IRRC No. 899

Book review: Nuclear Weapons under International Law

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What are we really looking for in a new text on nuclear weapons? To some extent, it can rightly be said that all the key issues have been canvassed at some length in the (almost) two decades since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) handed down its Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons (Nuclear Weapons Advisory Opinion).1 There have, however, been significant changes in the context against which these issues must be considered. Particularly notable are scientific advances, which have deepened our understanding of the humanitarian effects of nuclear weapons (as highlighted at the recent conferences held on the subject), and technological advances, which have focused the legal debate on weapons of the "low-yield" or "tactical" variety.

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