The International Legal Regime Affecting Bioterrorism Prevention

3 National Security Law Journal (2014)

44 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2014

See all articles by Eric Merriam

Eric Merriam

University of Central Florida

Date Written: June 1, 2014


For decades the international legal regime governing biological weapons was focused on limiting states' development, possession, and use of biological weapons. Though rogue states' interest in biological weapons remains a concern, a newer and perhaps more significant issue is the ability of non-state actors -- terrorists -- to develop and use bioweapons, with or without state assistance. This article provides a description and assessment of the existing international legal infrastructure regarding the prevention of bioterrorism, focusing on non-proliferation. Though primarily focused on the modern era's two major international legal mechanisms affecting bioterrorism -- the Biological Weapons Convention and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 -- other agreements are noted for completeness.

Policy assessment of broader concepts of global governance of terrorism and bioterrorism, including discussion regarding the advent of extra-legal bioterrorism deterrence methods, are outside the scope of the article. Rather, it focuses on existing "binding" legal mechanisms that directly affect bioterrorism prevention. The article discusses the advantages and problems of each instrument as it is addressed, before concluding with comments regarding the current "net effect" of the cumulative legal mechanisms and offering brief recommendations for improvement.

Suggested Citation

Merriam, Eric, The International Legal Regime Affecting Bioterrorism Prevention (June 1, 2014). 3 National Security Law Journal (2014). Available at SSRN:

Eric Merriam (Contact Author)

University of Central Florida ( email )

4000 Central Florida Blvd
Orlando, FL 32816-1400
United States
407-823-1670 (Phone)

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics