Disarmament is the act of reducing, limiting, or abolishing weapons. Disarmament generally refers to a country's military or specific type of weaponry. During the process of reducing a nation's supply of weapons or the strength of its armed forces (arms control, reduction in arms) the main focus nowadays is on three categories of weapons: weapons of an indiscriminate effect, such as cluster munitions and landmines, biological and chemical weapons and the (non-) proliferation of nuclear weapons (nuclear disarmament). General and complete disarmament was defined by the United Nations General Assembly as the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction (WMD), coupled with the “balanced reduction of armed forces and conventional armaments, based on the principle of undiminished security of the parties with a view to promoting or enhancing stability at a lower military level, taking into account the need of all States to protect their security”.
This Research Guide is intended as a starting point for research on Disarmament. It provides the basic legal materials available in the Peace Palace Library, both in print and electronic format. Handbooks, leading articles, bibliographies, periodicals, serial publications and documents of interest are presented in the Selective Bibliography section. Links to the PPL Catalogue are inserted. Special attention is given to our subscriptions on databases, e-journals, e-books and other electronic resources. Finally, this Research Guide features links to relevant websites and other online resources of particular interest.
- Nystuen, G. and Casey-Maslen, S. (eds.), The Convention on Cluster Munitions: A Commentary, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2010.
- Commission sur les Armes de Destruction Massive, Armes de terreur: débarrasser le monde des armes nucleaires, biologiques et chimiques, Paris, Harmattan, 2010.
- Rietiker, D., Le régime juridique des traités de maîtrise des armements: plaidoyer pour l'unité de l'ordre juridique international, Bern, Stämpfli, 2010.
- Beynio, J., Die völkerrechtliche Zulässigkeit der Aufrüstung mit Kernwaffen, Frankfurt am Main, Lang, 2010.
- Journé, V., Armes de terreur: débarrasser le monde des armes nucleaires, biologiques et chimiques, Paris, Harmattan, 2010.
- Joyner, D.H., Interpreting the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2011.
- Petriz, W., Vor dem Aus? Der Vertrag über die Nichtweiterverbreitung von Kernwaffen, Frankfurt am Main, Lang, 2012.
- Rutherford, K.R., Disarming States: the International Movement to Ban Landmines, Santa Barbara, CA, Praeger, 2011.
- Thakur, R. and E. Haru, The Chemical Weapons Convention: Implementation, Challenges and Opportunities, Tokyo, United Nations University Press, 2006.
- Asada, M., "The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the Universalization of the Additional Protocol", Journal of Conflict & Security 16 (2011), No. 1, pp. 3-34.
- Fukui, Y., The arms trade treaty, Journal of conflict & security law , vol. 20 (2015), issue 2, page 301-321.
- Hugo, T. G., "On builders and blockers : states have different roles to play to complete the nuclear disarmament puzzle", Oslo: International Law and Policy Institute (ILPI), New York, NY: UNIDIR (2015)
- Joyner, D.H., "Recent Developments in International Law Regarding Nuclear Weapons", International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 60 (2011), pp. 209-224.
- Kiernan, P.M., "'Disarmament' under the NPT: Article VI in the 21st Century", Journal of International Law and Practice, 20 (2012), No.2, pp. 381-400.
- Koplow, D.A., "What Would Zero Look Like?: a Treaty for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons", Georgetown Journal of International Law, 45 (2014), No. 3, pp. 683-781.
- Lindstrom, G., "Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction", in G.P. Herd (ed.), Great Powers and Strategic Stability in the 21st Century: Competing Visions of World Order, Abingdon, Routledge, 2011, pp. 45-64.
- Sossai,M., "Disarmament and Non-Proliferation", in: N.D. White and C. Henderson (eds.), Research Handbook on International Conflict and Security Law : "Jus ad bellum, jus in bello," and "Jus post bellum", Cheltenham, Elgar, 2013, pp. 41-66.
- Spijkers, O., "De minuscule Marshalleilanden slepen de almachtige kernwapenstaten voor het Internationale Gerechtshof", Aers aequi : juridisch studentenblad : onder auspiciën van de Vereniging van Juridische faculteiten in Nederland, Vol. 64 (2015) issue 4 page 281-285.
- Weiss, P., "Taking the Law Seriously: the Imperative Need For a Nuclear Weapons Convention", Fordham International Law Journal, 34 (2011), No. 4, pp. 776-787.
