Ending Civilian Suffering: The Purpose, Provisions, and Promise of Humanitarian Disarmament Law Bonnie Docherty I. Introduction Humanitarian disarmament, a groundbreaking approach to disarmament that makes ending civilian suffering its core objective, has reshaped the ﬁ eld of weapons law over the past ﬁ fteen years. Earlier in the modern disarmament era, which began in the 1970s, maintaining security was the dominant goal. Treaties prioritized state interests because ‘the traditional unit of security’ was the state. The end of the Cold War made possible the development of a new kind of disarmament law with a humanitarian focus. Its purpose is to protect individual civilians from the suffering caused by armed conﬂ ict. Two treaties – the Mine Ban Treaty and Convention on Cluster Munitions – have embodied humanitarian disarmament. They seek to eliminate the civilian harm caused by problematic weapons. To achieve this goal, they adopted comprehensive and unqualiﬁ ed obligations that reﬂ ect a heightened commitment to reducing the negative effects of war. Three kinds of provisions characterize humanitarian disarmament treaties. First, these instruments establish absolute bans on the use, production, Bonnie Docherty is a senior researcher in the Arms Division at Human Rights Watch and lecturer on law
Austrian Review of International and European Law Online – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2010
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