Nuclear Weapon-Free Zones

Marco Roscini

University of Westminster School of Law

July 1, 2003

LE ZONE DENUCLEARIZZATE, Turin: Giappichelli, pp. XVI-441, No. ISBN 88-348-3417-8, 2003

This book analyses the four treaties establishing nuclear weapon-free zones in populated areas, i.e. the 1967 Tlatelolco Treaty, the 1985 Rarotonga Treaty, the 1995 Bangkok Treaty and the 1996 Pelindaba Treaty. After discussing the history of the concept and its role in the framework of nuclear disarmament/non-proliferation, the book examines and compares the denuclearisation obligations of the states parties to the four treaties.

Chapter II discusses whether the nuclear weapon-free zone treaties establish a 'territorial objective regime', i.e. an erga omnes territorial status which must be respected by all states, not only by the contracting parties. Even accepting this doctrine (which is however highly controversial), the book concludes that the treaties on nuclear weapon-free zones fall short of the necessary requirements to establish an objective regime.

Chapter III analyses and compares the territorial scope of application of the four treaties, with particular reference to territories whose sovereignty and responsibility for international relations is disputed.

It is also controversial to what extent, if at all, the four treaties allow the passage through the zones of ships and aircraft carrying nuclear weapons. Chapter IV tries to answer this question by distinguishing first the marine spaces from the airspace of the contracting parties, and then the waters over which states exercise full sovereignty from those over which they only enjoy sovereign rights.

Chapter VI deals with the negative security assurances provided by the nuclear weapon states to the denuclearised states, which are contained in the protocols additional to the main treaties. The chapter also analyses the problem of the legality of the declarations issued when signing and/or ratifying the additional protocols, through which the nuclear powers have set limitations on the negative security assurances.

Chapter VII deals with the mechanisms for verifying compliance. Apart from the specific measures provided in each treaty, the remedies provided by customary international law (i.e., countermeasures) and other applicable treaties (e.g., intervention by the relevant organs of the United Nations or regional organisations) are discussed in depth.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 6

Keywords: Nuclear weapon-free zones, nuclear ships, countermeasures, state succession, objective regimes, disarmament, nuclear tests, radioactive materials, Non-Proliferation Treaty, territorial sea, exclusive economic zone, continental shelf

JEL Classification: K33

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Date posted: February 13, 2009 ; Last revised: April 21, 2014

Suggested Citation

Roscini, Marco, Nuclear Weapon-Free Zones (July 1, 2003). LE ZONE DENUCLEARIZZATE, Turin: Giappichelli, pp. XVI-441, No. ISBN 88-348-3417-8, 2003. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1338131

Contact Information

Marco Roscini (Contact Author)
University of Westminster School of Law ( email )
4 Little Titchfield Street
London, W1W 7UW
United Kingdom

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