International Law on Weapons of Mass Destruction

Only an equitable International law backed by political commitment to compliance to rule of law can contain the proliferation and testing of weapon of mass destructions. This paper studies types of weapons of mass destruction and instances they have been applied. It also studies various international treaties that have been signed between countries to prohibit proliferation of WMDs and their technology to other countries. Treaties have also been signed to prohibit carrying out of tests on these WMDs and disarmament or destruction of built up stocks. The paper also studies the impact of these treaties.

The treaties determine who possesses WMDs and how they are used. It looks at the achievements and failures or these treaties. Finally the paper makes recommendations on how political will power would make international law more successful in controlling WMDs. It studies how lacks of political commitment and inequitable international laws have led to the proliferation of WMDs. Weapons of Mass Destruction Weapons of mass destruction have no single definition. However, it is unanimous that when WMDs are used lead to great loss of life in human beings, animals and plants. They cause great destruction of property and the environment.

WMDs constitute of biological, chemical, nuclear and sometimes radiological weapons. Such weapons leave a lot of damage in their wake and their effects can be felt for years (David, P Fildler, 2003) they WMDs affect every body and everything that exists not just soldiers in the battlefront. WMDs present a pertinent issue in most conflicts between nations today. The use of such weapons in open warfare has been rare and they have been tested in controlled environment. However, nations have developed, piled and tested WMDs in readiness in case war breaks out. Chemical warfare was first applied in the First World War between 1914 and 1919.

After the war, their use was banned under the 1925 Geneva Protocol. This protocol did not however stop further application and development. Italy used poisonous gases in it war with Ethiopia while US used chemical herbicide in the Vietnam War. Another widespread application was in the Iraq – Iran war (www. state. gov) Nuclear weapons pose the greatest risk if used. These weapons would cause great destruction of the earth’s surface. Apart from the US atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan during the Second World War, nuclear weapons have remained largely unapplied in war.

Biological weapons causes illnesses among the victims animal and plant life. They involve introduction of viruses and bacteria to a target population. They are not easily felt at first and therefore spreads wide before any action can be taken. Mostly the germs are of a highly infections diseases such as anthrax and Ebola. The most recent application was mailing of anthrax germs laden to U. S residents in 2001. They were covered by the 1925 Geneva protocol along with chemical weapons. (www. fas. org) Radiological weapons involve spread of radioactive material to affect humanity.

They are also referred to as dirty bombs. There has never been any application of radiological weapons. During the cold war, the US and the Soviet Union engage in a most comprehensive arms race for political posterity. Both governments invested heavily on research and development in to more advanced warfare. In fact all weapons of mass destruction owe their advancement to this arm race. They built up large stockpiles of al type so of weapons and placed them strategically word wide in case of an outbreak of war. These actions did not cede with the introduction of international laws but have continued to date.