Court Project: Dispositif (conclusions) of the International Court of
Justice Advisory Opinion on Nuclear Weapons
(1) By thirteen votes to one,
Decidesto comply with the request for an advisory opinion;
IN FAVOUR: President Bedjaoui; Vice-President Schwebel; 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 General
There is in neither customary nor conventional international law any specific
authorization of the threat or use of nuclear weapons;
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, Weeramantry, Koroma.
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;
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, by the President's casting vote,
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 at stake;
IN FAVOUR: President Bedjaoui; Judges Ranjeva, Herczegh, Shi, Fleischhauer,
Vereschetin, Ferrari Bravo;
AGAINST: Vice-President Schwebel; Judges Oda, Guillaume, Shahabuddeen, Weeramantry,
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
Done in English and in French, the English text being authoritative, at the Peace
Palace, The Hague, this eighth day of July, one thousand nine hundred and ninety-six, in
two copies, one of which will be placed in the archives of the Court and the other
transmitted to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
(Signed) Eduardo VALENCIA-OSPINA,
President BEDJAOUI, Judges HERCZEGH, SHI, VERESHCHETIN and FERRARI BRAVO append
declarations to the Advisory Opinion of the Court.
Judges GUILLAUME, RANJEVA and FLEISCHHAUER append separate opinions to the Advisory
Opinion of the Court.
Vice-President SCHWEBEL, Judges ODA, SHAHABUDDEEN, WEERAMANTRY, KOROMA and HIGGINS append dissenting opinions to the Advisory Opinion of the Court.