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Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, International Court of Justice ruling

LCNP, in conjunction with the International Association of Lawyers Against nuclear Arms (IALANA), the International Peace Bureau (IPB) and the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) led the World Court Project, a world-wide campaign that resulted in an historic opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in July 1996. The ICJ ruled that the threat or use of nuclear weapons is generally illegal, and that states have an obligation to conclude negotiations on their elimination.

Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons

Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons - ICJ website

Guide to the historic opinion of the ICJ Analysis by LCNP executive director John Burroughs

The International Law Framework for Nuclear Weapon Policy. Background and articles about the implications of the opinion.

LCNP leads efforts for implementing the ICJ decision in the US and internationally

Key developments:

For general information and history concerning the International Court of Justice, see Howard Meyer, The World Court in Action, and a summary and review in the Santa Clara Law Review.

 

 

 

 

 

Event Report: Nuclear Weapons and International Law, Guy Quinlan, First Committee Monitor, Reaching Critical Will, October 21, 2013

Breaking the Nuclear Chain Webinar, November 2012 International and humanitarian law, John Burroughs

Global Rule of Law & Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, Web Seminar, World Academy of Art & Science, May 15, 2012
Abolition of nuclear weapons [audio], Alyn Ware
Moving beyond deterrence [audio], John Burroughs paper

Joint statement of 16 nations on the humanitarian dimension of nuclear disarmament, Ambassador Benno Laggner, NPT PrepCom, May 2, 2012, Vienna

Fordham International Law Journal

Nuclear Weapons and Compliance with International Humanitarian Law and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Charles J. Moxley, Jr., John Burroughs and Jonathan Granoff, Fordham International Law Journal (Vol. 34, 2011)

Obama's Nuclear Posture Review, Charles J. Moxley, Jr., Fordham International Law Journal (Vol. 34, 2011)

Taking the Law Seriously: The Imperative Need for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, Peter Weiss, Fordham International Law Journal (Vol. 34, 2011)

Vancouver Declaration

Vancouver Declaration: Law's Imperative for the Urgent Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World, February 11, 2011 [In Russian]

Signatories to the Vancouver Declaration, February 2013

Media Release, March 23, 2011

Nuclear Energy and Weapons: Uncontrollable in Time and Space, Alyn Ware, HuffPost Green, March 23, 2011

"Absolute Prohibition of an Absolute Evil," Ernie Regehr, disarmingconflict.ca, March 30, 2011

Law’s Imperative, John Burroughs, Reaching Critical Will Blog, April 15, 2011

Public Momentum Builds Against Nukes, Haider Rizvi, IPS, March 25, 2011

Vancouver Conference

Humanitarian Law, Human Security: The Emerging Paradigm for Non-Use and Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, Vancouver, February 10-11, 2011. Hosted by The Simons Foundation and co-convened by IALANA

Conference Statement of Intent

Participant Profiles

Remarks of Nicholas Grief - Nuclear Weapons: The Legal Status of Use, Threat and Possession

Speaking Notes of Victor Vavricka, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

Remarks of Peter Weiss: How Many Points of the Law is Possession?

Remarks of Randy Rydell: Bringing Democracy and the Rule of Law to Disarmament

Paper by Toshinori Yamada: Japan's View of the Use of Nuclear Weapons

Paper by Elizabeth Shafer: Humanitarian Law and the Nuclear Disarmament Obligation

International Law, Disarmament, Women and Human Rights, Outcome of Expert Meeting, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, December 2011, Geneva

IALANA Declaration, June 2011

Sign Citizens’ Affirmation on Criminality of Use of Nuclear Weapons, June 2011

The Nuclear Question: The Church’s Teachings and the Current State of Affairs, Remarks by Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN, Kansas City, MO, July 1, 2011
          Key Points of Landmark Speech, LCNP July 2011

Delegitimizing Nuclear Weapons, Panel Discussion, NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security, December 6, 2010

Activists argue for right to protest at Y-12, Matt Lakin, Knoxville News Sentinel, March 4, 2011

Nuclear Weapons and Compliance with International Humanitarian Law and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Charles J. Moxley, Jr., John Burroughs and Jonathan Granoff, prepublication draft, Fordham International Law Journal, Winter 2011

