COMMENT: THE PROSPECTS FOR CHALLENGING U.S. NUCLEAR WEAPONS POLICY IN LIGHT OF THE WORLD COURT'S ADVISORY OPINION ON THE LEGALITY OF THE THREAT OR USE OF SUCH WEAPONS Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1997 St. Mary's University of San Antonio
St. Mary's Law Journal

COMMENT: THE PROSPECTS FOR CHALLENGING U.S. NUCLEAR WEAPONS POLICY IN LIGHT OF THE WORLD COURT'S ADVISORY OPINION ON THE LEGALITY OF THE THREAT OR USE OF SUCH WEAPONS

1997

28 St. Mary's L. J. 665

Author

STEPHEN GORDON

Excerpt




 
"The desert winds, blowing in varying directions at different altitudes, shaped the mushroom cloud into a giant question mark." 1


 


I. Introduction
 
Are nuclear weapons illegal? This question was recently put before the International Court of Justice by a resolution of the United Nations' General Assembly. 2 Many commentators have characterized the question as the most crucial and challenging the court has ever faced. 3 The significance of the court's decision to render judgment on the issue is evidenced in part by the fact that so many countries, including the United States, vigorously urged the court not to do so. 4 It seems somehow fitting that on the fiftieth anniversary of both the development of nuclear weapons and the establishment of the International Court of Justice itself, the court would be called upon to make such a historic determination.

The International Court of Justice (I.C.J.), or World Court, as it is commonly referred to, is the judicial arm of the United Nations (U.N.). 5 Its authority is limited to cases where a question of international law is specifically at issue, 6 and to exercise jurisdiction, it must have the consent of the parties involved. 7 The court's ability to find consent to its jurisdiction is still somewhat open to interpretation. 8 Since in this case the court was only called upon to give an advisory opinion, consent of the countries involved or affected by its decision was not needed. 9 However, the mere fact that an opinion is issued ...
 
 
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