Legal Review of Weapons

Background

States have regularly addressed the question of the legality of weapons on a multilateral level ― international agreements prohibiting or restricting the use of such weapons as poison, dum-dum bullets, cluster munitions, and anti-personnel landmines are just one of many similar examples. Much less information, however, is available on how individual States address the question of weapons legality in practice. To bridge this gap, Natalia’s thesis looks into the duty of States to conduct legal reviews of weapons under Article 36 of the 1977 Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, customary international humanitarian law, and the relevant national legislation.

Our Research

At PREMT, Natalia Jevglevskaja investigates the legal scope of the weapons review obligation under international law and its role in ensuring that the use of emerging military technology is consistent with the applicable legal framework. The research focus is on Article 36 of the Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions. Potential alternative review processes are considered in examining the extent to which an obligation to conduct a legal assessment of weapons might have advanced to customary international law. As part of her research Natalia has conducted a series of qualitative interviews with government officials involved in examinations of proposed new weapons in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Switzerland ― States with a systematic weapons review mechanism in place. In the assessment of the domestic procedures for determining the conformity of proposed new weapons systems with international law, her doctoral thesis particularly looks at potential legal and practical challenges that cutting edge and emerging military technologies might pose for such review programmes.