Published: 31 March 2023 Author: Stefan Talmon
Throughout the year, Germany makes numerous statements on international law. Not all these statements form part of a case study presented on GPIL. However, these statements may nevertheless be of interest to international lawyers. We therefore compile these statements on a monthly basis.
1 September 2021
In a parliamentary question the Federal Government was asked about the application of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on board of German ships. The Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Health Thomas Gebhart replied:
“With regard to the application of the GDPR on board ships, it should be noted that according to the law of the sea the flag state principle applies. Article 90 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) governs the right of States to allow ships to fly their flag. The second sentence of Article 91(1) UNCLOS stipulates that ships have the nationality of the State whose flag they fly. According to the principles of international law, German law applies on board a ship flying the German flag. This includes the applicable national data protection law as well as the GDPR as directly applicable [European] Union law.”
1-2 September 2021
Germany co-convened, together with three other States, a hybrid Ministerial Conference on Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution in Geneva and online. The Conference adopted a ministerial statement which read in part:
“Thus, we highlight the necessity for a Global Agreement, aligned with the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, that is based on a clear and common vision with ambitious objectives, suitable indicators, and the measures necessary to achieve the elimination or minimization of all negative impacts of plastic throughout its life cycle, including the significant reduction and progressive elimination of direct and indirect discharges of plastic into the environment, and the reduction of virgin plastic production. In our view, the Agreement could:
a. Be based on a precautionary approach, polluter pays and other relevant environmental and Rio Declaration principles, and acknowledge the devastating impact of global plastic pollution on ecosystems, human health, the climate and livelihoods. The Agreement should cover all international gaps recognized by the AHEG [Ad Hoc Open-ended Expert Group on Marine Litter and Microplastics] and complement and enhance the coordination with existing regional and global instruments such as the Basel Convention, while avoiding duplication of efforts.
6 September 2021
In response to a parliamentary question on the status of the Lukashenko government in Belarus the Secretary of State at the Federal Foreign Office Antje Leendertse stated:
“The Federal Government, like the other member States of the European Union and a large number of international partners, does not recognise the result of the elections on 9 August 2020, which were neither free nor fair. From the point of view of the Federal Government, Alexander Lukashenko’s term of office has therefore got no democratic legitimacy.”
6 September 2021
In response to a parliamentary question of whether Germany should maintain diplomatic relations with the regime established by the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Secretary of State at the Federal Foreign Office Miguel Berger stated:
“The Federal Government recognizes States, not governments. In principle, diplomatic relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan continue.”
6 September 2021
In a parliamentary question the Federal Government was asked whether it shared the view that Alexander Lukashenko and the government he has appointed are not to be recognized as the legitimate leaders of Belarus. The Secretary of State at the Federal Foreign Office Antje Leendertse replied:
“The Federal Government, like the other member States of the European Union and a large number of international partners, does not recognise the result of the elections on 9 August 2020, which were neither free nor fair. From the point of view of the Federal Government, Alexander Lukashenko’s term of office is therefore not based on the will of the people.”
6 September 2021
In a parliamentary question the Federal Government was asked about the progress of the negotiations on the adaptation of the Energy Charter Treaty to the aims of the Paris Climate Agreement and whether the Government was of the opinion that a withdrawal from the Treaty should be prepared in case of a collapse of the negotiations. The Secretary of State at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy Andreas Feicht stated:
“The Federal Government supports the negotiations to modernise the Energy Charter Treaty and, together with the EU and the other EU member States, is committed to ensuring that the common negotiation goals, including adaptation to the Paris Climate Agreement, can be achieved as quickly as possible. In view of the 20-year sunset clause in particular, the Federal Government is of the opinion that a modernisation of the Treaty in line with the goals set out in the EU negotiation guidelines is generally preferable to other options. At the current stage of the proceedings, the focus should be on the ongoing modernisation negotiations and not on preparations for a possible withdrawal.”
