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The Law of War and Dubious Weapons

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Publisher: Almqvist & Wiksell
ISBN 91-85114-31-6
78 pp.
1976

Technology has produced numerous new weapons, including weapons of mass destruction, and recent armed conflicts have shown the devastating effects of some of them. The idea of conciliating the necessities of war with the laws of humanity, as contained in the St Petersburg Declaration of 1868, has been promoted by the efforts of the United Nations in 1974 and 1975, on the initiative of the Red Cross. A further diplomatic conference, in 1976, will deal with two 'Draft Protocols to the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949'.

The 1976 discussions will centre around specific conventional weapons of a "dubious" nature, their restriction or prohibition. The question of the legal principles applying to these weapons has therefore been brought into prominence, and this book attempts to deal with it. Among other things, it considers the traditional international law concerning armed conflict, and its adequacy in the light of the rapid developments in both new conventional and unconventional dubious weapons.

Although industrialization and technological weapon development has blurred the distinction between combatant and civilian, and has provided additional arguments for the opinion that any humanitarian limitation of the scope of war is impossible, this book upholds the value of the historically established principles of the law of war. In as much as man has not become a slave of technology and still seeks to avoid self-destruction, these principles are sound, and need only to be reaffirmed and strengthened.

 

Contents

1. The principles of the law of war

2. Application of the principles of the law of war to new weapons