Amicus Memorandum to the Chair of the NW Ban Treaty Negotiating ConferencePosted: June 12, 2017
Readers will know that a U.N. conference has been engaged in negotiating the text of a treaty which will establish a prohibition on the possession and use of nuclear weapons among its parties. On May 22, 2017 the chair of that conference, Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gomez of Costa Rica, circulated a first draft of the treaty text. You can find that text here. The draft was the product of negotiations at the first session of the conference in New York from March 27-March 31, 2017. The second session of the negotiating conference will convene on June 15, 2017 and continue until July 7, 2017, with this draft serving as the basis for further negotiations.
Instead of writing a blog post about the negotiating conference, I decided that I would draft a legal memorandum, addressed to the chair of the conference, in which I provide analysis and recommendations for revision of the draft treaty text.
I have already sent the document to the chair directly. But I thought I would also post the memorandum openly here, in the hope that it might be circulated to diplomats and NGOs who will be returning soon for the second session of the negotiations. I’ll insert a link to the memorandum below, and would really appreciate it if readers in a position to do so would facilitate that circulation.
This is an important moment in the history of international nuclear nonproliferation law and I would like to be as useful as I can be in helping to shape the final form of the treaty, which I’m confident the conference will successfully adopt.
In sum, I think the draft is good – a good basis to start from. But I also think that there are elements of the draft that need to be revised in order for the treaty to be maximally effective in achieving its purpose, while avoiding the unnecessary creation of legal confusion that could compromise the existing nuclear nonproliferation legal framework.
I really hope that this memorandum will be useful in clearly explaining the reasons for these needed revisions, and that the conference will be persuaded to make them.