Arms Control & Armed Conflict

International Law Section Policy

Below is a list of international policies adopted by the ABA House of Delegates. Please be advised that members must follow the policy procedure and usage guidelines outlined in the American Bar Association’s Constitution and Bylaws, Rules of Procedure of the House of Delegates. The specific procedures are available on the policy homepage.

Arms Control, Armed Conflict

2013 Arms Trade Treaty

Law of War Detention Cases.  Urging the President and the United States Department of Defense to assure that there is an opportunity for public notice and comment with respect to the issuance of the rules for the periodic review of continued law of war detention cases required by the President’s Executive Order No. 13567, 76 Fed. Reg. 13277 (2011). 08/11

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Urges the United State to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty which is an international agreement designed to create a permanent, global, legally-binding and all-encompassing prohibition on any nuclear explosions.  08/10

Conventional Weapons Treaty. Urges the United States to sign and ratify the amended Article 1 and Protocol III, Protocol IV, and Protocol V of the United Nations Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed To Be Excessively Injurious or To Have Indiscriminate Effects, which ban the use of incendiary weapons and blinding laser weapons, as well as set standards on marking, clearance, removal, and destruction of unexploded or abandoned mortar shells, grenades, artillery rounds, and bombs.
Letter to Senator Joseph Biden regarding the resolution. 8/07
Follow-up Letter to Senator Joseph Biden regarding the resolution.10/07

Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property. Recommend U.S. ratification of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. (01M105B) 2/01

Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and of Chemical Weapons and Their Destruction. Urge U.S. to give its advice and consent to ratification. 8/94

Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty. Recommend that the U.S. government, with the cooperation and agreement of other nations whenever possible, take actions to maintain and strengthen the international regimes designed to control the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Support the unconditional, indefinite extension of the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Work to satisfy the NPT obligation of the five declared nuclear weapons states to work towards nuclear disarmament through a number of measures, including the pursuit of a comprehensive ban on nuclear testing, the restriction of the production of fissile material, and the declaration that the U.S. will only use nuclear weapons as a means of deterrence or response. Pursue efforts to resolve regional disputes implicating weapons of mass destruction before the NPT extension conference, and in the longer term, work to strengthen the ability of the U.N. and relevant regional organizations to resolve disputes and to make and keep peace. 8/94

START II Treaty. Urge the U.S. Senate to give its advice and consent to the ratification of the START II Treaty between the U.S. and the Russian Federation. The Treaty eliminates land-based ballistic missiles with multiple warheads and significantly reduces the overall number of long-range nuclear weapons possessed by both Parties to the U.S. level of the early 1960s and the Soviet level of the mid-1970s. 8/93

Arms Trading Guidelines. Support proposal to ban weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and to regulate sales of conventional weapons in the region and urge U.S. government to engage in efforts, inside and outside of the United Nations, to establish and enforce limitations on the sale or transfer of conventional arms. 8/92

Cambodia and Vietnam. Support the peace plan prepared by the U.N. Security Council and the decision of the U.S to communicate with the governments of Cambodia and Vietnam and urge that steps be taken to prevent the Khmer Rouge from returning to power. Suggest prompt establishment of the proposed Supreme National Council on which the two opposing Cambodian parties would be equally represented, the immediate cessation of outside military aid, and the lifting of the U.S. trade embargo. 2/91

Conventional Arms in Europe. Urge the U.S. Senate give its advice and consent to the ratification of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, signed November 19, 1990, by NATO and the Warsaw Pact countries. The Treaty reduces force levels to parity from the Atlantic to the Urals. 2/91

Persian Gulf War. Oppose the unprovoked invasion and annexation of Kuwait by Iraq in violation of the U.N. Charter, the detention, mistreatment and forced removal of persons living in or transiting Kuwait, and the closure of diplomatic and consular missions in Kuwait in violation of relevant conventions and principles of international law. Condemn Iraq for failing to comply with all Security Council Resolutions. Recommend that the U.S. and U.N. Member States, cooperating with the government of Kuwait, use all necessary means to restore international peace and security in conformity with the principles and purposes, and other provisions, of the U.N. Charter. 2/91

Conventional Arms in Europe. Urge the early agreement between the NATO and Warsaw Pact countries to reduce levels of conventional arms in Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals. Support the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) negotiations to reduce levels of NATO and Warsaw Pact forces in Europe from current levels to parity. 2/90

Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes. Urge the U.S. government to begin negotiations with other governments in order to implement the principles contained in the Draft General Treaty on the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes to accept arbitration for the resolution of international disputes. 2/90

