1st Edition

A Guide to International Disarmament Law

By Stuart Casey-Maslen, Tobias Vestner Copyright 2019
    276 Pages
    by Routledge

    276 Pages
    by Routledge

    Disarmament is integral to the safeguarding and promotion of security, development, and human rights. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent each year on disarmament operations, yet no comprehensive guide exists to explain clearly the international rules governing disarmament. This book seeks to fill that gap. It describes the international legal rules that govern disarmament and the operational, political, and technical considerations that govern their implementation. This book aims to support compliance, implementation, and further development of international disarmament law.

    Traditionally, disarmament focused on weapons of mass destruction. This remains a critically important area of work. In recent decades, the scope of disarmament has broadened to encompass also conventional weapons, including through the adoption of rules and regulations to govern arms transfers and measures to eliminate specific munitions from stockpiles and to destroy explosive remnants of war. There have also been four "generations" of programmes to address small arms and light weapons at national or sub-national level through disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration (DDR) programmes during and following the end of armed conflict.

    While an internationally accepted definition of disarmament does not yet exist, it is widely agreed that disarmament encompasses or interrelates with prohibitions and restrictions on the development, production, stockpiling, testing, and transfer of weapons and on their destruction. In addition to clarifying these elements, chapters of this guide will also consider the relationship between disarmament and the law of armed conflict, and with the United Nations Security Council, human security, public health, and non-state actors.


    1. The core concepts of international disarmament law

    2. The core elements of disarmament treaties

    3. Disarmament, arms control, and security

    4. Use and threat of use

    5. Development and testing

    6. Transfer

    7. Stockpile destruction

    8. Addressing the effects of weapons

    9. Reporting, verification, and compliance

    10. Disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration (DDR)



    Stuart Casey-Maslen is Honorary Professor of International Law at the Centre for Human Rights in the University of Pretoria in South Africa. He holds a doctorate in the Law of Armed Conflict and master’s degrees in International Human Rights Law and Forensic Ballistics. He was previously Head of Research of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and has also worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and several non-governmental organisations, including Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA).

    Tobias Vestner is Head of the Security and Law Programme at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) in Switzerland. Prior to joining GCSP, he was Research Affiliate and Global Futures Fellow at Georgetown University and Policy Advisor at the Export Control Policy Division of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs. He also worked at the Law of Armed Conflict Section of the Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport and serves as reserve Legal Advisor at the Swiss Armed Forces Staff. He holds a Master of Science in Foreign Service and a Master of Laws in International and European Law.