CTBT Article XIV Entry Into Force Clause

11 Jun, 1999    ·   200

Kalpana Chittaranjan says the general elections in India in September 1999, and the non-ratification of the CTBT by USA, Russia and China, will definitely delay its entry into force

An important deadline will be reached in September this year pertaining to entry into force (EIF) of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).  The Treaty prohibits "any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion."  Though it does not define what constitutes a "nuclear explosion", the negotiating history of the Treaty makes clear that the zero-yield criteria proposed by President Clinton has been established. Hence, the treaty bans very low yield "hydronuclear' tests and other "small" yield explosions which had been initially advocated by the nuclear-weapon states.  The Treaty is aimed at preventing qualitative improvements in the nuclear weapons held by the nuclear-weapon and 'threshold' states ( India , Pakistan , Israel ),  discouraging other states from seeking nuclear weapons, and  reducing the patently discriminatory nature of the nuclear non-proliferation regime.



Clinton, along with representatives of 70 other countries, which included the four other declared nuclear-weapon states (Britain, China, France and Russia), signed the CTBT on September 24, 1996, the day the Treaty was formally opened for signature.  By the end of July 1998, 150 states had signed, but only 17 countries have ratified the treaty to date, including nine of the 44 identified states which must ratify the treaty to ensure its entry into force.The entry into force clause  of the Treaty is to be found in Article XIV of the Treaty which states:



1.  This Treaty shall enter into force 180 days after the date of deposit of the instruments of ratification by all States     listed in Annex 2 to this Treaty, but in no case earlier than two years after its opening for signature.



2. If this Treaty has not entered into force three years after the date of the anniversary of its opening for signature, the Depositary shall convene a Conference of the States that have already deposited their instruments of ratification on the request of a majority of those States.  That Conference shall examine the extent to which the requirement set out in paragraph 1 has been met and shall consider and decide by consensus what measures consistent with international law may be undertaken to accelerate the ratification process in order to facilitate the early entry into force of this Treaty.



3. Unless otherwise decided by the Conference referred to in paragraph 2 or other such conferences, this process shall be repeated at subsequent anniversaries of the opening for signature of this Treaty, until its entry into force.



The CTBT faces a serious obstacle today because of its rigid EIF provision. Article XIV seems to mock the USA , which is at the forefront of efforts to ensure India 's signing/ratifying the CTBT.  Article XIV clearly visualises that the Treaty cannot come into force until it has been signed and ratified by the five nuclear-weapon States, the three former threshold States and 36 other identified countries that are listed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as possessing nuclear power and research reactors.  Most signatories are waiting for the USA , Russia and China to ratify the Treaty (Britain and France having ratified it in April 1999).President Clinton had transmitted the agreement to the Senate in September 1997 for its consent to ratification.  However, due to Senate inaction, the US leadership role in ending nuclear testing and curbing nuclear proliferation has been undermined.



Speaking at the General Assembly on September 24, 1998, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said: "We are prepared to bring these discussions with the US and others to a successful conclusion, so that the EIF of the CTBT is not delayed beyond September 1999."  He added the proviso, "We expect that other countries, as indicated in Article 14 of the CTBT, will adhere to this Treaty without conditions."  The reaction of Congress(I) to this statement is that any decision will require a national consensus.  However, since the present government has only a caretaker status and the next Union Government will to be in place only in the third week of October, after the general elections, Indian foreign policy should be on hold.  In an article published in The Hindu on May 10, 1999, entitled, "Doubts over CTBT ratification," Mr Natwar Singh, Congress(I) foreign policy spokesman has commented that there was not much hope for a consensus on the CTBT before the elections this September.  The same article carries Dr George Perkovich's comment "The CTBT is in big, big trouble in Washington , which also means in Moscow and Beijing India and Pakistan not signing it deepens the trouble but does not cause it."



In conclusion, it can be stated with certainty that due to the general elections  in India in September 1999, and the non-ratification of the CTBT, so far, of USA , Russia and China , its entry into force will be definitely delayed.