Justice and Injustice in the Fissile Material (Cutoff) Treaty

In: International Negotiation

The Fissile Material (Cutoff) Treaty (fm(c)t) has been on the negotiation agenda since 1996, but has seen little progress. This is due to a fundamental disagreement over whether emphasis should be placed on nuclear disarmament or nuclear non-proliferation. Several delegations perceive the fm(c)t as a tool to draw in states from outside the non-proliferation regime, while others understand it to be a disarmament measure that reduces quantities of fissile materials for nuclear weapons. They however, regard the unwillingness of nuclear weapon states to engage toward this end as deeply unjust. Additional disagreements also concern justice: Should there be different standards of verification? May some states continue to produce unverified military fuel? As long as the nuclear weapon states only push their interests through pure power instead of respecting the notion of justice, no progress can be expected and the non-proliferation regime will further erode.

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    In 2013, the General Assembly of the United Nations requested the Secretary-General to seek the views of Member States on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, including possible aspects thereof, and to submit a report on the subject to the General Assembly at its sixty-eighth session. 36 delegations submitted statements on their views (unog, 2013).

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    In 2005, the u.s. decided to engage in nuclear trade with India, despite the principle of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (nsg) not to trade with countries outside the npt. The nsg followed the u.s. decision, which was heavily criticized by non-proliferation advocates.

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    Tannenwald 2013, p. 307, emphasis added by the author.

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