Nanotechnology and the International Law of Weaponry: Towards International Regulation of Nano-Weapons
Journal of Law, Information and Technology, Vol. 20, pp. 21-54, 2010
34 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2010
Date Written: December 20, 2010
The development of nanotechnology for military application is an emerging area of research and development, the pace and extent of which has not been fully anticipated by international legal regulation. Nano-weapons are referred to here as objects and devices using nanotechnology or causing effects in nano-scale that are designed or used for harming humans. Such weapons, despite their controversial human and environmental toxicity, are not comprehensively covered by specific, targeted regulation under international law. This article critically examines current international humanitarian law and arms control law regimes to determine whether significant gaps exist in the regulation of nanotechnology focused on offensive military application. It presents and evaluates the reasons why more robust regulatory mechanisms under international law for nano-weapons should, or should not, be considered. Lastly, the strengths and weaknesses of different models of international regulation for nano-weapons will be examined.
Keywords: Nanotechnology, Nanoweapons, International Security, Arms Control, Military, Weapons regulation
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation