AN APPRAISAL OF THE INTERNATIONAL LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE ELIMINATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR WORLD PEACE AND SECURITY
It is in the security interests of states to live in a peaceful and secure world. The pursuit of peace and security is, consequently, the desire of all states and often this finds place in their domestic policies. One of the ways in which states of the international community have sought to protect their security interests is by seeking military superiority over others and this invariably leads to conflict of interests among them. In the quest for global hegemony and military superiority, the United States of America and the Former Soviet Union in the mid-1940s developed the most destructive explosive device ever, the nuclear weapon and immediately commenced a nuclear arms race which motivated other states of the international community, United Kingdom, France and China, to produce their own nuclear weapons before 1968. In 1968, these five states sought to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons among other states of the international community and accordingly set a framework for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons with the stated intent of eventual elimination of these weapons. The most significant treaty in this framework came into effect in 1970. The Dissertation is an appraisal of the body of laws that constitute the international legal framework for the elimination of nuclear weapons and the
implications of such elimination for world peace and security. The research problem that the work confronts is the failure of the international community to achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons despite the existence, since 1970, of a legal regime for that purpose. The security of the world is currently jeopardized by the proliferation of terrorist networks globally. If nuclear weapons are not completely eliminated and their means of production effectively blocked, terrorist groups could eventually gain control of them and use them to destroy the world. The primary objective of the dissertation is, accordingly, to examine the existing legal framework for the elimination of nuclear weapons with the ultimate aim of contributing solutions to nuclear weapons elimination. The research scope specifically covers the laws and policies of the nine nuclear weapon states; U.S.A, Russia, China, U.K, France, India, Pakistan,
North Korea and Israel. The subject is, however, generally examined under the framework of international law and policy. The dissertation makes three significant findings; foremost, that the laws which constitute the international legal framework for the elimination of nuclear weapons are inadequate to achieve the goal of elimination, secondly, that a significant obstacle to the realization of the extant nuclear weapons law is the inefficiency of the enforcement mechanism of the law, thirdly, that the elimination of nuclear weapons is embroiled in power politics and therefore very difficult to achieve. Based on the findings, the dissertation recommends that a specialized agency be established under the United Nations for the sole purpose of elimination of nuclear weapons. It also recommends that international pressure should be intensified for the adoption of the proposed nuclear weapons convention as the substantive law on nuclear weapons elimination.