7 September 2021
In reply to parliamentary questions on the situation of German companies in Afghanistan, the Federal Government stated generally:
“With investment protection agreements, States ensure that their investors enjoy protection under international law against certain State interventions in the respective host state. Such treaties are intended to ensure a uniform understanding of investment protection and its practical implementation in the contracting States, since the legal and factual conditions for protecting investments in some countries do not always correspond to the understanding of the rule of law in Germany. Without an investment protection treaty, the foreign investor might have to rely on uncertain avenues of action before national courts in the host country or on diplomatic interventions by its government towards the foreign government in order to protect its investment against arbitrary administrative action such as expropriation without compensation.”
7 September 2021
In reply to parliamentary questions on the implementation of the Safe Schools Declaration, the Federal Government stated:
“The Federal Government attaches great importance to the protection of children in armed conflicts. This also includes the protection of schools and other educational institutions in accordance with international humanitarian law and the ‘Safe Schools Declaration’. […] The Federal Government endorsed the declaration in 2018 and welcomed the fact that 109 States have now signed up to the declaration.”
8 September 2021
Statement by Ambassador Günter Sautter at the High-level Plenary Meeting of the UN General Assembly to commemorate and promote the International Day against Nuclear Tests
“More than 2,000 nuclear tests have taken place since the beginning of the nuclear age. […] the road to a world without nuclear weapons first passes through a world without nuclear testing.
Ending nuclear testing once and for all will constrain both the proliferation and the development of nuclear weapons. It will strengthen responsibility in nuclear affairs and facilitate nuclear disarmament.
Twenty-five years ago, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was opened for signature. It now has 170 ratifications and 185 signatures. […] Clearly, a universal norm against nuclear testing is in the making. For that process to become irreversible the CTBT must eventually enter into force, a step long overdue. […] We call on China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States of America to enable the CTBT to finally enter into force.”
10 September 2021
In an information memorandum on Germany’s Cyber Security Strategy 20221, the Federal Government gave a definition of international law which read as follows:
“International law is the central element of the rules-based international order. International law is a legal system that was created and is being developed through the cooperation of sovereign, equal States and, if applicable, other subjects of international law on the basis of mutual agreement. Unlike domestic legal systems, there is no overarching central legislature creating universal rights and obligations to which all States must adhere. Rather, this happens through self-commitment, since the acceptance and validity of international law as a whole can be traced back to an intergovernmental principle of consensus. Accordingly, international agreements (the so-called international treaty law) or a State practice that is supported by a corresponding legal conviction (so-called customary international law) as well as the rules recognized domestically by most states, which are also transferrable to the international level (so-called general legal principles), are binding legal sources of international law.”
13 September 2021
Speaking in front of the Human Rights Council, Federal Foreign Minister Maas said, inter alia:
“[T]he human rights situation is concerning in many other parts of the world […]. We speak up about the detention of ethnic minorities like the Uighurs, and the disrespect for civil liberties in Hong Kong. We encourage you, Madam High Commissioner, to visit China – and we call on Beijing to allow for unrestricted access.”
This statement, however, did not go unchallenged. Exercising the right of reply, the Chinese delegation stated:
“German Foreign Minister, abusing the platform of the Human Rights Council, made groundless accusations against China based on disinformationand deliberately provoked confrontation, which China firmly opposes and categorically rejects. […]
At present, Xinjiang enjoys social stability and economic prosperity, and people in Xinjiang live a peaceful and enjoyable life. The so-called “detention of Uyghurs” is nothing but malicious slander.
The High Commissioner’s visit to China isto be a friendly visit. Any attempt to make the visit a so-called “investigation” under the presumption of guilt is doomed to failure. Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China. Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs which brook no external interference. […]
China urges certain countries to immediately halt political manipulation under the pretext of Xinjiang and Hong Kong related issues with the attempt to interfere in China’s internal affairs and retard China’s development. If these countries continue to fabricate lies and disinformation and use human rights as a tool to serve their political agenda, they will be disdained and rejected by the international community.”
