ACDN - Action of Citizens for Nuclear Disarmament
logo ACDN banniere ACDNVisiter ACDN
Accueil-Home ACDN Contact ACDN Consulter le plan du site - SiteMap Other Version
vous etes ici Homepage > News > External sources > 20th Anniversary of World Court Advisory Opinion
ACDN, What is it ?

News
Communiqués
External sources
Letters from ACDN
News Articles

Actions
2nd RID-NBC
3rd RID-NBC
Campaign "The Very Last Atom!"
Gathering for a Livable World

Petitions

Correspondance
International

Medias

Background papers

EUROPE

French Elections
News of the Presidential Campaign

Nuclear Weapons
20th Anniversary of World Court Advisory Opinion
by David Krieger


Published 8 July 2016

The International Court of Justice (“Court,” or “ICJ”), the world’s highest court, issued its Advisory Opinion on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons on July 8, 1996. Thus, this week marks the 20th anniversary of that momentous opinion.


The Court found in a split vote (7 to 7), with the casting vote of the Court’s president Mohammed Bedjaoui deciding the matter, that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be illegal under international law. The Court could not determine whether it would be legal or illegal to threaten or use nuclear weapons “in an extreme circumstance of self-defense, in which the very survival of a State would be at stake.”

La Haye (Netherlands), Peace Palace
Photograph: CIJ-ICJ/UN-ONU, Capital Photos/Frank van Beek – Courtesy of the ICJ. All rights reserved.

Three of the judges voting to oppose general illegality, however, were concerned with the word “generally” and wanted the Court to go further and remove any ambiguity about the illegality of threat or use of nuclear weapons. Judge C.G. Weeramantry, for example, argued in a brilliant dissenting opinion “that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is illegal in any circumstances whatsoever.” Thus, in actuality, ten of the fourteen judges supported either general illegality or total illegality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons.

The Court also found unanimously that any threat or use of nuclear weapons must be compatible with the United Nations Charter and must also be compatible with the international law of armed conflict and particularly with “the principles and rules of international humanitarian law.” This means that the threat or use of nuclear weapons must be capable of distinguishing between combatants and civilians and must not cause unnecessary suffering. It is virtually impossible to imagine any use of nuclear weapons that could meet such limiting criteria.

Finally, the Court concluded, “There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.” Unfortunately, despite this obligation, such negotiations have not taken place in the past twenty years.

The tiny Pacific Island country, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, has cited the Court’s conclusion regarding this legal obligation in bringing contentious lawsuits against the nine nuclear-armed countries at the International Court of Justice and separately against the United States in U.S. federal court. In the ICJ, only the cases against the UK, India and Pakistan are currently going forward, since the other six nuclear-armed countries do not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court and have not opted to accept the Court’s jurisdiction in this matter.

The cases brought by the Marshall Islands in the ICJ are currently awaiting the Court’s ruling on preliminary objections filed by the three respondent countries. The case against the U.S. was dismissed in U.S. federal district court on jurisdictional grounds, and is currently on appeal in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Nuclear weapons are devices of mass annihilation. The ICJ found these weapons to be generally illegal and to require good faith negotiations leading to total nuclear disarmament. All nine nuclear-armed countries are in breach of this obligation to the detriment of the people of the world, including the citizens of their own countries. The Republic of the Marshall Islands has had the courage to bring this matter back to the ICJ as contentious cases.

On the illegality of nuclear weapons, the then Court President, Mohammed Bedjaoui, stated: “Nuclear weapons, the ultimate evil, destabilize humanitarian law, which is the law of the lesser evil. The existence of nuclear weapons is therefore a challenge to the very existence of humanitarian law, not to mention their long-term effects of damage to the human environment, in respect to which the right to life can be exercised.”

On the 20th anniversary of the ICJ Advisory Opinion on threat or use of nuclear weapons, the people must wake up, stand up and speak out. Nuclear weapons are illegal as well as immoral and costly. They are not even weapons, but instruments of mass annihilation. They serve no useful purpose and endanger all countries, all people, and all future generations. It is past time to end the nuclear era.

David Krieger

**

David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (www.wagingpeace.org). He is the author of "Zero: The Case for Nuclear Weapons Abolition".


L'argent est le nerf de la paix ! ACDN vous remercie de lui faire un DON

Other versions
print Printable version
pdfPDF Version


Share through social networks

Also in this section

Toward a different nuclear policy
How Realistic Is a Nuclear-Armed Japan?
Robert Gates: Nuclear Weapons and Deterrence in the 21st Century
Gwangju Declaration of Nobel Peace Laureates
World military expenditure grows to $1.8 trillion in 2018
Marshall Islands Statement to 2014 NPT PrepCom
Report on Iran’s Nuclear Programme Sent to UN Security Council
Negotiating with Iran is maddening, but bombing would be a catastrophe
Put an end to ’the refusal of consciousness’
Neither Bush nor Blair is in a position to take a high moral line on Iran’s nuclear programme

visites :  898791

Home | Contact | Site Map | Admin |

Site powered by SPIP
design et fonction Easter-Eggs