Practice Relating to Rule 71. Weapons That Are by Nature Indiscriminate
Upon signature of the 1998 ICC Statute, Egypt stated that its understanding of Article 8 of the Statute was as follows:
(a) The provisions of the Statute with regard to the war crimes referred to in article 8 in general and article 8, paragraph 2(b) in particular shall apply irrespective of the means by which they were perpetrated or the type of weapon used, including nuclear weapons, which are indiscriminate in nature … in contravention of international humanitarian law.
(d) Article 8, paragraph 2(b)(xvii) and (xviii) of the Statute shall be applicable to all types of emissions which are indiscriminate in their effects and the weapons used to deliver them, including emissions resulting from the use of nuclear weapons.
In 1974, during discussions in the Ad Hoc Committee on Conventional Weapons established by the CDDH, Egypt stated: “Time-delay[ed] weapons … were … indiscriminate.”
In a later statement in 1976, Egypt also advocated a “total prohibition” of weapons that had indiscriminate effects.
In its written statement submitted to the ICJ in the Nuclear Weapons case in 1995, Egypt stated that the use of nuclear weapons “cannot at all be legal” because
by their inherent qualitative and quantitative characteristics of their effect, nuclear weapons necessarily have cataclysmic and indiscriminate effects and cannot distinguish between combatants and non-combatants and between protected and unprotected objects, and are expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.
In its oral pleadings before the ICJ in the Nuclear Weapons case in 1995, Egypt stated:
The use of nuclear weapons is prohibited not because they are or they are called nuclear weapons. They fall under the prohibitions of the fundamental and mandatory rules of humanitarian law which long predate them, by their effects; not because they are nuclear, but because they are indiscriminate weapons of mass destruction.