13 September 2021
During the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council, Germany joined 47 other States in a statement on the Situation of Human Rights in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia which read in part as follows:
“We remain gravely concerned by ongoing violence in northern Ethiopia. The Ethiopian government and regional authorities’ cutting off of Tigray – and the TPLF’s expansion of the conflict into neighbouring regions – have caused a humanitarian catastrophe.
We are deeply concerned by numerous reports of Eritrean Defense Forces’ engagement in serious human rights abuses, and we call on them to withdraw immediately.
We are deeply concerned about the killing of civilians and humanitarian workers, as well as sexual and gender-based violence and attacks on Eritrean refugees and displaced persons in Ethiopia.
Those responsible for human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law must be held accountable.”
14 September 2021
During the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council, Germany joined 50 other States in a joint statement on the human rights situation in Afghanistan which read in part as follows:
“We are deeply concerned by the reports of serious international humanitarian law violations and human rights violations and abuses in areas across Afghanistan, and condemn all arbitrary and extrajudicial killings of civilians and peaceful protesters, violence against civilians, sexual and gender based violence, child, early and forced marriage and sexual slavery, as well as the destruction of critical infrastructure and looting of cultural heritage committed by the Taliban and/or terrorist groups. […]
Recalling that Afghanistan is a State Party to many core international human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, we urge those holding power and authority on the ground to protect civilians and respect human rights and international humanitarian law. Accountability for serious human rights violations and abuses and international humanitarian law violations must be ensured. No crime should go unpunished.”
16 September 2021
On 15 September 2021, the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea tested a new railway-borne missile system firing two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan. The following day, a Federal Foreign Office spokesperson issued the following statement:
“The German Government vehemently condemns the recent testing of two ballistic missiles by North Korea. The repeated ballistic missile tests by North Korea constitute serious violations of international law and of the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, and jeopardise international and regional stability and security. The testing of a new cruise missile at the weekend has also heightened tensions in an irresponsible manner.
The German Government calls on North Korea once again to abide by its obligations under international law, to accept the offer of talks put forward by the United States and South Korea and to enter into serious negotiations. North Korea is bound to the complete, verifiable and irreversible ending of its programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles.”
16 September 2021
On 12 May 2021, the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations Geneva and other International Organizations wrote on Twitter: “Transparent & independent investigation into Human Rights violations in Tigray is needed. Germany supports the joint investigation by UN Human Rights and [Ethiopian Human Rights Commission].” In a parliamentary question the Federal Government was asked why it supported an investigation of human rights violations in Tigray by the Ethiopian Commission of Human Rights which allegedly was not neutral and impartial and whose interim reports were contradicted by reports of human rights organisations such as Amnesty International. The Secretary of State at the Federal Foreign Office Miguel Berger replied:
“Investigating and clarifying reports of the most serious human rights violations in Tigray is an important element in ensuring that those responsible are held accountable and further human rights violations are prevented. The Federal Government is therefore supporting the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) with a grant for the joint investigation with the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC). Conducting a joint investigation with the EHRC has been accepted by the Ethiopian Government and has thus allowed access to the affected areas. The involvement of a regional partner also offers the chance for the results being more broadly acceptable in the Ethiopian population. The Federal Government is of the opinion that, despite the difficult conditions, a report involving the OHCHR will meet the requirements of impartiality and neutrality.
The joint investigation thus represents an important step towards clarifying and punishing the most serious human rights violations that were committed during the conflict in northern Ethiopia.”
20 September 2021
In response to a parliamentary question the Secretary of State at the Federal Foreign Office Miguel Berger stated that Germany contributed sixteen police officers and two civilian experts to United Nations missions.
