Research Handbook on International Law and Peace
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Research Handbook on International Law and Peace

Edited by Cecilia M. Bailliet

Peace is an elusive concept, especially within the field of international law, varying according to historical era and between contextual applications within different cultures, institutions, societies, and academic traditions. This Research Handbook responds to the gap created by the neglect of peace in international law scholarship. Explaining the normative evolution of peace from the principles of peaceful co-existence to the UN declaration on the right to peace, this Research Handbook calls for the fortification of international institutions to facilitate the pursuit of sustainable peace as a public good.
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Chapter 11: Nuclear abolition from Baruch to the ban

Kjølv Egeland


The relationship between nuclear disarmament and peace is close but uneasy. On the one hand, nuclear weapons are indiscriminate implements of mass killing, developed to destroy whole cities. Nuclear disarmament is by many viewed as a prerequisite of peace in both the positive and negative senses of the term. But on the other hand, some argue that the prospect of a devastating nuclear conflict is precisely the reason major powers have not waged war on each other since 1945. Nuclear weapons, in this view, foster peace. These conflicting understandings of the relationship between nuclear weapons and peace have both found expression in the institutional and legal framework for nuclear arms control and disarmament. In recent years, non-nuclear-weapon states and civil society actors have sought to resolve the apparent contradictions of the nuclear regime by bringing into force a treaty unequivocally prohibiting nuclear weapons.

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