Peace in Central America. Support the efforts that governments in Central America, especially Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, have undertaken under the Procedure for the Establishment of a Strong and Lasting Peace in Central America, known as the “Arias Plan,” to establish a firm and lasting peace in Central America, as a major step “to advance the rule of law in the world.” Urge continued commitment to the Arias Plan, and welcome the commitment of the U.S. in facilitating the process of regional dialogue. 8/88

Nuclear Test Ban Treaties . Recommend that the U.S. continue its efforts to achieve effective verification measures for the Threshold Test Ban Treaty and the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty. Urge the U.S. Senate to give its advice and consent to ratification of treaties between the U.S. and Soviet Union on measures providing for verification. Recommend immediate negotiations following the ratification of such treaties between the U.S. and Soviet Union in order to implement a step-by-step program of limiting and ultimately ending nuclear testing. 8/87

Nuclear Test Ban Treaties. Recommend that the U.S., consistent with its obligations under the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty and the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, institute an immediate moratorium on any further testing of nuclear explosive devices, and maintain that moratorium so long as the Soviet Union continues to refrain from such testing. 2/87

Conflict Between Nations. Support the principles of international law which call upon all parties to resolve disputes through peaceful means, including the arbitral process, and the implementation of the Algiers Accords, including the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal. Condemn the unprovoked attack on Judge Nils Mangard of the Tribunal in September 1984, and in accordance with Goal VIII of the ABA, call upon other national and international organizations comprising members of the legal profession to take appropriate action to affirm these essential principles and to condemn the attack on Judge Mangard. 8/86

Chemical Warfare. Urge that steps be taken to strengthen and secure respect for the present international law norms prohibiting use in war of chemical, biological and toxin weapons and the 1972 Treaty provisions prohibiting development, acquisition, retention, transfer, production, or stockpiling, of biological and toxin weapons; commends the U.S. government for its proposal of a Draft Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons of 1984; notes its concern about the substantial evidence of the illegal use of lethal and incapacitating chemical weapons by the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, by Iraq in its armed conflict with Iran, and of the illegal use of lethal and incapacitating chemical weapons and toxins by Vietnam and Laos in Southeast Asia; urge the U.S. government to present to the U.N. proposals to improve existing mechanisms or to create new means for the prompt and comprehensive investigation of all serious reports of the use of chemical or biological weapons in violation of the 1925 Geneva Protocol and the 1972 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and Their Destruction. 8/85

Treaty of Tlatelolco. Call upon the U.S. government to undertake effective measures to promote the full participation of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Cuba in the Treaty of Tlatelolco establishing a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in Latin America. 2/85

Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty. Urge the U.S. government to continue its endeavors to strengthen the international regime aimed at preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Suggest that the U.S. make adherence to the Treaty a major foreign policy goal, renew efforts to pursue arms control negotiations in good faith as required by Article VI of the Treaty, enhance the effectiveness of international safeguards of nuclear materials both technically and through wider adherence to the safeguards system, and seek to use its nuclear export control systems to encourage adherence to the Treaty and the acceptance of full-scope safeguards. 2/85

Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes. Approve in principle the concept of the Draft General Treaty on the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes and support further study, by appropriate domestic and international bodies, leading to the ultimate consideration of such a treaty. 8/84

Gas and Germ Warfare . Commend the U.S. ratification of the Geneva Protocol of 1925, and the Geneva Convention on Biological Weapons of 1972, banning the use of gas and bacteriological warfare, and urge the U.S. government to support efforts to supplement the Hague and Geneva Conventions through realistic and effective multilateral agreements. 8/76

"Case Act" Amendments. Oppose in principle any legislation which would purport to provide for a Congressional veto by resolution of either or both o the Houses of executive agreements entered into by the President. Support the addition of amendments to the “Case Act” redefining the situation in which unilateral presidential commitment of funds or troops overseas must be submitted for congressional scrutiny and proposes adoption by the U.S. Congress of a concurrent resolution that it is the sense of the Congress that the Executive Branch should consult with the appropriate Congressional leaders before entering into any significant international agreement. 2/76

Disarmament and Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Support congressional approval of Interim Agreement on Certain Measures with respect to the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, and the associated Protocol, signed in 1972 by President Nixon and General Secretary Brezhnev. Urge the governments of the U.S. and Soviet Union to seek promptly to reach agreement on further measures limiting and reducing strategic offensive arms, and on general and complete disarmament. 8/72