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13 Nuclear Weapons

From: Weapons and the Law of Armed Conflict (2nd Edition)

William H. Boothby

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 02 June 2023

Armed conflict, international — Armed conflict, non-international — International criminal law, victims — Weapons control — Weapons, conventional — Weapons of mass destruction — Weapons, nuclear

This chapter analyses how the law of armed conflict applies to the possession and use of nuclear weapons, noting that no law of armed conflict treaty has been adopted which either prohibits or restricts the development, stockpiling, transfer, possession, or use of such weapons, or threats to use nuclear weapons. Equally, there is no law of armed conflict treaty in existence that contains any other kind of provision with particular reference to such weapons. The chapter points out that certain states ratified Additional Protocol 1 on the explicit basis that the new rules introduced by the treaty have no application to nuclear weapons. In a later section the chapter considers the 1996 International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion of 8 July 1996, noting the criticism that has been made of the non liquet terms in which the judgment was expressed. In a short concluding section, the prospects for nuclear disarmament are briefly assessed.

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