New wars, new weapons? The obligation of States to assess the legality of means and methods of warfare
30-06-2002 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 846, by Isabelle Daoust, Robin Coupland, Rikke Ishoey
AbstractGiven the rapid development of weapons technology, new weapons must be subjected to close scrutiny. The authors stress the importance of implementing Art. 36 of Additional Protocol I, which requires the States Parties to determine whether a new weapon or means or method of warfare is compatible with international law. After discussing the main elements of this provision, the authors propose a multidisciplinary approach to weapons reviews, reflecting the wide range of technical, military and health issues involved. The article also describes the practice of States in this area, especially the measures taken by Australia, Norway, Sweden and the United States. These measures range from the adoption of national procedures and guidelines to the setting up of evaluation committees, but they do have a number of points in common. In conclusion, the article calls for wider promotion of Art. 36, which only a small number of States have implemented.