On Wednesday 2 April 2014, The City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law and the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy (LCNP) organized an educational forum “Law’s Imperative: A World Free of Nuclear Weapons” which gave the New York City audience multilateral perspectives for a world without nuclear weapons.
The forum brought together guests from the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), academic institutions, and civil society as well as distinguished experts in international law and nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. This included Mr. Roger Clark, Board of Governors Professor at Rutgers School of Law; Ms. Elizabeth Shafer, LCNP Vice President; Mr. Hans Corell, former Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and Legal Counsel of the United Nations; Mr. Peter Weiss, LCNP President Emeritus, Ms. Virginia Gamba, Director of the UNODA and Deputy to the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.
A number of distinguished experts respectively made remarks on the complete abolition of nuclear weapons. Each of them emphasized the significance of rule of law as a means for nuclear disarmament noting that cooperation among Member States, international organizations, and civil society was also essential to realize this goal. Ms. Gamba focused her remarks on the UN’s strengths and its potential to contribute significantly to the elimination of nuclear weapons. She set out five specific standards or norms that are needed for any successful nuclear disarmament arrangement: robust verification, irreversibility, transparency, universality, and being of a legally binding nature.
Mr. Peter Weiss closed the event. Despite some slow progress on nuclear disarmament, he stated that 2013 had been the best year for the last decade in terms of nuclear disarmament efforts. He noted the importance of the Austrian Government’s initiative to host another follow-up conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and hoped that the upcoming conference will lead to a paradigm change and hopefully to an eventual convention outlawing nuclear weapons.
The forum concluded with participants’ discussing the imperative of nuclear disarmament. It was followed by a reception which honoured Mr. Weiss for his many years’ contributions to nuclear disarmament and the rule of law.
Article and photographs by Aoi Sato