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Part VI Emerging Areas?, Ch.47 Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Shipping Interdiction

Vasco Becker-Weinberg, Guglielmo Verdirame

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Use of Force in International Law

Edited By: Marc Weller

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 05 October 2023

Weapons of mass destruction — Collective security — Flag state — UNCLOS (UN Convention on the Law of the Sea) — Internal waters — Territorial sea — Exclusive economic zone — Straits — High seas — Innocent passage — Coastal states — Warfare, sea — UN Charter

This chapter analyses the legal framework applicable to non-flag states’ interception operations aimed at combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), delivery vehicles, and related materials against the background of the law on the use of force. It considers the legal regime under the law of the sea, with particular reference to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and discusses the legal and strategic challenges posed by seaborne WMD proliferation to states. It explains the distinction between counter-proliferation, non-proliferation, and response to the use of WMD. The chapter examines interdiction, a classic instrument of naval enforcement. Finally, it explores how states have sought to address the gaps in the general legal framework through three primary routes: the resolution of the UN Security Council, multilateral treaty-making under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization, and the practice of states involved in the Proliferation Security Initiative.

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