Category: The WMD Blog

The comments in this section are written by members of the ILPI nuclear weapons project team. The views represented herein are those of the respective authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the International Law and Policy Institute.


New edition of ‘Counting to zero’

A statistical guide to multilateral disarmament and arms control

By ILPI

This report is motivated by the need for an accurate and methodical mapping of how the members and observers of the United Nations approach non-proliferation and disarmament in the context of humanitarian disarmament.

The ICJ Advisory Opinion on nuclear weapons and international humanitarian law

Panel presentation at the side event on legal aspects of nuclear disarmament at the UN General Assembly First Committee, October 2016.

By Dr Gro Nystuen
18 October 2016

The ICJ Advisory Opinion on the lawfulness of nuclear weapons was given 20 years ago, and there has been very different opinions as to whether it clarified or confused the question of how nuclear weapons are regulated by international law, and particularly international humanitarian law. Both from a legal and a political perspective, the Opinion has played and continues to play a key part in the discussions on nuclear disarmament.

Trident renewed

On 18 July, the British Parliament voted to maintain the United Kingdom’s nuclear-weapons capability for the foreseeable future.

By Kjølv Egeland
19 July 2016

The debate in the House of Commons consisted, as Orwell once wrote of political language in general, ‘largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.’

Rapport fra multilateralismens gravkammer

Hva skal man gjøre med et internasjonalt forhandlingsforum som ikke forhandler?

By Magnus Løvold

Dypt inne i det multilaterale diplomatiets mørke irrganger, fjernt fra offentlighetens oppmerksomhet, sitter representanter fra 65 land og snakker om internasjonal nedrustning av atomvåpen og andre masseødeleggelsesvåpen – nær tjue år på overtid.

100 years since Verdun

A century ago, chemical weapons were used to terrible effects in the fields of France.

Trenches

By Kjølv Egeland
27 May 2016

100 years ago, large parts of the globe were engulfed in one of the most devastating conflicts the world has ever seen. The Battle of Verdun, dragging on over most of the year 1916, was one of the First World War’s most devastating engagements. More than 300 000 French and German soldiers—possible a lot more—lost their lives in the hills of north-eastern France between February 21st and December 20th. As many other battles of the ‘Great War’, Verdun saw extensive use of chemical weapons—or ‘poison gas’—by both sides.

Polarized diplomacy

There is a sense among many that the international community is more polarized than ever over the issue of nuclear disarmament. It is not. And even if it were, there would be no need to panic. 
UN General Assembly

By Kjølv Egeland
14 April 2016

Since the institutionalization of ‘modern’ diplomacy in the renaissance, the vocation of the diplomat has been to build (metaphorical) bridges, craft deals, and maintain ‘good relations’ with foreign powers. The core function of diplomacy—multilateral and bilateral—is to generate agreement. In everyday usage, the adjective ‘diplomatic’ describes the art of ‘dealing with people in a sensitive and tactful way’ or ‘acting in a way that does not cause offence’.

Just another president

Can the NSS save Obama’s nuclear legacy?

By Torbjørn Graff Hugo & Kjølv Egeland
31 March 2016

As world leaders descend on Washington DC for the fourth and final Nuclear Security Summit this week (March 31­–April 1), the contours of President Obama’s nuclear weapons legacy are becoming clearer. For those who heard him speak in Prague in 2009, it is a story of great expectations and subsequent disappointment. For everyone else, it’s the story of just another US President.

A ‘legal gap’? Nuclear weapons under international law

In December 2014, the Austrian government called on states and other stakeholders to ‘fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.’ The ‘Humanitarian Pledge’ to fill the legal gap has now been endorsed by more than 120 UN member states.

By Gro Nystuen and Kjølv Egeland
21 March 2016

Is there really a ‘legal gap’ in the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime? And, if so, is it a gap in substantive law or is it ‘just’ a compliance gap? This is the question Dr Gro Nystuen and Kjølv Egeland tackle in their feature in the most recent number of Arms Control Today. Read the full article at Arms Control Association’s website here.