Nuclear Sharing

By Bernd Hahnfeld, Board member IALANA Germany

The text was first published in German in December 2021 and updated in October 2022.

Summary: In keeping a decades-old tradition, Germany continues to maintain delivery systems for U.S. nuclear bombs stationed in the country. In case of deployment, the nuclear bombs are transported and dropped by Bundeswehr soldiers using Tornado fighter-bombers. This nuclear sharing is part of NATO’s strategic concept, which has been agreed upon by the member countries without a legal basis. The use of nuclear bombs and the threat of the use of nuclear weapons are prohibited by international humanitarian law and the human right to life. In addition, the use violates the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which prohibits Germany, a non-nuclear-weapon state, from any co-disposal of nuclear weapons. With the development of nuclear Trident missiles with small explosive power for the Ohio-class U.S. nuclear submarines, the tactical nuclear bombs stationed in Germany have lost their military significance anyway.

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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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IALANA Germany Signatory Appeal: Join the TPNW – Stop Germany’s Nuclear Armament

 

We hereby address you and all members of the Federal Government as well as the members of the German Bundestag with an urgent appeal: 

Sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons! 

Stop the deployment of the new US American B 61-12 atomic bombs at the German Air Force base in Büchel and the resulting new dangerous nuclear armament on German soil! 

Refrain from the planned acquisition of 45 US American F 18 fighter jets as nuclear weapon carriers for the Tactical Air Force Wing 33 of the Bundeswehr!

Continue reading “IALANA Germany Signatory Appeal: Join the TPNW – Stop Germany’s Nuclear Armament”

Opposition to the Federal Government’s assertion that the nuclear sharing practiced by Germany within the framework of NATO does not violate the Non-Proliferation Treaty

A text by Bernd Hahnfeld, Board Member IALANA Germany

The Bundeswehr Fighter-Bomber Wing 33 is stationed in Büchel. It has the task, within the framework of NATO’s nuclear cooperation, of practicing with its Tornado aircraft the transport and dropping of the atomic bombs stationed there. In the event of war, Fighter-Bomber Wing 33 would deliver nuclear bombs to their targets following their release by the US President and operational authorization through the U.S. chain of command. In the event of war, the German soldiers thus acquire the “power of disposal” over nuclear weapons under the auspices of NATO. This is so despite the fact that the release of the weapons is only effective for dropping them on targets chosen by the U.S. There are no indications that peacetime nuclear exercises have involved actual nuclear weapons rather than practice bombs.

As a party to the NPT, the Federal Republic of Germany as a non-nuclear weapons state is obliged under Art. 2 NPT not to “accept nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or the power of disposal thereof from anyone, directly or indirectly”.

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