- Action for Disarmament : 10 things you can do!, the United Nations Department of Public Information in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, New York, NY, 2014
- Fennell, S. and C. Tofan (eds.), Arms Control, Nijmegen, Wolff Legal Publishers, 2011.
- Tabassi, L.W. (ed.), OPCW: the Legal Texts, The Hague, T.M.C. Asser Press, 2009.
Periodicals, serial publications
- United Nations History Project: Atomic Energy, Disarmament Bibliography by Louis B. Amira
Systematic classification → Peace and Security, Intervention, Use of Force
Casey-Maslen, S., The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons : a Commentary, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2019.View this title in our discovery service
This Commentary offers detailed background and analysis of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was adopted at the UN Headquarters in New York in July 2017. The Treaty comprehensively prohibits the use, development, export, and possession of nuclear weapons. Stuart Casey-Maslen, a leading expert in the field who served as legal adviser to the Austrian Delegation during the negotiations of this Treaty, works through article by article, describing how each provision was negotiated and what it implies for states that join the Treaty. As the Treaty provisions cut across various branches of international law, the Commentary goes beyond a discussion of disarmament to consider the law of armed conflict, human rights, and the law on inter-state use of force. The Commentary examines the relationship with other treaties addressing nuclear weapons, in particular the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Background on the development and possession of nuclear weapons and theories of nuclear deterrence is provided. Particular attention is paid to controversial issues such as assistance for prohibited activities, the meaning of 'threaten to use', and the definition of nuclear explosive devices. Casey-Maslen also considers whether a member of NATO or other nuclear alliance can lawfully become a state party to the Treaty.
Foradori, P., Giacomello, G., and Pascolini, A., (eds.), Arms Control and Disarmament: 50 Years of Experience in Nuclear Education, Cham, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.View this title in our discovery service
This volume is a collection of contributions by world-leading experts in the nuclear field who participated in the educational activities of the International School on Disarmament and Research on Conflicts (ISODARCO). It features some of most prominent scholars and practitioners who contributed in fundamental ways to shaping policies, strategies, theories, scholarly studies, and debates in the field of non-proliferation and disarmament. On the occasion of ISODARCO's 50th anniversary this book revisits a selection of contributions that capture the pressing issues during the five decades of continuous engagement in disarmament and non-proliferation education.
Black-Branch, J.L. and D. Fleck, Nuclear Non-Proliferation in International Law, Vol. II. Verification and Compliance, The Hague, Asser Press, 2016.View this title in our discovery service
The volume discusses the legal interpretation and implementation of the three pillars of the Treaty of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, 1968, regarding the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons; the right to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes; and issues relating to nuclear disarmament. It examines the status of international law regarding nuclear capacity, considering competing legal approaches to the development of nuclear technology, non-proliferation, disarmament and regulating nuclear weapons within a contemporary international context. This second Volume in the book Series on Nuclear Non-Proliferation in International Law discusses the legal interpretation and implementation of verification and compliance with the Treaty of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, 1968; the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, 1996; and the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM), 1957. It specifically examines the question, contested in recent academic writings, whether the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is competent to verify not only the correctness, but also the completeness of national declarations. Topical legal issues of verification and its technical and political limits as well as peaceful settlement of disputes and countermeasures are discussed in-depth.
The end of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
Russian president, Vladimir Putin, held his yearly ‘State of the Union’ to the Russian federal assembly on Wednesday 20 February 2019. In his speech he addressed the recent tensions between the United States and Russia, following the suspension of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF-treaty) dating from 1987. Putin said that Russia will not hesitate to deploy new nuclear weapons targeting the United States if the United States deploy such weapons in Europe. Russia has no intentions of deploying these weapons first, but feels forced to do so if the United States continue to place weapons in Europe, namely in Romania and Poland.Read more
U.S. Nuclear Strategy
30 January 2018, U.S. President Trump, during his State of the Union speech, called for a nuclear arsenal “so strong and powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression.”
The President made clear that his first priority is to protect the United States, allies, and partners. The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review (2018 NPR) lays out important policy changes with regard to U.S. nuclear weapons. The renewal of its nuclear forces will have huge implications for the security of the country and its allies, its public finances and the salience of nuclear weapons in global politics. While the United States has continued to reduce the number and salience of nuclear weapons, others, including Russia and China, have moved in the opposite direction.Read more
The Washington Naval Treaty: Averting the Allied Arms Race
The 1916 US Naval Act and its 1918 proposed expansion triggered a Naval Arms Race between it and it’s allied nations of Great Britain and Japan.Read more
Finally, the United States Government invited the principal naval powers to a conference to discuss the situation and end the Naval Arms Race.
