Nuclear weapons: a weighty matter for the International Court of Justice

28 February 1997 Luigi Condorelli

It is easy to heap scorn on the Advisory Opinion handed down by the International Court of Justice on 8 July 1996 on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons. No great cerebral effort is required; one need only choose any of the numerous and often harsh criticisms to be found in the declarations and the separate or dissenting opinions that all fourteen judges present took care to formulate, whether they agreed with the whole of the decision or voted against any of its paragraphs.

Indeed, one may well feel bemused when reading the views expressed by the judges as to the merits of the question asked by the General Assembly, and when one tries to relate those views to the title - declaration, separate opinion or dissenting opinion â€" chosen by each judge for his or her document and to the way the voting went.

About the author

Luigi Condorelli
Professor of International Law at the University of Geneva

Professor of International Law at the University of Geneva, where he also teaches international humanitarian law. He is at present (1996-1997) Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute, Florence.