Practice Relating to Nuclear Weapons
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in its Book IV (Instruction of heads of division and company commanders):
II.2.4. Nuclear weapons
The United Nations General Assembly has condemned nuclear weapons as illegal, while the international community is divided on this question. Although nuclear weapons are not specifically prohibited by any international treaty, it would be possible to argue that the use of nuclear weapons would violate international law in various matters, since:
- they would cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering;
- they would strike without distinction;
- their use would cause long-term and severe damage to the natural environment.
In 1996, at the request of the United Nations General Assembly, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) produced an advisory opinion on the legality of nuclear weapons. The judges stated by majority that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law. However, the ICJ continued by declaring that it could not render a final decision on the legality of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances of self-defence or when the survival of a State is at stake.