Research Handbook on International Conflict and Security Law
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Research Handbook on International Conflict and Security Law

Jus ad Bellum, Jus in Bello and Jus post Bellum

Edited by Nigel White and Christian Henderson

This innovative Research Handbook brings together leading international law scholars from around the world to discuss and highlight the contemporary debate regarding issues of conflict prevention and the legality of resorting to the use of armed force through to those arising during an armed conflict and in the phase between conflict and peace.
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Chapter 2: Disarmament and non-proliferation

Jus ad Bellum, Jus in Bello and Jus post Bellum

Mirko Sossai


This chapter is aimed at assessing the law governing disarmament as one of the pillars constituting the overall framework for the maintenance of international peace and security. The objective of disarmament efforts is a negotiated reduction in armaments as a means to avoid the recourse to the use of force in international relations, although exigencies connected with the maintenance of international peace and security require the continued existence of efficient armed forces. It is significant that in the Presidential Statement issued at the end of a thematic debate held on this subject in 2008, the UN Security Council (hereinafter ‘UNSC’) stressed ‘the importance of appropriate levels of military expenditure, in order to achieve undiminished security for all at the lowest appropriate level of armaments’. The modern law on weaponry is characterized by a close relationship between disarmament law and the law of armed conflict (jus in bello). In principle, their regulatory approach is different: whereas disarmament treaties introduce a ban on the development, production and stockpiling of weapons, international humanitarian law disciplines their use. However, recent disarmament treaties do take into account humanitarian concerns: the paradigmatic example is the 1993 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and the Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (hereinafter ‘CWC’). Nevertheless it should be borne in mind that disarmament treaties and international humanitarian law on weaponry seek to achieve different objectives: both branches of law are aimed at reducing the destructive potential of war, but while the former serves the purpose of lessening the probability of the outbreak of war, the primary aim of the law of armed conflict is to preserve certain core humanitarian values during hostilities.

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