"For these reasons, THE COURT
(1) By thirteen votes to one, DECIDES to comply with the request for an advisory opinion;
IN FAVOUR: PRESIDENT Bedjaoui; VICE-PRESIDENT Schwebej, JUDGES
Guillaume, Shahabuddeen, Weeramantry, Ranjeva, Herczegh, Shi,
Fleischhauer, Koroma, Vereshchetin, Ferrari Bravo, Higgins;
AGAINST: JUDGE Oda
(2) REPLIES in the following manner to the question put by the
A. Unanimously, There is in neither customary nor conventional international law any specific authorisation of the threat or use of nuclear
B. By eleven votes to three, There is in neither customary nor conventional international law any comprehensive and universal prohibition of the threat or use
of nuclear weapons as such;
IN FAVOUR: PRESIDENT Bedjaoui; VICE-PRESIDENT Schwebel; JUDGES Oda, Guillaume, Ranjeva, Herczegh, Shi, Fleischhauer,
Vereshchetin, Ferrari Bravo, Higgins;
AGAINST: JUDGES Shahabuddeen, Veeramantry, Koroma
C. Unanimously, A threat or use of force by means of nuclear weapons that is contrary to Article 2, paragraph 4 of the United Nations Charter
and that fails to meet all the requirements of Article 51 is unlawful;
D. Unanimously, A threat or use of nuclear weapons should also be compatible with the requirements of the international law applicable in armed
conflict particularly those of the principles and rules of international humanitarian law, as well as with specific obligations under treaties and other undertakings which expressly deal with nuclear weapons;
E. By seven votes to seven, It follows from the above-mentioned requirements 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, in view of the current state of International Law, and of the elements of fact at its disposal, the Court cannot conclude definitively whether the threat or use of nuclear
weapons would be lawful or unlawful in an extreme circumstance of self-defence, in which the very survival of a State would be a stake;
IN FAVOUR: PRESIDENT Bedjaoui, JUDGE Renjeva, Herczegh, Shi,
Fleischhauer, Vereschetin, Ferrari Bravo;
AGAINST: VICE-PRESIDENT Schwebel; JUDGES: Oda. Guillaume, Shahabuddeen, Weeramantry, Koroma Higgins.
F. Unanimously, There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its
aspects under strict and effective international control.
The Court was composed as follows:
JUDGES Oda, Guillaume, Shahabuddeen,
Weeramantry, Ranjeva, Herczegh, Shi, Fleischauer, Koroma,
Vereshchetin, Ferrari Bravo, Higgins:
PRESIDENT Bedjaoui, JUDGES Herczegh, Shi, Vereshchetin and
Ferrari Bravo appended declarations to the Advisory Opinion of
JUDGES Guillaume, Ranjeva and Fleischhauer, Koroma and Higgins
appended dissenting opinions.
The printed text of the Advisory Opinion and the declarations and
opinions appended to it will become available in due course
(orders and enquires should be addressed to the Distributor and
Sales Section, Office of the United Nations, 1211 Geneva, 10.
The Sales Section United Nations New York, NT 10017; or any
appropriately specialised bookshop).
A summary of the Advisory Opinion is given below. It has been
prepared by the Registry for the use of the Press and in no way
involves the responsibility of the Court. It cannot be quoted
against the text of the Advisory Opinion, of which it does not
constitute and interpretation.
ICJ Opinion Page