Practice Relating to Rule 70. Weapons of a Nature to Cause Superfluous Injury or Unnecessary Suffering
In 1974, during discussions in the Ad Hoc Committee on Conventional Weapons established by the CDDH, Egypt stated that it was “still in favour of complete prohibition of the use of all weapons that might cause unnecessary suffering … The main object was to humanize war as far as possible by imposing a certain discipline on belligerents.”
In its written statement submitted to the ICJ in the Nuclear Weapons case in 1995, Egypt stated:
19. The prohibition against the use of weapons which render death inevitable or cause unnecessary suffering: “The right of belligerents to the conflict to adopt means of injuring the enemy is not unlimited.” [reference is made to Article 22 of the 1907 Hague Regulations] This rule imposes on the belligerents the obligation to refrain from cruel and treacherous behaviour. As far as weapons are concerned, since the nineteenth century this humanitarian principle has been embodied in two rules: one forbids the use of poisons, while the other prohibits the use of weapons capable of causing superfluous injuries …
20. The laws of the Hague [reference is made to Article 23(e) of the 1907 Hague Regulations] and Geneva [reference is made to Article 35(2) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I] provide that it is especially forbidden to employ weapons, projectiles and material and methods of warfare of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering. It goes without saying that the enormous blast waves, air blasts, fires, residual nuclear radiation or radioactive fallout, electromagnetic impulses and thermal radiation, which are primary effects of the use of nuclear weapons, cause extensive “unnecessary suffering”.
Upon signature of the 1998 ICC Statute, Egypt stated that it understood Article 8 of the Statute as follows:
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 … cause unnecessary damage, in contravention of international humanitarian law.