Weapons and the obligation to ensure respect for IHL *
The means and methods of warfare selected by a party to a conflict play a significant role in whether or not that party is able to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law (IHL). The connection between weapons law and ensuring respect for IHL has been made particularly clear in the last 20 years. Approaching weapons law through a prism of Common Article 1 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and 1977 and 2005 Additional Protocols demonstrates that there are a variety of actions that States can, and indeed do, take to ensure respect for IHL by actors within the State’s control and influence. By being strong advocates for the rule against indiscriminate effects, the rule against superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering and the rule against causing widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment, States can play a leadership role in this space.