The Legality of Depleted Uranium Munitions under International Humanitarian Law
This paper examines the legality of the use of depleted uranium (DU) munitions under international humanitarian law. It will do so by first providing an overview of the substance ‘depleted uranium’ and explaining how and why this substance is used in munitions. It will also explore the proliferation of these munitions and the armed conflicts in which they have been used. Following this overview of DU munitions, this paper will further explore the environmental and health consequences of the use of DU munitions in armed conflicts. Utilising this information, this paper will consider the legality of DU munitions under international humanitarian law. Ultimately, this paper argues that although it is becoming increasingly clear that the use of DU munitions in armed conflicts may have environmental and health implications, DU munitions are nonetheless legal under international humanitarian law. Their use may, however, be restricted by the ‘precautionary principle.’ This paper further argues that a regulatory treaty should be developed in order to minimise the environmental and health risks of DU munitions and clarify their legal position.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).