Nuclear Weapons under International Law

Completed in December 2015

There is no unequivocal and explicit prohibition of nuclear weapons under international law, although it significantly restricts the possibility for lawful use. With regard to possession, production and stockpiling of nuclear weapons, a number of regimes constitute important regulatory frameworks that to a large degree have prevented nuclear proliferation.

In contrast to other legal regimes pertaining to weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapon use, production, transfer and possession is not explicitly prohibited. Disarmament obligations are challenging to enforce.



Picture of Stuart Casey-Maslen

Stuart Casey-Maslen


In Nuclear Weapons under International Law: An Overview (October 2014), the Geneva Academy and the International Law and Policy Institute summarize international law governing nuclear weapons with regard to the inter-state use of force, international humanitarian law, human rights law, disarmament law and environmental law. This summary is based on Nuclear Weapons Under International Law, edited by Gro Nystuen, Annie Golden Bersagel and Stuart Casey-Maslen, and published by Cambridge University Press (August 2014).


A computer graphic simulation of a Future Protected Vehicle Project

Autonomous Weapon Systems under International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law

Completed in January 2015

This project examined the legal requirements that the use of autonomous weapon systems would need to comply with in a number of scenarios envisaged by proponents of increasing autonomy in weapon systems.

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Police intervention during a demonstration Project

Non-Kinetic-Energy Weapons

Completed in January 2009

Non-kinetic-energy (NKE) weapons inflict harm through the emission of different forms of radiation or sound, diffusion of chemical or biological agents or transmission of electricity, rather than the application of kinetic energy possessed by a fragment, bullet or other projectile.

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