Fonds AL2922 - Chemical and Biological Warfare (CBW) Project Collection

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Chemical and Biological Warfare (CBW) Project Collection


  • 1968-2002 (Accumulation)

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1.6 linear metres ( 16 boxes)

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Biographical history

The Centre for Conflict Resolution, formerly known as the Centre for Intergroup Studies, is an independent non-profit organisation founded in 1968 by the University of Cape Town. Based in Cape Town, it works nationally and elsewhere in Africa to fulfil its mission:

To contribute towards a just and sustainable peace in South Africa and other African countries by promoting Constructive, creative and co-operative approaches to the resolution of conflict and the reduction of violence

The Centre engages in training, mediation, facilitation, crisis intervention, peace, education and research in pursuit of the following goals:

To provide third party assistance in the resolution of community and political conflicts.

To equip and empower individuals and groups with the skills to settle community conflicts in a constructive manner.

To participate in national and regional peace initiatives.

To promote public awareness of the value and practice of constructive conflict resolution

To contribute towards an understanding of conflict and violence.

To contribute to the transformation of South African society and its institutions by promoting democratic values.

To promote disarmament and demilitarisation in South And Southern Africa.

The CBW Project was launched in April 1999 and continued through 2002.

In general terms, the project aimed to deepen understanding of the creation, development and implementation of the apartheid era CBW programme; and to contribute to, and strengthen, international efforts to prevent the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons.

The research project was managed by the Centre for Conflict Resolution, whose Executive Director, Laurie Nathan and Project Co-ordinator, Guy Lamb provided the support necessary for the work.

Chandre Gould was the project's sole researcher.

A purpose of the project was to document thoroughly and further extend Revelations made at South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings on the chemical and biological warfare programme and briefly report on the final Truth and Reconciliation Commission submission to the people of South Africa.

The project made available a number of products intended to provide an overview of the SA CBW program and to assist future researchers to access documents pertaining to the programme.

The products include a database of publicly available military documents and documents from the CBW programme's front companies; approved transcripts of interviews conducted; background articles pertaining to chemical and biological warfare; press reports; exhibits in the trial of Wouter Basson(former head of SA's CBW programme) and academic journal articles.

In the latter part of 1999 the trial of Wouter Basson began at the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa. Dr Basson was charged by the state with a number of crimes related to South Africa's CBW programme. The trial continued throughout 2001 and into 2002.

An important part of the work of this project was to monitor this trial and linking information revealed in the trial with that already known. New evidence and inconsistencies in the evidence presented were identified. Weekly reports of the trial were prepared and distributed electronically.

These weekly reports were published on the CCR website, the Freedom of Expression Institute web site, and the Quarterly Journal of the Harvard Sussex Programme on CBW Armament and Arms Limitation: The CBW Conventions Bulletin.

The project had the following goals:

To organise and present the information gathered by the TRC investigators.

To collect new information through, inter alia, interviews, workshops and the study and analysis of official documents.

To provide an analysis of the history, origins, structures, organisational links, chain of authority, procurement networks and international support that made the CBW programme possible. Special attention was to be paid to how the programme was managed by and integrated (or otherwise) into the military.

To analyse and report on the products of the programme; the operations Conducted; the human rights violations that resulted; and certain unresolved questions.

To ascertain whether South African agents assisted other countries in developing CBW programmes.

To formulate recommendations of general international applicability in respect of ethical considerations; legal matters; professional conduct by doctors, scientists and others; public education; and national and international CBW control regimes.

To monitor and report on the trial of Wouter Basson.

To provide opportunities for a young black researcher to build his/her capacity, skills and knowledge by working with an experienced research team.

To disseminate the reports, databases and other information produced by the research team via the CCR website.

To prepare and edit the daily and weekly trial reports for publication as a book or monograph.

To conduct an international workshop at which the research results will be Presented to local experts and the project's international advisory panel.

To publish a monograph of the research results in collaboration with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR).

To conduct a workshop for scientists and technicians who were part of the CBW programme in order to examine the ethical difficulties they faced during and after their involvement.

To produce a Track Two occasional paper about the findings emanating from this workshop.

To produce additional papers for publication in medical or scientific journals.

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Chandre Gould was the project's sole researcher. This collection comprises a complete set of the research records generated or acquired by her. The set in the form of photocopies, was donated to SAHA by the Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR) through Chandre Gould in February 2002. CCR organisational records related to the project are not part of the collection. CCR intends to publish a selection of the Project Coast material on the website of the International Security Network (Zurich).

Gould is a freelance researcher, and was contracted to the CCR at the time of the donation. She was an investigator with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) from 1996 to 1999, with responsibility for the Commission's CBW investigation. Much of her TRC documentation was copied and brought into the project with TRC permission (see A1).

Project Coast documentation is numbered CBW1 - CBW144(gaps in these numbers do not reflect gaps in the documentation,rather problems with the original numbering system) Many of the Project Coast documents are in Afrikaans - Gould had these translated into English, and the translations are included with the documents.

The Wouter Basson trial was monitored by Marlene Burger. She contributed substantially to the collection of materials on the trial.

For more background information on the apartheid state's CBW programme Researchers are referred to two books published by Gould - South Africa's Apartheid Chemical and Biological Warfare Programme(with Peter Folb), and Secrets and Lies (with Marlene Burger).

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