The Purpose of the CTBT|
By banning all nuclear explosions, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) will:
- Constrain the development and qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons;
- End the development of advanced new types of nuclear weapons;
- Contribute to the prevention of nuclear proliferation and the process of nuclear disarmament; and
- Strengthen international peace and security.
The CTBT thus marks an historic milestone in our efforts to reduce the nuclear threat and
build a safer world.
The CTBT Parties
The CTBT was negotiated in the Geneva Conference on Disarmament (CD), recently expanded to
include 61 member states, between January 1994 and August 1996. The Treaty shall be open
to all states for signature before its entry into force, and any state can accede to the
Treaty after that date. Thus, its participation can be universal.
CTBT's Central Features
- Structure. The Treaty itself includes a Protocol in three parts: Part I
detailing the International Monitoring System (IMS); Part II on On-Site Inspections (OSI);
and Part III on Confidence Building Measures. There are also two Annexes to the Protocol:
Annex 1 detailing the location of various treaty monitoring assets associated with the IMS;
and Annex 2 detailing the parameters for screening events.
- Basic obligations. The CTBT will ban any nuclear weapon test explosion or any
other nuclear explosion, consistent with President Clinton's August 11, 1995 decision to
negotiate a true zero yield CTBT.
- Organization. The Treaty establishes an organization to ensure the implementation
of its provisions, including those for international verification measures. The organization
includes a Conference of States Parties, an Executive Council and a Technical Secretariat,
which shall include the International Data Center.
- Verification and inspections. The Treaty's verification regime includes an
international monitoring system composed of seismological, radionuclide, hydroacoustic
and infrasound monitoring; consultation and clarification; on-site inspections; and
confidence building measures. The use of national technical means, vital for the Treaty's
verification regime, is explicitly provided for. Requests for on-site inspections must be
approved by at least 30 affirmative votes of members of the Treaty's 51-member Executive
Council. The Executive Council must act within 96 hours of receiving a request for an inspection.
- Treaty compliance and sanctions. The Treaty provides for measures to redress
a situation and to ensure compliance, including sanctions, and for settlement of disputes.
If the Conference or Executive Council determines that a case is of particular gravity,
it can bring the issue to the attention of the United Nations.
- Amendments. Any state party to the Treaty may propose an amendment to the
Treaty, the Protocol, or the Annexes to the Protocol. Amendments shall be considered
by an Amendment Conference and shall be adopted by a positive vote of a majority of the
States parties with no State party casting a negative vote.
- Entry into force. The Treaty will 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. Annex 2
includes 44 States members of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) with nuclear power
and/or research reactors. If the Treaty has not entered into force three years after
the date of the anniversary of its opening for signature, a conference of the States
that have already deposited their instruments of ratification may convene annually to
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.
- Review. Ten years after entry into force, a Conference of the States Parties
will be held to review the operation and effectiveness of this Treaty.
- Duration. The Treaty is of unlimited duration. Each State Party has the
right to withdraw from the CTBT if it decides that extraordinary events related to its
subject matter have jeopardized its supreme national interests.
- Depository. The Secretary General of the United Nations shall be the
Depository of this Treaty and shall receive signatures, instruments of ratification
and instruments of accession.