20 September 2021
In response to a parliamentary question concerning the impact of the investment arbitration in Vattenfall AB and others v. Federal Republic of Germany (II) on the out of court settlement with the Swedish energy company Vattenfall AB, the Secretary of State at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy Claudia Dörr-Voß stated:
“In section 10(1) of the agreement, which was concluded on 25 March 2021 between the Federal Republic of Germany and the energy companies, the position of the Federal Government on the non-applicability of the Energy Charter Treaty for intra-EU arbitration proceedings becomes clear. The European Court of Justice explicitly confirmed this interpretation in its judgment of 2 September 2021 in Case C-741/19 (“République de Moldavie/Komstroy”). The international arbitration ARB/12/12 did not affect the amount of the compensation paid.”
21 September 2021
In a parliamentary question, the Federal Government was asked to clarify the terms “rules-based international order” and “international law” and to elaborate on the differences between the two terms. The Government replied:
“The terms ‘international law’ and ‘rules-based international order’ complement each other. The rules-based international order is a political concept, international law a legal one.
In addition to the legally binding rules of international law, the rules-based international order also includes non-binding rules, standards and codes of conduct. The political term also refers to various international forums and their decision-making rules and negotiation processes.
International law refers to legally binding rules governing the relations of subjects of international law, in particular States. It includes international agreements of a general or specific nature, such as the United Nations Charter or the Convention on Human Rights, but also international customary law and general principles of law.”
22 September 2021
On 17-19 September 2021, elections to the State Duma of the Russian Federation were also held in the territory of the occupied Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine. Asked about the legality of these elections, the deputy government spokesperson stated:
“In addition, the illegal annexation of Crimea constitutes a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and is not recognized by Germany. As a result, we naturally do not recognize the holding of elections in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia.
The systematic issue of Russian passports to residents of the separatist-controlled areas of Ukraine’s Donbass – now numbering 600,000 – to enable them to vote in the Duma elections is also a violation of international law.”
22 September 2021
The foreign ministers of the G4 States – Brazil, Germany, India and Japan – issued a joined press statement on UN Security Council reform which read in part:
“1. […] The Ministers underlined the urgency of reforming the Security Council in order to make it more legitimate, effective and representative by reflecting the reality of the contemporary world including developing countries and major contributors. […]
3. The G4 Ministers expressed their strong determination to work towards launching text-based negotiations without further delay in the IGN [Intergovernmental Negotiations], on the basis of a single document, with a view to its adoption in the General Assembly. […]
4. The G4 Ministers reaffirmed that it is indispensable to reform the Security Council through an expansion of both categories, permanent and non-permanent seats, to enable the Security Council to better deal with the ever-complex and evolving challenges to the maintenance of international peace and security, and thereby to carry out its duties more effectively. In this context, the Ministers expressed their strong support to the Common African Position (CAP) as enshrined in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration.
5. The G4 Ministers reiterated their support for each others candidatures as aspiring new permanent members in a reformed Security Council.”
22 September 2021
During the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council, Germany joined 65 other States in a Statement on Women, Peace and Diplomacy which read in part as follows:
“More than 70 years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth. However, in reality, discrimination, either de jure or de facto, persists, even in the diplomatic arena.
The work of the UN is based on three pillars: peace and security, development, and human rights. It is imperative that we work together to preserve all three of them.
Resolution 1325 of the UN Security Council and other relevant resolutions and statements address the human rights of women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations and calls for their participation in peacebuilding and conflict prevention.
These documents integrate the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with the other pillars of the UN and brings forward the need to work harder to implement a gender perspective and women’s human rights into the agenda of all international bodies.
The CEDAW reminds us in its preamble that ‘the welfare of the world and the cause of peace require the maximum participation of women on equal terms with men in all fields’ and requires equal participation of women at the international level. Moreover, the CEDAW Committee has expressed that ‘integration of a gender perspective and women’s human rights into the agenda of all international bodies is a government imperative’.
