been informed by a government official from the Republic of Korea that the withdrawal relates to bacteriological and toxin weapons and that the withdrawal has been effective as of 8 October 2002.]

  • Romania, signed 25 June 1925, ratified 23 August 1929

    Romania had entered the following reservation on ratification which was withdrawn in 1991 -- "(1) The said Protocol only binds the Romanian government in relation to States which have signed and ratified or which have definitely acceded to the Protocol. (2) The said Protocol shall cease to be binding on the Romanian government in regard to all enemy States whose armed forces or whose allies de jure or in fact do not respect the restrictions which are the object of this Protocol."

  • Russia, acceded 5 April 1928

    The USSR (for which Russia is the successor state for the purposes of this protocol) had entered the following reservation on ratification which was withdrawn by Russia in 2000 -- "(1) The said Protocol only binds the government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in relation to the States which have signed and ratified or which have definitely acceded to the Protocol. (2) The said Protocol shall cease to be binding on the government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in regard to any enemy State whose armed forces or whose allies de jure or in fact do not respect the prohibitions which are the object of this Protocol."

  • Rwanda, succeeded 11 May 1964

    Rwanda may be regarded as maintaining an implicit reservation on declaring succession from Belgium which had a reservation in force at the time (see explanatory note at end of page).


    S    [top]
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis, succeeded 27 April 1989

    Saint Kitts and Nevis may be regarded as maintaining an implicit reservation on declaring succession from the United Kingdom which had a reservation in force at the time (see explanatory note at end of page).

  • Saint Lucia, succeded 21 December 1988

    Saint Lucia may be regarded as maintaining an implicit reservation on declaring succession from the United Kingdom which had a reservation in force at the time (see explanatory note at end of page).

  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, succeded 24 March 1999

    Saint Vincent and the Grenadines may be regarded as maintaining an implicit reservation on declaring succession from the United Kingdom which might have had a reservation in force at the time (see the United Kingdom entry and the explanatory note at the end of page).

  • Saudi Arabia, acceded 27 January 1971
  • Senegal, acceded 15 June 1977
  • Sierra Leone, acceded 20 March 1967
  • Slovakia, succeeded 1 January 1993 (declaration 20 September 1993)

    Czechoslovakia (signed 17 June 1925, ratified 18 August 1938) had entered the following reservation which was withdrawn in 1990 -- "The Czechoslovak Republic shall ipso facto cease to be bound by this Protocol towards any State whose armed forces, or the armed forces of whose allies, fail to respect the prohibitions laid down in the Protocol." Czechoslovakia was formally dissolved on 31 December 1992.

  • Solomon Islands, succeeded 1 June 1981

    Solomon Islands entered the following reservation on declaring succession from the United Kingdom -- "The obligations stemming from the aforesaid Protocol shall be binding upon the Solomon Islands only in their relations with States which have ratified the Protocol or acceded to it and which respect its provisions."

  • South Africa, acceded 24 May 1930

    South Africa had entered the following reservation on ratification which was withdrawn in 1996 -- "Subject to the reservations that His Majesty is bound by the said Protocol only towards those Powers and States which have both signed and ratified the Protocol or have acceded thereto, and that His Majesty shall cease to be bound by the Protocol towards any Power at enmity with Him whose armed forces, or the armes forces of whose allies, do not respect the Protocol."

  • Spain, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 22 August 1929

    Spain had entered the following reservation which was withdrawn in 1992 -- "Declares as binding ipso facto, without special agreement with respect to any other Member or State accepting and observing the same obligation, that is to say, on condition of reciprocity, the Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous and other Gases and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, signed at Geneva on 17 June 1925."

  • Sri Lanka, acceded 20 January 1954
  • Sudan, acceded 17 December 1980
  • Swaziland, acceded 23 July 1991
  • Sweden, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 25 Apr. 1930
  • Switzerland, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 12 Jul. 1932
  • Syria, acceded 17 December 1968

    Syria entered the following reservation on accession -- "The accession by the Syrian Arab Republic to this Protocol and the ratification of the Protocol by its government does not in any case imply recognition of Israel, or lead to the establishment of relations with the latter concerning the provisions laid down in this Protocol."


    T    [top]
  • Tanzania, acceded 22 April 1963
  • Thailand, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 6 June 1931

    Thailand entered the following reservation -- "Declares as binding ipso facto, without special agreement with respect to any other Member or State accepting and observing the same obligation, that is to say, on condition of reciprocity, the Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous and other Gases and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, signed at Geneva, June 17, 1925."

  • Togo, acceded 5 April 1971
  • Tonga, succeeded 19 July 1971

    Tonga may be regarded as maintaining an implicit reservation on declaring succession from the United Kingdom which had a reservation in force at the time (see explanatory note at end of page).

  • Trinidad and Tobago, succeeded 31 Aug. 1962

    Trinidad and Tobago may be regarded as maintaining an implicit reservation on declaring succession from the United Kingdom which had a reservation in force at the time (see explanatory note at end of page).

  • Tunisia, acceded 12 July 1967
  • Turkey, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 5 October 1929


    U    [top]
  • Uganda, acceded 24 May 1965
  • Ukraine, acceded 7 August 2003
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, signed 17 June 1925, ratified 9 April 1930

    The UK had entered the following reservation on ratification which was withdrawn in relation to biological weapons in 1991 and in relation to chemical weapons in 1997 or 2002 (see note below) -- "(1) The said Protocol is only binding on His Britannic Majesty as regards those Powers and States which have both signed and ratified the Protocol or have finally acceded thereto. (2) The said Protocol shall cease to be binding on His Britannic Majesty towards any Power at enmity with Him whose armed forces, or the armed forces of whose allies, fail to respect the prohibitions laid down in the Protocol."
    [The 1997 date comes from a speech by UK Foreign Minister Tony Lloyd in May 1997 while the 2002 date is from information the French Government (as depositary) passed to the United Nations Secretary-General, reproduced in UN document A/59/179 dated 23 July 2004.]

