Deadly Metal Rain: The Legality of Flechette Weapons in International Law

A Reappraisal Following Israel’s Use of Flechettes in the Gaza Strip (2001-2009)

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Taking the April 2003 rejection by Israel's Supreme Court of a petition to ban flechette use rounds in the densely populated Gaza Strip as its point of departure, this innovative and interdisciplinary book offers the only in-depth study on flechette weapons conducted to date. Its timeliness is demonstrated in the 2009 Goldstone Report’s call for an urgent UNGA discussion on such weapons’ future legality. The book's first part reviews flechette weapon development and use during the Vietnam War as well as the consequent efforts to ban them. It then turns to the Israeli case: the use in Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and the resulting Supreme Court petition. The book's third and main part dissects the prolonged debate over banning flechettes while resting on unique primary sources such as Israeli post mortem reports together with an ample legal and military-medical literature. The book thus provides one of the most comprehensive explorations available of the distinctions separating legal from illegal conventional weapons.

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Eitan Barak, assistant professor at the Department of International Relations, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has lectured and published extensively on Arms Control and Disarmament, the Law of Weaponry, Security Regimes and Israel's Defence Policy. His latest publications include: None to be Trusted: Israel's Use of Cluster Munitions in the Second Lebanon War and the Case for the Convention on Cluster Munitions (2010) and Doomed to be Violated? The U.S.-Israeli Clandestine End-User Agreement and the Second Lebanon War: Lessons for the Convention on Cluster Munitions (2009).
"This is, as far as I am aware, the only book of its kind, devoting such focused, thorough and systematic treatment to the consideration of a specific conventional weapon, and its harmony with the principles of distinction and unnecessary suffering in international humanitarian law. This fact, and the quality of Barak’s analysis, makes this book a significant contribution to existing literature in international humanitarian law, both in its specific analysis with regard to flechette weapons, but even more importantly, in its exemplary demonstration of a template for application of these principles, which can and should be used by other scholars when considering the legality of other weapon technologies.
Deadly Metal Rain is a masterful achievement, and an exemplary piece of legal scholarship; well organized and thorough in its scope, and demonstrating a deep understanding on the part of the author of the complexities and nuances of the relevant legal standards, and a rare ability to apply interdisciplinary analysis to holistically, creatively and persuasively apply these standards."
Daniel H. Joyner, Journal of Conflict & Security Law,Volume 19 issue 3, Oxford University Press 2014.
Excerpt of table of contents:
Acknowledgments; List of Cases; List of Treaties; List of Abbreviations; List of Illustrations and Maps;
Introduction
Part I. Flechette Weapons: Factual and Legal Background
1. The weapon's Features and History
2. From Intense Controversy to Oblivion:The International Community’s Attempts to Ban Flechettes
3. Concluding Remarks
Part II: Flechette Weapons: The Israeli Case
4. Israel’s Policy
5. The Internal Legal Battle
6. Concluding Remarks
Part III: Old Arguments, Fresh Victims and New Findings: The Legality of Flechette Weapons under International Customary Law—A Reappraisal
7. Flechettes and the Principle Prohibiting Unnecessary Suffering
8. Flechettes and the Principle of Distinction
Summary and Conclusions; Sources and Works Cited; Index.
All those interested in international humanitarian law, human rights law, the Law of Weaponry, the Israeli Supreme Court's attitude to the Occupied Territories and military actions, political scientists and military analysts.