Less than two weeks until negotiations begin, and I wanted to build on the previous posts on making, getting, having, using and helping with nuclear weapons by elaborating a bit on the financial discussion.
My colleague Maaike and I wrote a paper which looks at how to reinforce the prohibition on assistance by including an explicit prohibition on investments in companies producing nuclear weapons, and examines what such language could look like. The main benefit is of course making explicit the growing understanding in international law that financing constitutes a form of assistance.
The paper looks at why an explicit mention of investment or financing should be included, as well as positive examples of how stopping investment in weapons producers helps end the production of the weapons.
We also looked at relationship with other instruments of international law- from Nuclear Weapon Free Zone treaties to the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.
All in all, we found that although existing conventions and treaties prohibiting inhumane and indiscriminate weapons do not contain explicit prohibitions on financing, there is a growing understanding that financing is a form of prohibited assistance. This is shown by state practice around the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the rationale behind the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and the practice of financial institutions from countries that have joined Nuclear Weapon Free Zone treaties. Including an explicit prohibition on financing in a nuclear weapons ban treaty will make this understanding explicit, and thereby build on existing international law. It will strengthen and make more effective the nuclear weapons prohibition treaty by limiting the flow of capital to the companies involved in nuclear arsenals of states that remain outside of the new treaty. It would also be in line with the intents and purpose driving the nuclear ban treaty, so that it not only effectively prohibits these weapons but also extends the logic of outlawing nuclear weapons to the financial sector.