|FAS | Nuke | Arms Control |||| Index | Search | Join FAS|
Resolution 49/75 K adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 15 December 1994 requested the International Court of Justice to render its advisory opinion on the following question: "Is the threat or use of nuclear weapons in any circumstance permitted under international law?" Resolution WHA46.40 adopted by the World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization [WHO] on 14 May 1993, requested the Court to give an advisory opinion on the following question: "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?"
By eleven votes to three, the Counrt found that it was not able to give the advisory opinion which was requested of it under World Health Assembly resolution WHA46.40 of 14 May 1993. The Court concluded that it had the authority to deliver an opinion on the question posed by the General Assembly. The Court decided to hold public sittings, opening on 30 October 1995, at which oral statements might be submitted to the Court by any State or organization which had been considered likely to be able to furnish information on the question before the Court. The Court decided that there is in neither customary nor conventional international law any specific authorization of the threat or use of nuclear weapons; and that there is in neither customary nor conventional international law any comprehensive and universal prohibition of the threat or use of nuclear weapons as such. By seven votes to seven, by the President's casting vote, the Court decided that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law; However, in view of the current state of international law, and of the elements of fact at its disposal, the Court cannot conclude definitively whether the threat or use of nuclear weapons would be lawful or unlawful in an extreme circumstance of self-defence, in which the very survival of a State would be at stake.
A chronological listing of major events and developoments.
Primary documents, including agreement texts and associated memoranda, statements and other related material.
Chronological archive of news reports, factsheets, announcements, speeches and other related material.
Related Web Sites