The Homicide case of a North Korean: The use of nerve agent VX

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A century ago, the development, production and use of biological and chemical weapons have been prohibited by international treaties signed by most world countries. Among the most important treaties are the 1925 Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention for the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is the international authority set up by in the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, is in charge of taking practical arrangements with regards to matters involving chemical weapons. As of yet, no organization similar to the OPCW with regards to biological weapons exists.

O-Ethyl S-2-diisopropylaminoethyl methyl phosphonothioate – better known as VX – is one of the nerve agents designated as a Schedule I chemical warfare agent according to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons, also regarding their destruction. VX can be manufactured using relatively simple chemical methods and inexpensive and readily available raw materials, which has turned VX into a feared second ‘nuclear weapon’ of less technologically developed countries. Previously, nerve agents have been designated as chemical warfare agents due to their use in warfare.

Nevertheless, chemical warfare agents such as Sarin and Soman have recently become a popular choice for non-state entities in situations outside the battlefield. The infamous 2017 case of a North Korean assassinated at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport using a poisonous fluid believed to be VX will be examined in detail in this article.

On the morning of 13 February 2017…

Read the full article for free in our NCT Magazine! Part 1 can be read in our October issue & part 2 in our November issue!