  • United States of America, signed 17 June 1925, ratified 10 April 1975

    The USA entered the following reservation -- "The protocol shall cease to binding on the government of the United States with respect to the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and all analogous liquids, materials, or devices, in regard to any enemy State if such State or any of its allies fails to respect the prohibitions laid down in the Protocol."

  • Uruguay, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 12 April 1977


    V    [top]
  • Venezuela, signed 27 June 1925, ratified 8 February 1928
  • Viet Nam, acceded 15 December 1980

    Viet Nam entered the following reservation -- "The said Protocol is only binding on the Government of Viet Nam as regards those States which have signed and ratified the Protocol or have acceded thereto; The said Protocol shall cease to be binding on the Government of Viet Nam in regard to any enemy State whose armed forces, or the armed forces of whose Allies, fail to respect the prohibitions laid down in the Protocol."


    Y    [top]
  • Yemen, acceded 17 March 1971
  • Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), signed 27 June 1925, ratified 28 February 1929

    Yugoslavia entered the following reservation -- "The said Protocol shall cease to be binding on the government of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in regard to any enemy State whose armed forces or whose allies fail to respect the prohibitions which are the object of this Protocol."

    [Note: although the legal relationship between the Yugoslavia that ratified the Geneva Protocol and the current state of Serbia and Montenegro is ambiguous, the latter claims to be a party to the Protocol by virtue of the former's deposit (submission by Serbia and Montenegro to the 1540 committee, as reproduced in UN doc. S/AC.44/2004/(02)/100/Add.1, dated 23 January 2006)]

Explanatory Note -- non-deposits of instruments

Under international law, to become a party to a treaty a state must deposit a relevant instrument with the depositary power (in the case of the Geneva Protocol this is France).
While a number of states believe themselves to be parties to the Geneva Protocol as they have made public statements to that effect they are not parties unless they have deposited a relevant instrument with the French Government. An example of this is Belarus -- On 2 March 1970 the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic stated that "it recognizes itself to be a Party" to the Geneva Protocol of 1925 (United Nations document A/8052, Annex,III).

States claiming succession also need to deposit a relevant instrument with the French Government. Confirming this, the Embassy of France in Stockholm wrote to SIPRI on 26 August 1970 saying "The French Government is of the opinion that a general statement of continuity by a country attaining independence is not sufficient for a depositary power for an international convention to consider that state as being bound by that convention" [unofficial translation]. Notwithstanding this, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA -- an agency of the US Government) used to include on its list of parties to the Geneva Protocol a category: "By virtue of agreement with former parent State or notification to the Secretary General of the United Nations of succession to treaty rights and obligations upon independence". This category included Bahamas, Botswana, Burma, Guyana, Seychelles and Singapore. These states do not appear in recent lists of parties to the Geneva Protocol produced by the US Department of State (the department that inherited ACDA's resposibilities) based on information supplied by the French Government, nor do they appear on similar lists compiled by the United Nations Department for Disarmament Affairs.

Explanatory Note -- reservations

For the purposes of this document, reservations are divided into three categories: "explicit", "implicit" and "withdrawn".

Explicit reservations are those that have been made explicitly by the state concerned and are recorded in the list above. Most take the form of (1) limiting the remit of the protocol as only binding in relation to states that have become party to it and (2) reserving a right to use the methods of warfare prohibited by the protocol if the state is subject to an attack by such methods. The first of these may be interpreted as superfluous as the protocol itself stipulates that the contracting parties agree to be bound "as between themselves" or this may be interpreted as those states putting down such a reservation believe the protocol to prohibit all uses of the methods of warfare covered therein.
States with remaining explicit reservations include: Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, Fiji, India, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, DPRK, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Korea, Syria, Thailand, USA, Viet Nam and Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro).

Implicit reservations are those that derive from succession of states in circumstances where the predecessor state had a reservation at the time of independence. Some states with implicit reservations may have inherited them without realising the significance of them. Article 20.1 of the 1978 Vienna Convention on the Succession of States in Respect of Treaties is clear about reservations: "When a newly independent State establishes its status as a party or as a contracting State to a multilateral treaty by a notification of succession ... it shall be considered as maintaining any reservation to that treaty which was applicable at the date of the succession of States in respect of the territory to which the succession of States relates unless, when making the notification of succession, it expresses a contrary intention or formulates a reservation which relates to the same subject-matter as that reservation." This convention codifies what had been the established legal doctrine. Therefore, any state which (i) made a declaration of succession (in whatever form) from a predecessor state which had a reservation in force at the time; and (ii) neither made any mention of the reservation in that declaration nor disassociated itself from the reservation at a later date may be said to have implicitly accepted the reservation.
Any state which decided to accede to the protocol rather than be considered a successor state would not be affected by any reservation made by the predecessor state.
States with remaining implicit reservations include: Cyprus, Gambia, Grenada, Indonesia, Jamaica, Lesotho, the Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Niger, Pakistan, Rwanda, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Trinidad and Tobago.

Withdrawn reservations are those that have been explicitly withdrawn by the state in question.
States known to have withdrawn their reservations include: Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Czechoslovakia (as was), Estonia, France, Ireland, Mongolia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Spain and the UK.


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