Lecture 5 International humanitarian law Fall 2010. Means in armed conflict – (arms, projectiles, ammunition, etc.) Gro Nystuen. Prohibited weapons and ammunition. Point of departure: The principle of distinction (between combatants and civilians)
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Means in armed conflict – (arms, projectiles, ammunition, etc.)
AP I, art. 48:
Art.51 (4) Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. Indiscriminate attacks are:….(b) those which employ a method or means of combat which cannot be directed at a specific military objective; or….and consequently……, are of a nature to strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction.
(b): an attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.
If in doubt – better with explicit prohibitions
The fact that there is a list of prohibited weapons does not mean that all other weapons are legal
The States concluding this Treaty, …
Considering the devastation that would be visited upon all mankind by a nuclear war and the consequent need to make every effort to avert the danger of such a war and to take measures to safeguard the security of peoples,
Believing that the proliferation of nuclear weapons would seriously enhance the danger of nuclear war,…
Article 1: Each State Party to this Convention undertakes never in any circumstances to develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain:
Article II (7): "Riot Control Agent" means:
Any chemical not listed in a Schedule, which can produce rapidly in humans sensory irritation or disabling physical effects which disappear within a short time following termination of exposure.
RCAs are included in the first definition.
Both are explicitly prohibited to use as a method of warfare (Art. I (1) and (5)
Full title:Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction
ICRC CUSTOMARY STUDY PART IV
Rules 70-86 (but controversies)
In the study, development, acquisition or adoption of a new weapon, means or method of warfare, a High Contracting Party is under an obligation to determine whether its employment would, in some or all circumstances, be prohibited by this Protocol or by any other rule of international law applicable to the High Contracting Party.