International Court of Justice advisory opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons
Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons was an advisory opinion delivered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 8 July 1996.The initial request for an advisory opinion by the ICJ was presented by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 3 September 1993, but the ICJ did not render an opinion on this request because the WHO was ultra vires, or acting outside its legal capacity. Another request was presented by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1994 and accepted by the Court in January 1995. The ICJ handed down an advisory opinion on 8 July 1996 the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons case. The decision provides one of the few authoritative judicial decisions concerning the legality under international law of the use or the threatened use of nuclear weapons.Beyond the central question, many more general issues were touched upon by the Court or raised in the pleadings. These included institutional issues such as the proper role of international judicial bodies, and the ICJ's advisory function. The main substantive issues regarded sources of international legal obligation and the interaction of various branches of international law, particularly the norms of international humanitarian law (jus in bello) and the rules governing the use of force (jus ad bellum). In addition, the proceedings explored the status of ""Lotus approach"", and employed the concept of non liquet. There were also strategic questions such as the legality of the practice of nuclear deterrence or the meaning of Article VI of the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.The Hypothetical possibility of outlawing the use of nuclear weapons in an armed conflict was raised as early as June 30, 1950, by the Dutch representative to the International Law Commission (ILC) J.P.A. François, who suggested this ""would in itself be an advance"". In addition, the Polish government requested this issue to be examined by the ILC as a crime against the peace of mankind. However, the issue became mute due to Cold War tensions.