Virtual information exchange on implementation of weapons reviews
In accordance with Article 36 of Additional Protocol I to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, States have a responsibility to determine whether the use of new weapons they study, develop, acquire or adopt would be prohibited under international law, in some or all circumstances. Conducting such reviews is a practical measure that all States can take to ensure they comply with international law.
Increased transparency on the conduct of weapons reviews would build confidence in how States fulfil this responsibility, helping to facilitate predictability with respect to the potential introduction of destabilizing new technologies and promoting common understanding regarding the application of international law, particularly IHL. It may also assist other States to strengthen their own practices and facilitate the identification of good practices that could form the basis for possible future common standards.
In action 25 of the Secretary-General’s disarmament agenda the Office for Disarmament Affairs commits to organizing with relevant partners “an informal process with a view to facilitating the exchange of information and experiences between States on the reviews of new weapons”. This virtual meeting, convened virtually from 16 to 17 September 2020, sought to begin that process.
Sarah-Jane White, Deputy Director, Directorate of Operations and International Law, Australian
Department of Defence
Boddens Hosang, Deputy Director of Legal Affairs, Netherlands Ministry of Defence
Mirco Anderegg, Deputy Head Law of Armed Conflict, Swiss Federal Department of Defence