With the adoption of Agenda 2030 and the SDGs, the International Community ratified a strong commitment to the realization of gender equality, peace and education. It is not only an objective, but also a driver of sustainable development.
Although the contribution of women to peace building is increasingly recognized, the role of women in preventive diplomacy has so far been quite limited. We need to have women’s voices influencing an agenda for human rights, development, security and peace.”
22 September 2021
In response to parliamentary questions on Germany’s involvement in research and development of nuclear weapons and components, the Federal Government set out Germany’s participation in NATO’s Nuclear Sharing Arrangements, stating:
“The Federal Republic of Germany has renounced the manufacture, acquisition, possession and disposal of nuclear weapons under international law. The Federal Government will meet these obligations at all times. The Federal Government is committed to NATO’s nuclear sharing arrangements. Germany’s contribution is an important part of the Alliance’s credible preventive deterrence strategy.
In the context of the Alliance, nuclear sharing arrangements are understood to mean the participation of NATO member States in the Alliance’s nuclear planning and the related burden sharing. Within this framework, some NATO members are providing appropriate forces and carrier systems.
At the same time, the Federal Government, like the Alliance as a whole, remains committed to the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons in peace and security and is pursuing a pragmatic, step-by-step approach of concrete nuclear disarmament measures.
NATO’s nuclear deterrence capabilities is based, inter alia, on US nuclear weapons deployed in Europe and on capabilities and infrastructure provided by allies. In the German context, the basis for this cooperation is the agreement between the government of the United States of America and the government of the Federal Republic of Germany on the uses of atomic energy for mutual defence purposes of 5 May 1959 (United Nations Treaty Series [Volume] 355 No. 5083).
As a consequence of the burden sharing as part of NATOS’s nuclear sharing arrangements the alliance partners concerned provide capabilities such as nuclear delivery systems, forces or the necessary infrastructure, while nuclear weapons are provided exclusively by the United States.”
23 September 2021
In a statement on the occasion of the handing over of the Co-Presidency of the Article XIV Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said: “Nuclear tests pose a grave threat to international peace and security and to human health.”
23 September 2021
During the Security Council Open Debate on Climate and Security, the German representative submitted the following written statement on behalf of the Group of Friends on Climate and Security, which had a membership of almost sixty countries from around the world:
“The Security Council has a critical role to play [in addressing the security implications of climate change], given its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, the agenda item framing today’s debate. Far too much time has passed since the last, and to date only, Security Council product explicitly on climate and security – the Presidential Statement 2011/15 more than ten years ago. Nevertheless, we welcome the acceleration of tangible progress we see in the Council’s work on this important issue. We acknowledge and welcome that the Council has recognised the need to integrate the effects of climate change in peacekeeping and special political mission mandates in West Africa and the Sahel, Somalia, Mali, Sudan, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Cyprus, and Iraq, and these are all steps in the right direction, but more needs to be done to ensure a more a structured and systematic approach to addressing the impacts of climate change on peace and security.
The Informal Expert Group of Members of the Security Council has grown into a useful forum for improving our understanding of complex country situations thus better informing its work and decision.
The Group of Friends has been calling on this Council to create the necessary tools to enable the UN to do its part in preventing and resolving conflict that are, at least in part, driven by the effects of climate change – as many of today’s conflicts are and more of tomorrow’s will be.
Once more we are calling for concrete, tangible actions to be considered:
- Regular reporting by the Secretary-General on the security implications of climate change.
- The appointment of a Special Representative for Climate and Security who could improve the United Nations ability to address climate-related security risks.
- Climate-related early warning systems, conflict prevention, mediation, and peacebuilding.
- Adequate consideration of climate risks in mandates of all relevant peacekeeping and special political missions.
- Enhanced capacity through mandated training for all relevant UN personnel to analyse and address the implications of climate change on peace and security and humanitarian crises.
- Strengthened cooperation with civil society, and other regional and national actors, including national weather services and regional climate centres, on climate-related security risks to ensure the UN’s work can benefit from profound local expertise.
