Article: Are Nuclear Weapons Illegal?

By Amela Skiljan, LL.M.Eur
Vice-Chair IALANA Deutschland e.V. – Vereinigung für Friedensrecht – Deutsche Sektion der International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, Marienstr. 19-20, 10117 Berlin, amela.skiljan@ialana.de

This article was first published in “Die Friedens-Warte Journal of International Peace and Organization”, December 2021, Issue 3-4, pp 418-444
DOI 10.35998/fw-2021-0020
ISBN 2009460321D
The Issue may be bought as print version or E-Book here:
https://www.bwv-verlag.de/detailview?no=2009460321D

Abstract

Humanity has been developing legal responses to the threat of nuclear weapons since 1945. These responses are not only reflected in international treaties like the NPT or the TPNW, but also in the many norms derived from international humanitarian law, human rights law, environmental law and international criminal law. Many of them are of a customary nature, which makes them binding for all states, such as the general prohibition on the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons. This paper shows that many norms from different fields of international law reinforce each other in confirming the illegality of nuclear weapons in various aspects. In this regard, the TPNW is a landmark in nuclear disarmament, which not only confirms existing law, but develops it further.

Seit 1945 ist die Menschheit mit der Bedrohung durch Atomwaffen konfrontiert, und seither gab es rechtliche Antworten auf diese Bedrohung. Diese spiegeln sich nicht nur in internationalen Verträgen wie dem NVV oder dem AVV wieder, sondern auch in vielen Normen, die sich aus dem humanitären Völkerrecht, den Menschenrechten, dem Umweltrecht oder dem internationalen Strafrecht ergeben. Viele dieser Normen haben Gewohnheitscharakter, was sie für alle Staaten verbindlich macht, wie das generelle Verbot des Einsatzes und der Androhung des Einsatzes von Kernwaffen. Dieser Beitrag zeigt, dass viele Normen aus verschiedenen Bereichen des Völkerrechts sich gegenseitig in der Bestätigung der Illegalität von Atomwaffen in verschiedenen Aspekten bekräftigen. In dieser Hinsicht ist der AVV ein Meilenstein der nuklearen Abrüstung, der nicht nur bestehendes Recht bestätigt, sondern es auch weiterentwickelt.

Keywords: nuclear weapons, international law, customary law, disarmament, NPT, TPNW

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LOOKING BACK AND LOOKING AHEAD: the 25th anniversary of the 1996 ICJ Advisory Opinion on the Legality of Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons!

On 8 July 1996, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) handed down its Advisory Opinion on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons. It was the first authoritative international judicial opinion on nuclear weapons since their development in the 1940s. Moreover, it is generally considered one of the most important opinions that the ICJ has delivered.

In spite of the, sometimes, controversial conclusions drawn by the, lowest possible, majority of Judges, it functions as an important reference for civil society in its work towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Leading international lawyers and activists, professors of international law and experts on arms control and disarmament law will discuss the importance of the Opinion and its relevance for the present day struggle towards nuclear disarmament.  The webinar will also address more recent developments, such as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the General Comment no. 36 on the right to life of the UN Human Rights Committee. Finally, it will address the question of what lessons can be drawn from the opinion regarding achievement of a world without nuclear weapons.

Continue reading “LOOKING BACK AND LOOKING AHEAD: the 25th anniversary of the 1996 ICJ Advisory Opinion on the Legality of Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons!”

Journal of International Law and Comity

Ladies and Gentlemen,

please find below a link to a new international law journal by Weeramantry Centre for Peace, Justice and International Law of which Vol. I was dedicated to the role of India and its civil society in the fight for a world free of nuclear weapons. For the time being, the journal is available online only. The introduction has been written by Daniel Rietiker, who is a member of the advisory board of the journal, and the articles have been selected within a students’ competition among many submissions received.

The main editors of the new journal belong to a newly created Weeramantry Centre in New Delhi.

Please feel free to circulate and spread these informations in your circles.

Best wishes,

Daniel Rietiker

View Volume 1

Basel Declaration on human rights and trans-generational crimes resulting from nuclear weapons and nuclear energy

The participants in the international conference Human Rights, Future Generations and Crimes in the Nuclear Age, held in Basel from September 14-17, 2017, affirm that the risks and impacts of nuclear weapons, depleted uranium weapons and nuclear energy, which are both transnational and trans-generational, constitute a violation of human rights, a transgression of international humanitarian and environmental law, and a crime against future generations. Continue reading “Basel Declaration on human rights and trans-generational crimes resulting from nuclear weapons and nuclear energy”