International Law and Nuclear Weapons

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Publish Date : 05/22/2022 10:42
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International Law and Nuclear Weapons: Does the Continued Development of Advanced Nuclear Weapons Violate International Law?

Since the beginning of the Cold War, nuclear weapons have played a crucial role in the international community, shaping the behavior of states and their actions in relationship to one another. Throughout the twentieth-century, nuclear weapons got deadlier; their range and power have both increased, bringing the potential for greater devastation to the globe. To limit the spread of nuclear weapons, the international community adopted the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968, which calls for the secession of the nuclear arms race and abandonment of nuclear weapons. Recent American attempts to start research in the field of the low-yield nuclear bunker buster bombs brings important issues of legality of the proposed research in light of Article VI of the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty. Because the 2002 National Security Strategy does not prohibit this grade of weapons, the proposed research by the US military does violate international law because it is in contradiction to the Article VI of the NPT. It would continue the nuclear arms race between states, cause a severe humanitarian impact on the civilian population that reside in areas of the conflict, and would not lead to nuclear disarmament between the states, going in opposition to the established international treaties that aim to end the spread of the nuclear weapons.

Nuclear weapons are the most dangerous weapon ever created by man, built to insight fear in the enemy and to defend the borders of a particular state along with their national interests and zones of influence. The Non-Proliferation Treaty is one of the most important binding legal documents that curtails the spread of nuclear weapons and targets the future abandonment of the nuclear weapons.

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“ International Law and Nuclear Weapons ”