chemical weapons expert
Professor Marjatta Rautio has for the past twenty years been actively
involved in the verification of chemical disarmament and has greatly
contributed to international cooperation in the field.
Marjatta Rautio, who completed her doctoral dissertation on barbiturates
at the Department of Pharmacy of the University of Helsinki, embarked on
a whole new career when Professor Jorma K. Miettinen asked her to join
the Finnish project on the verification of chemical disarmament.
Gradually her work moved from the laboratory to the office and from
Finland to the international forum. Today her work mostly involves
international meetings pertaining to verification analysis and practical
implementations of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Since 1994 Marjatta
Rautio has headed the Finnish Institute for Verification of the Chemical
Weapons Convention VERIFIN.
Chemical weapons made headlines in connection with the war between Iraq
and Iran and have remained a topical issue ever since the United Nations
set up a special committee to supervise chemical disarmament in Iraq. In
1997 the global Chemical Weapons Convention came into force. In order to
safeguard the credibility of the Convention, compliance is strictly
monitored. Verification requires that chemical warfare agents are
identified from samples obtained from weapons industry, military
laboratories and other institutions. Also, environmental samples are
analysed, as agents released in one location can be detected downwind
hundreds of kilometres away. Finnish researchers have actively
participated in the development of verification analyses. The value of
the Finnish project has been in its openness: for the first time,
research of this type has been done outside the military, which has
opened up the possibility of developing independent and reliable testing
From the beginning, research results have been openly available and
since 1977 the project has been publishing reports of its activities.
These reports, nowadays known as the Finnish Blue Books, have
established themselves internationally as the "bibles" of chemical arms
control. The development of a computerised database, VERIFY, was
launched in 1988. The database contains data on chemicals covered by the
Chemical Weapons Convention and has been chosen as the official
analytical reference database of the Organisation for the Prohibition of
Chemical Weapons in the Hague. The contents of the database are
developed in cooperation with scientists from around the world, for
there are thousands of treaty-related chemicals.
1 Marjatta Rautio, an expert in chemical weapons disarmament,
participating in an UNSCOM visitation of the most important
chemical weapons factory at Al Muthanna, Iraq in November 1992.
The fire in the background is caused by burning of sarine.
Photo: Marjatta Rautio.
2 Marjatta Rautio training iraqi chemists to make quantitative
analyses of sarine at the Al Muthanna chemical weapons laboratory
in 1992. Photo: Marjatta Rautio.
3 The first followup conference after the Chemical Weapons Convention
came into force, Haag 1997.
In front, from left: Marjatta Rautio, prof. Jorma K. Miettinen
and foreign minister Tarja Halonen. Photo: Marjatta Rautio.
4-6 Marjatta Rautio at at meeting at Verifin. Photos: Martin
Rautio, Marjatta, "Finnish Institute for Verification of the Chemical
Weapons Convention". In: Finland and Verification of
Disarmament Agreements. Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
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