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2 The Evolution of the Law of Weaponry

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: 30 May 2023

Armed conflict, international — Armed conflict, non-international — International criminal law, victims — Weapons control — Weapons, conventional

Chapter 2 explains how from its roots in the middle part of the nineteenth century, weapons law has developed during the ensuing one hundred and sixty years into the more comprehensive but still incomplete body of law we have today. The evolution of early treaties such as the St Petersburg Declaration of 1868, certain Regulations and Declarations made in The Hague in 1899 and 1907, and the Geneva Gas protocol of 1925 is explained by reference to the authoritative writings of contemporary experts and jurists. The significance of those early writings in inspiring the development of core principles that lie at the heart of this body of law is noted. The picture that emerges is of a body of law that responds, sometimes belatedly, to battlefield events. The emergence of more modern law in the form, for example, of arms control treaties addressing chemical weapons, biological weapons, anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions is charted.

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