These proposals have been put forward repeatedly in the Security Council. Last year, a group of Security Council members translated them into a draft resolution. A thematic resolution would provide the framework needed to translate these proposals into action. The Group of Friends would very much welcome the consideration of such an ambitious resolution by the Council.[…] The evidence is clear. Climate change is a threat to international peace and security. […] the Security Council must live up to its primary responsibility under the Charter to address threats to international peace and security – and in this context to address threats that climate change poses and will increasingly pose.”
24 September 2021
During the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council, Germany joined 25 other States and the European Union in a statement on human rights situations that require the Council’s attention which read in part as follows:
“We remain deeply concerned about the repeated cycles of violence and loss of human lives in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel. The Palestinian population continues to face repeated human rights violations and abuses. The worsening humanitarian and human rights situation in the Gaza Strip remains of grave concern and we call for an end to the closure, full opening of the crossing points, and unimpeded access for humanitarian actors. […] while recognising Israel’s right to defend itself, and underlines that this right must be exercised in a proportionate manner and in full respect of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. […] Settlements are illegal under international law. We strongly oppose to Israeli settlement policy and activities, including demolitions and confiscation – including of EU funded projects – evictions, forced transfers including of Bedouins, illegal outposts, settler violence and restrictions of movement and access that will only escalate an already tense environment.”
During the same meeting the group of Sates also commented on the human rights situation in China saying:
“[W]e reiterate our call on China to comply with its obligations under national and international law to respect and protect human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities, especially in Xinjiang and Tibet and in Inner Mongolia. We continue to be gravely concerned about the existence of a large network of political re-education camps, widespread surveillance, systemic restrictions on freedom of religion or belief against Uighurs and other persons belonging to minorities, as well as by evidence-based reports about forced labour, forced sterilisation, forced birth control and sexual and gender-based violence. […] . Furthermore, we call upon UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies, in particular the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, to review the application of the core human rights treaties, including in XUAR. We also call on China to ratify without delay the ICCPR, and ILO Conventions No 29 (including its 2014 protocol) and 105 on Forced Labour. […] We urge China to ensure full respect for the rule of law, to establish fair trial and due process guarantees and to investigate thoroughly reported cases of arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment, and harassment of human rights defenders and their families, as well as to discontinue the practice of the Residential Surveillance in a Designed Location (RSDL).”
27 September 2021
Speaking at the Berlin Climate and Security Conference, Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said:
“Climate change is the existential threat of our time – for all humankind. […] But climate change goes far beyond environmental, financial and economic challenges. It threatens peace and security worldwide:
- Food insecurity and migration caused by extreme weather events undermine social and political cohesion, particularly in fragile states.
- The lack of water deepens conflicts between states.
- Heavy rainfall and storms affect military and peacekeeping operations.
- And melting ice caps expand geopolitical competition to new parts of the world.”
28 September 2021
On the International Day for Universal Access to Information, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance joined her counterparts in eight other European countries in a joint declaration which reads in the relevant part:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of expression including freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds. Freedom of access to information promotes enjoyment of human rights and strengthens democracy.
We call for an end to Internet shutdowns, censorship and disinformation that infringes upon the enjoyment of human rights. […].”
28 September 2021
At around 6:40 a.m. local time on 28 September 2021, North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan, just as the country’s permanent representative to the United Nations spoke at the U.N. General Assembly. On the same day, the Federal Foreign Office issued the following statement:
“The Federal Government vehemently condemns today’s test of a short-range missile by North Korea. With this test, North Korea has once again violated its obligations under relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and endangered international and regional security and stability.
The Federal Government urgently calls on North Korea to abide by its obligations under international law, to accept the offer of talks put forward by the United States and South Korea and to enter into serious negotiations. North Korea remains bound to the complete, verifiable and irreversible ending of its programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles.”