Use of nuclear weapons as genocide, a crime against humanity or a war crime
Nuclear weapons under international law
Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2014
This chapter discusses the use of nuclear weapons as an international crime, focusing on genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, including three modes of liability for such crimes (joint criminal enterprise, joint criminal responsibility (according to control theory) and aiding and abetting an international crime). The Nuclear Weapons Advisory Opinion issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 1996 did not discuss any of these crimes in detail. The chapter begins by summarising international criminal law (ICL) and its relevance for the use of nuclear weapons. It then looks in turn at the extent to which use of nuclear weapons could be considered an act of genocide, a war crime or a crime against humanity, potentially engaging individual criminal responsibility under ICL not only for the adjudged principal of any violation, but also for a participant of a joint criminal enterprise, an individual sharing joint criminal responsibility or an individual as an aider or abettor.
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