Taking the Law Seriously: The Imperative Need for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, Peter Weiss, prepublication draft, Fordham International Law Journal, Winter 2011

International Environmental Law and Nuclear Winter, Ed Chen, 2010

Debunking the Nuclear Deterrence Myth, Kanya D'Almeida, IPS, December 9, 2010

Remarks on Receiving the Haas Peace Award, Peter Weiss, November 8, 2010

Humanitarian Law Versus Nuclear Weapons, UN panel, October 25. 2010, with Peter Weiss, Jonathan Granoff, Charles Moxley, and John Burroughs

Humanitarian law or nuclear weapons: choose one, John Burroughs, October 4, 2010, First Committee Monitor edited by Reaching Critical Will

Nuclear Weapons and the Rule of Law, Sergio Duarte, 33 Fordham Int'l L.J. 573 (2009)

LCNP Letter re Nuclear Posture Review and the Law, August 10, 2009

The International Law Obligation for Nuclear and General Disarmament, Peter Weiss, June 26, 2009

International Committee of the Red Cross Statement on Cluster Munitions, Landmines, Explosive Remnants of War, and Nuclear Weapons, UN General Assembly, First Committee, October 10, 2009: "Nuclear weapons are unique in their destructive power, in the unspeakable human suffering they cause, in the impossibility of controlling their effects in space and time, in the risks of escalation and in the threat they pose to the environment, to future generations, indeed, to the survival of humanity. The ICRC appeals to all States to ensure that these weapons are never used again, regardless of their views on the legality of such use."

From the ICJ to the IJC: Abolishing Nuclear Weapons: Lawyers' Responsibilities, Anabel Dwyer, Michigan International Lawyer, fall 2009, p. 8

Good Faith Negotiations Leading to the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons: Request for an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice, International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School, May 2009
Press release
Groups Seek World Court Opinion on Nukes, Thalif Deen, IPS, May 11, 2009
Resolution of IALANA General Assembly, June 2009

Good Faith, International Law, and Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, May 1, 2008 Conference, Geneva

Judge Mohammed Bedjaoui, Keynote Address, May 1, 2008, Geneva
Peter Weiss, Remarks on Judge Bedjaoui’s Keynote Address
Professor Karima Bennoune, The Intersection of Nuclear Weapons and International Human Rights Law
Professor Marcelo Kohen, Remarks
Good Faith: A Fundamental Principle of International Law, John Burroughs, News in Review, Final Edition, No. 9, 28 April – 9 May 2008

Seminar Marking the 10th Anniversary of the Nuclear Weapons Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice, with Judge Christopher Weeramantry, Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba, and others, Peace Palace, the Hague, July 5, 2006, pp. 7-23

The Trident and International Law: Scotland's Obligations, Judge Christopher Weeramantry, Edinburgh, February 3, 2009

Recent Developments in the Illegality of Nuclear Weapons, John Burroughs, Edinburgh, February 3, 2009

Nuclear Free Obligations and Trident II, Anabel Dwyer, February 26, 2009, Seattle

Nuclear fastball: Palin, Biden strike out, John Burroughs, DisarmamentActivist.org, October 6, 2008 - commentary on vice-presidential debate question: Should nuclear weapons use ever be put into play?

The Legal and Policy Imperatives for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, Statement of the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, July 2008
Ending U.S. Reliance on Nuclear Weapons and Achieving Their Global Elimination: Wise Policy and Required by Law, Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy, March 2008

Good Faith: A Fundamental Principle of International Law, John Burroughs, News in Review, Final Edition, No. 9, 28 April – 9 May 2008

Trial of the Ground Zero Three, Port Orchard, Washington, January 2007

From Auschwitz to Trident (YouTube), John Burroughs, Seattle Town Hall, January 20, 2007 (slides)

The Legal Framework for Non-Use and Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, Briefing Paper for Greenpeace International, John Burroughs, February 2006
Legal Requirements to Achieve Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, John Burroughs, Article VI Forum, The Hague, March 2, 2006
Thirteen Practical Steps: Legal or Political?, Peter Weiss, John Burroughs, Michael Spies, May 2005

