AUTHORMoxley, Charles J., Jr.
TITLENuclear Weapons and International Law in the Post Cold War World
PUBLISHERAustin & Winfield
CITYLanham, Maryland
DATE PUBLISHED2000
ISBN1-57292-152-8


This book is a comprehensive study of U.S. and international postures on the law applicable to the use of nuclear weapons. The author, Charles Moxley, Jr., takes as his starting point the law as seen by both the United States and by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its July 1996 advisory opinion. In a split decision (seven to seven, with a tie-breaking vote made by the President of the Court, Judge Bedjaoui), the court determined general illegality with special provisions for use in an “extreme circumstance of self-defense” (p. 155). Moxley evaluates that decision, asserting that the existing rules of law, supported by both the United States and the ICJ, are adequate to create per se illegality of all nuclear weapons. He analyzes those rules of law, including the topics of recklessness, necessitated use of force, and probability analysis of nuclear weapons risks. He also explores the risk factors of the weapons themselves, including the destructiveness; the unforeseen consequences of even low-yield, tactical nuclear weapons; and the risks of nuclear, chemical, or biological retaliation. Moxley determines that, under any general recognized principles of law, the vast majority of intended uses of nuclear weapons are per se unlawful, and that policy should henceforth recognize and reflect that inherent, general illegality.


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