IRRC No. 316

The International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion in the Nuclear Weapons Cases - A first appraisal

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There were two requests for advisory opinions from the International Court of Justice â€" the first from the World Health Organization (WHO), and the second from the United Nations General Assembly. WHO asked: " In view of the health and environmental effects, would the use of nuclear weapons by a state in war or other armed conflict be a breach of its obligations under international law, including the WHO Constitution? " The Court held by eleven votes to three (Judges Shahabuddeen, Weeramantry and Koroma dissenting), that it was not able to give the advisory opinion requested by WHO. The Court's opinion was consistent with the position argued by the United States and other countries and, in our view, is correct. As the WHO opinion primarily con cerned jurisdictional issues, we will focus on the advice given in response to the request of the General Assembly.

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