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Realizing UtopiaThe Future of International Law$
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The Late Antonio Cassese

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199691661

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691661.001.0001

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Modern Means of Warfare: The Need to Rely upon International Humanitarian Law, Disarmament, and Non-Proliferation Law to Achieve a Decent Regulation of Weapons

Modern Means of Warfare: The Need to Rely upon International Humanitarian Law, Disarmament, and Non-Proliferation Law to Achieve a Decent Regulation of Weapons

Chapter:
(p.553) 42 Modern Means of Warfare: The Need to Rely upon International Humanitarian Law, Disarmament, and Non-Proliferation Law to Achieve a Decent Regulation of Weapons
Source:
Realizing Utopia
Author(s):

Natalino Ronzitti

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691661.003.0042

At present disarmament and international humanitarian law employ two different techniques for regulating weapons. While disarmament prohibits the build-up and stockpiling of weapons, humanitarian law regulates their use. The modern law on weapons is a combination of disarmament and humanitarian law. There are three techniques for prohibiting weapons and making their use a criminal offence: simply listing prohibited weapons; listing such weapons and asking states to enact penal legislation for their prohibition; or making the use of such weapons an international crime. With regard to possible future changes, it must be said that international humanitarian law is not the only way to achieve decent regulation of weapons. Arms control, non-proliferation, and disarmament instruments should be used to achieve a more suitable result. The choice of instruments available is also important. The indeterminacy and lacunae of customary international law makes it ill-suited for disarmament. Treaties are necessary for international humanitarian law, that is, for prohibiting the use of specific weapons. However, one should also rely on soft law for managing non-proliferation regimes and even arms control.

Keywords:   disarmament, international humanitarian law, weapons law, arms control, non-proliferation, treaties, soft law

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