Nuclear Weapons Challenge the World’s Highest Court

By Ramesh Jaura | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

BERLIN | THE HAGUE (IDN) - After ten days of public hearings involving teams of eminent international lawyers – some backed by staunch proponents of ‘nuclear zero’ and others clinging to the doctrine of ‘nuclear deterrence’ – the world’s highest court is faced with a challenging task of far-reaching significance.

Not the least because this year marks the twentieth anniversaries of the 1996 'advisory opinion' by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the opening for signature of the CTBT, the treaty banning all nuclear tests everywhere – nuclear tests that are at the heart of nuclear proliferation.

Explaining the core subject for ICJ’s deliberation, a famous Dutch lawyer Phon van den Biesen said, “from a legal perspective”, the issues presented by the three legal cases “are ordinary ones, but a positive outcome will, spectacularly, change the world”.


2016 Crucial for Promoting a Nuclear Weapons Free World

By Jamshed Baruah | IDN-INPS News Analysis

BERLIN | NEW YORK (IDN | INPS) - The 25th anniversary of the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, the twentieth year of the opening for signature of the treaty to ban all kinds of nuclear tests and the unanimous advisory by the world’s highest court in 1996 are three significant hallmarks of the year 2016.

“These historical dates are an important occasion for pooling the efforts of all countries to promote a nuclear-free world," said Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev on March 2 during a meeting in Astana with the heads of foreign diplomatic missions accredited in the republic.


The Beginning of the End for Nuclear Weapons?

By Daisaku Ikeda * | IDN-INPS Viewpoint

TOKYO (IDN | INPS) - Last year’s NPT Review Conference closed without bridging the chasm between the nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states. It was deeply regrettable that no consensus was reached at this significant juncture marking the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Hope still remains, however, thanks to a number of important developments. These include: the growing number of countries endorsing the Humanitarian Pledge, a commitment to work together for the resolution of the nuclear arms issue; the adoption in December 2015 by the UN General Assembly of several ambitious resolutions calling for a breakthrough; and rising calls from civil society for the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons. READ IN JAPANESE


Despite Hurdles Nuclear-Weapons-Free World Not a Lost Cause

By Jamshed Baruah | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

GENEVA (IDN) - The stalemate on nuclear weapons disarmament needs to be resolved amid increasing concern about the "prodigious" number of warheads still in circulation, said former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan addressing a Working Group at the UN in Geneva.

But the first session of the Open Ended Working Group on Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations (OEWG) did not come close to breaking the stalemate. The nuclear armed states did not participate in the deliberations February 22-26, though several countries relying on nuclear weapons joined. These included many NATO countries as well as Japan, South Korea and Australia.


Kazakhstan Determined to Achieve a Nuclear-Weapons Free World

By Ramesh Jaura | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

BERLIN | ASTANA (IDN) - Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov has urged the civil society, social movements and the public at large to support governments in achieving a nuclear-weapons-free world by 2045, when the United Nations will turn 100, and to help in the establishment of a Global Anti-Nuclear Movement,

These goals were part of key international initiatives President Nursultan Nazarbayev tabled during the General Assembly session in September 2015. He also called for creating a single global anti-terrorist network, allocating 1 percent of countries’ defence budgets to sustainable development, organizing a high-level international conference on reaffirming the principles of international law and coordinating international efforts under the UN on promoting green technologies.


‘Ratify Treaty to Ban Nuclear Testing Before Fatigue Creeps in’

IDN-InDepthNews Interview with CTBTO Chief Dr Lassina Zerbo

CTBTO Chief Lassina Zerbo | Credit: CTBTO

BERLIN | VIENNA (IDN) - Twenty years after it was opened for signature, the CTBT has come to stay as a de facto global treaty banning all nuclear testing – “if we take North Korea outside of the scope” – but Dr Zerbo Lassina wants to see it de jure because he is concerned that the longer it takes for its entry into force, the greater is the risk of a “fatigue” creeping in that could lead to people saying: “Why are we investing in something if we don’t know when the treaty will come into force?”


Rescuing Multilateral Disarmament

By Jayantha Dhanapala* | IDN-InDepthNews Essay

KANDY, Sri Lanka (IDN) - The International Peace Institute, since its inception as the International Peace Academy in 1970, has focused on strengthening the multilateral process in the conduct of international affairs with the United Nations as its focal point. It is appropriate that in the 70th anniversary year of our indispensable global institution, the UN, an Independent Commission on Multilateralism should be established by the IPI to address 16 topics of relevance to the global agenda.

It is a necessary corollary to the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals that the international community has agreed to pursue. I welcome especially the Commission’s choice of “Weapons of Mass Destruction, Nonproliferation and Disarmament” as one of them.

Seventy years ago on January 24, 1946, the United Nations General Assembly meeting in London adopted its very first resolution and, significantly, by consensus. This historic resolution established a commission of the UN Security Council to ensure:


Fearing a Veto Threat, Security Council Delays Action on North Korea

By Rodney Reynolds | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

Model of a Unha-9 rocket on display at a floral exhibition in Pyongyang, 30 August 2013 | Credit: Wikimedia Commons

UNITED NATIONS (IDN) – When the 15-member UN Security Council (UNSC) met at an emergency session on February 7, a non-working Sunday afternoon, to discuss the most recent defiance by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the outcome was predictable.

After “urgent consultations”, the UNSC “strongly condemned” DPRK for launching a rocket which could lead to the future development of intercontinental ballistic missile technologies.


Japan and Kazakhstan Campaign for Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

By Ramesh Jaura | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

VIENNA | TOKYO (IDN) - As the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) prepares to convene a ministerial meeting in June, Kazakhstan and Japan have reaffirmed their commitment to intensify their efforts toward entry into force of the Treaty.

During the first week of the symposium ‘Science and Diplomacy for Peace and Security’ from January 25 to February 4, representatives of the two countries in Vienna assured that they would set forth their efforts initiated by their respective foreign ministers in September 2015 at the United Nations headquarters in New York.


Nuclear-Test-Ban Debate Focuses on Iran and North Korea

By Ramesh Jaura | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

VIENNA (IDN) - Iran and North Korea dominated the landmark symposium ‘Science and Diplomacy for Peace and Security’ organised by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) end of January in Vienna, the capital of Austria.

As chance would have it, ahead of the event, on January 16, U.S. President Barack Obama revoked a 20-year system of sanctions against Iran and Federica Mogherini, the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs, announced the lifting of EU economic blockade against Tehran.


Kazakh Efforts Lead to a UN Declaration on a Nuke Free World

By J Nastranis | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

NEW YORK (IDN) - The Central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan is widely acknowledged as an unrelenting champion of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The country’s latest accomplishment is the resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly along with the Universal Declaration on the Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World.