A bold opening suggestion from the US government resulted in the scrapping and halting of most naval capital ships.
The Washington Naval Treaty signed on the 6th of February 1922
Nuclear Deal, Sanctions, Nuclear Diplomacy
After nearly two years of arduous negotiations a comprehensive agreement on the nuclear program of Iran was signed in Vienna on 14 July 2015. In exchange for reducing Iran’s nuclear activities drastically, the United States and the European Union would lift their nuclear-related sanctions on the Iranian economy. Most countries and international organizations welcomed the agreement. Will U.S. President Obama be remembered as initiator of this ‘historic’ deal? The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is a nuclear agreement signed in Vienna on 14 July 2015 between Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany), and the European Union.Read more
Arms Trade Treaty: A Historic Breakthrough?
In Syria, a civil war is being fuelled by the transfer of conventional weapons from outside the country despite violations of humanitarian law and human rights abuses on both sides. The arms flows into conflicts, like Syria’s, have recently convinced states to adopt the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (hereinafter also ‘ATT’). A new international norm regulating the international trade in conventional arms that went into effect on Christmas Eve.Read more
Nuclear security: Dangers and Achievements
Nuclear security is generally accepted to mean “the prevention of, detection of, and response to, criminal or intentional unauthorized acts involving or directed at nuclear material, other radioactive material, associated facilities, or associated activities”. In short it is about preventing terrorists from acquiring radioactive material or attacking nuclear facilities. Since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, nuclear security concerns have been heightened, but how real is the danger and what are the legal instruments to combat nuclear terrorism?Read more
Nuclear Security Summit 2014: Preventing Nuclear Terrorism Around the Globe
On 24 and 25 March 2014 the Third Nuclear Security Summit will take place here in The Hague. Nuclear terrorism is one of the greatest threats to international peace and security. Even though the chance of a terrorist nuclear attack is small, the consequences would be enormous. The Nuclear Security Summit aims to enhance international cooperation in order to combat nuclear terrorist threats by preventing the illicit acquisition of nuclear material by non-state actors such as smugglers and terrorist groups.Read more
3D Printed Weapons: A Threat to National and International Security?
Chesspieces, automotive parts, chairs, geometrical objects, food, medical protheses, toys, paperweights and jewelry are a few of the examples of the items that can be made with a 3D printer. There are many types of 3D printers, ranging from a simple 3D printer for home use to a very big industrial type with which large objects can be created. The machines can use any substance in liquid or powder form.Read more
Colombia: At Last Peace with the FARC?
Columbia’s fourth attempt at peace with the Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) started formally last month in Oslo and will continue the 15th of November in Havana, Cuba. The earlier attempts- starting in 1984, 1990 and 1998- to end one of Latin America’s longest and bloodiest armed conflict all failed. Why would the outcome of the peace talks this time be different?Read more
Japan’s nuclear energy policy: energy security versus non-proliferation
Nuclear power dependence Energy is the “life blood” of any economy, but for Japan, this truism has an added importance. Japan is poor in natural resources, specifically sources of energy, which are so vital to a healthy, modern economy: – Japan must import over 80% of all primary energy needs; – Japan obtains only 0.3% […]Read more
New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty Enters Into Force
On Saturday, 5 February, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton exchanged the documents of ratification at the Munich Conference on Security Policy with which a new treaty on strategic arms reduction (New START [PDF]) entered into force.Read more
New Nuclear Arms Reduction Treaty
On Wednesday, 24 March, both Russia and the United States indicated that after months of delay they are finally about to sign a new nuclear arms reduction treaty in the Czech capital Prague early next month.Read more
North Korea Confirms Nuclear Test
North Korea has conducted its second nuclear test, the country’s state news agency KCNA announced today. The nuclear test was expected. Earlier this year North Korea conducted a failed intercontinental missile test.Read more
New Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) to be signed on December 3, 2008
Cluster Bomb Tour Bus takes on Eastern Europe On Wednesday, 1st October an eight-week campaign trail through Europe was launched to convince all governments to sign a groundbreaking treaty banning cluster bombs, in Oslo on December 3, 2008. Beginning in Belgrade, Serbia and ending at the signing ceremony in Norway, the Ban Bus will rally […]Read more
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