The Hague Code of Conduct (HCoC) is an international code of conduct governing the development and deployment of missiles, which was adopted in 2002. The original intention of the Hague Code of Conduct was to help reduce inter-state tensions and prevent accidental use of a ballistic missile. This aim was achieved through the agreement of all participants to refrain from conducting tests of, launching ballistic missiles in, or developing ballistic missiles. The original Hague Code of Conduct was signed by nine countries including the US, UK, France, Russia, Germany, and China. The ninth country signed, later on, was India in 2016.
It is a multilateral treaty that addresses missile proliferation by placing limits on ballistic missile development and deployment. The Hague Code of Conduct was originally signed in September 1987 by France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States as a response to concerns about missile proliferation and what at the time was called "the Soviet Missile Threat. There are currently 143 members which are a part of the Hague Code of Conduct.
What are Ballistic Missiles?
The Hague Code of Conduct covers all ballistic missiles which are conventionally powered. A ballistic missile is rocket-powered by a rocket engine, or in some cases has separate stages using rockets. Ballistic missiles are further divided into three types:
Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM), Intermediate-range Ballistic Missile (IRBM), and Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM).
The original Hague Code of Conduct did not cover long-range cruise missiles (LRMC) which have speeds over Mach 3, or a high thrust to weight ratio. Other missile types managed by the Hague Code of Conduct include kinetic energy weapons and non-explosive munitions.
Hague Code of Conduct Objective
The main objective of the Hague Code of Conduct is to bind its signatories not to develop, test or deploy the following long-range ballistic missiles:
These missiles are commonly known as ICBM's intercontinental ballistic missiles that can travel before re-entry and deliver a payload up to. This is achieved through legal means. The treaty requires all the signatories to accede to the existing arms control agreements and international treaties covering the aforementioned matters.
The development, possession, proliferation and testing of these systems will become illegal under this treaty. Signatories are required to give the International Committee of the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations access to any missile site or missile launch area that is shut down. By doing this, the UN will also be able to monitor whether or not a signatory is abiding by the treaty. All signatory countries are also required to prevent their ballistic missile workers or technicians from working for any other country with prohibited missiles.
Features of Hague Code of Conduct
The following features of the Hague Code of Conduct are important:
There are two types of Violation.
- Use for terrorist attacks
- Development and Deployment of Missiles
Any signatory that violates the treaty must hand over ballistic missile weapons and their components to the UN for inspection. In case a country is found guilty, then it can be placed under sanctions by the UN Security Council or imposed in other ways through diplomacy.
The Hague Code of Conduct also addresses the fate of a second country that has violated the treaty towards an earlier signatory.
The Hague Code of Conduct is a multilateral treaty developed to promote peace and reduce the chance of an accidental conflict by limiting the development, possession and deployment of ballistic missiles. The main objective is to avoid accidental conflict caused by missile development, testing and deployments.
FAQs on Hague Code of Conduct
Q1: What is the origin of the Hague Code of Conduct?
Hague Code of Conduct was signed by nine countries including the US, UK, France and China.
Q2: Which countries are a part of the Hague Code of Conduct?
There are currently 143 members which are a part of the Hague Code of Conduct.
Q3: Is India a member of the Hague Code of Conduct?
India has joined the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation.
Q4. What was the purpose of the original Hague Code of Conduct?
The original intention of the Hague Code of Conduct was to help reduce inter-state tensions and prevent accidental use of a ballistic missile.