Fundamental Legal Obligations Regarding Nuclear Weapons, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, May 2007

LCNP Statement on Replacement of the UK Trident System, March 2007
Peacerights legal opinion on the replacement of the UK Trident, March 6, 2007
Legal Opinion re UK Trident plans, Philippe Sands and Helen Law, Matrix Chambers, November 13, 2006, commissioned by Greenpeace UK

Law School Readings on Nuclear Weapons, Iraq War

Weapons of Mass Destruction and Human Rights, Peter Weiss and John Burroughs, Disarmament Forum, July 2004

 

World Court Project to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

Good Faith: A Fundamental Principle of International Law, John Burroughs, News in Review, Final Edition, No. 9, 28 April – 9 May 2008.

May 1, 2008, Geneva: Conference on Good Faith, International Law, and Elimination of Nuclear Weapons: The Once and Future Contributions of the International Court of Justice

Aims and Contact Information of the World Court Project to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

Sign-on Statement of Support

Nuclear Weapons – Abolition Under the Law, Short Briefing Paper on Return to the International Court of Justice

Return to the International Court of Justice: A Strategy to Break the Stalemate, IALANA memorandum, August 2007

Good Faith Negotiation of Nuclear Disarmament, Elizabeth Shafer, January 2008

Sign-on Affirmation of Nuclear Freedom

Please distribute the above materials widely.

Audio for Conference on Legal Accountability, Good Faith, and Nuclear Weapons, Brussels, July 2006, with Judge Weeramantry, Peter Weiss, John Burroughs, Alyn Ware

Peacerights Legal Opinion Re UK Trident Nuclear Missile System (pdf), Rabinder Singh, QC, and Prof. Christine Chinkin, December 19, 2005

Violations of Vanunu's rights of expression and travel: legal brief (pdf), June 2005

Sacred Earth & Space Ploughshares Case: Report by Anabel Dwyer and Alyn Ware, February 2005

Sacred Earth & Space Ploughshares Appeal, October 1, 2004

Abolition 2000 Europe - Declaration for a Nuclear Weapon Free World

Citizen Weapon Inspections Are Supported by Law and Common Sense: Handout for Adopt-a-Silo, Colorado, October 2, 2004

Articles Database-- a listing of articles, books, and papers concerning the World Court Opinion.

Lessons of Hiroshima: A Response to Kristof, by Jacqueline Cabasso and John Burroughs, August 8, 2003

2002 Nuclear Posture Review: Strategic and Legal Ramifications, by Charles J. Moxley Jr., April 16, 2002

International Legal Ramifications of DU Weapons, by Avril McDonald, June 14, 2003

Isn't It Time We Rejoin the World Court, by Howard Meyer, May 26, 2003

The Lawfulness of "Low-Yield," Earth-penetrating Nuclear Weapons by John Burroughs, January 20, 2003

WMD Strategy: President Promotes Use of Nuclear Weapons? op-ed by John Burroughs, January 1, 2003

The International Court of Justice and the Scottish High Court: Two Views of the Illegality of Nuclear Weapons by Peter Weiss pdf-file

Confusion Confounded: The High Court's Opinion on the Lord Advocate's Reference in the Greenock Case by Peter Weiss

Survey and Analysis of Domestic Cases in Which Defendants Raised the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons (pdf)

Legal Norms in the Real World

The International Law Framework for Nuclear Weapon Policy

Valentine's Day Blockade of Trident

Judge Weeramantry's Dissent

Judge Weeramantry's Singular Contribution to International Law

Scottish Court Acquits Plougshares "Disarmers" on basis of World Court decision.

Independent (Oct 22): "Britain's nuclear arsenal is illegal"

Guardian (Oct 22):"Women cleared as court rules nuclear arms illegal"

Documents:

New York County Lawyers' Association's Report on the Unlawfulness of the Use and Threat of Use of Nuclear Weapons (pdf)

International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion (full opinion)

Judges'Separate Statements plus the Court's Opinion in French

Dispositif (Conclusions)of the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion

US House Resolution on ICJ Decision

US Lawyers Appeal on Trident

United Nations resolutions and documents on follow-up to the ICJ opinion:

 

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