ILPI has extensive experience in analysing and identifying developmental, humanitarian and legal problems caused by or related to, use of arms within and outside situations of armed conflict, and develop relevant responses to address them. ILPI’s vast competence in this field include treaty making, export controls, disarmament, implementation of mine and ERW action programs, Weapons of Mass Destruction and SALW-responses. In addition to its in-house expertise, ILPI cooperates with States, the United Nations, the ICRC and civil society organisations. Currently the programme is focussed at five broad issues:
Mines and other hazardous remnants of armed conflict
All modern armed conflicts generate long-term physical contamination by explosives and other hazardous items, exposing people and communities to risks and causing developmental obstacles. ILPI staff has long-time experience in working with the development and implementation of the various international responses to such problems, including the two conventions prohibiting anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions.
Arms trade and management
The manner in which States, corporations, non-state actors, individuals and criminal networks produce, transfer, acquire and stockpile arms have consequences for the security of individuals, communities and states. ILPI works closely in the establishment of the new UN Arms Trade Treaty, and has competence within export control regimes, and relevant international, regional and national regulatory frameworks.
Nuclear weapons and other WMD
The international community has prohibited some weapons of mass destruction (biological and chemical) but not others (nuclear). The ILPI Nuclear Weapons Project informs and shapes international discourse on how to reach the common goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons, with academic publications, background papers, legal and policy analysis and roundtable discussions. ILPI competence on arms and international law is relevant for addressing regulatory and policy issues relevant for other WMDs.
Use of force have consequences in time and space beyond the direct effect following targeting and firing. Explosive weapons cause wide area destruction without distinguishing between military objectives and civilian objects. Civilians may be caught in crossfire, deliberately targeted, or exposed to direct and long-term effects of shelling, aerial attacks or from use of Improvised Explosive Devices. ILPI is involved with efforts to identify how employment of various types of arms and various employment methods can have humanitarian consequences that may be in conflict with IHL.
Technological developments and emerging military technologies continuously present new means and methods of war. ILPI looks at the ways in which technologies such as Autonomous Weapon Systems may challenge core rules of international law, and potentially change the way armed conflicts are fought.