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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 May 2008

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The end of nuclear testing has been a goal and dream of a number of generations for five decades. The actual date of entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT, or Treaty), however, is still unclear at this stage. One of the lessons learned by the international community is that mere negotiations of an arms control treaty are not enough. The raison d'être of creating an international treaty is that it be implemented. Without implementation, the treaty just conserves certain normative provisions elaborated through the international negotiations for an indefinite time in the future.

Modern international law offers certain legal practices to implement relevant norms in a treaty that formally does not meet the requirements for entry into force. In this article an attempt has been made, bearing in mind the existing international legal practice and the present stage of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization activities, to study alternative means of applying the CTBT provisionally. The analysis has been done on the basis of international treaty law, international organizations and arms control. The article pretends neither to propose concrete practical steps towards the full implementation of the CTBT, nor to ignore the importance of its entry into force. The intention of the author is to look for alternatives that might be helpful to achieve a safer world, without nuclear explosions. The article is intended to provide ideas for possible debate, which appropriate conclusion would definitely promote the values of nonproliferation and peace in the years to come.

The article begins by analysing the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties as an authoritative basis for provisional application of international treaties. It then considers the CTBT and the legal prerequisites for provisional application. The article concludes with an assumption that the completion of the CTBT verification regime would accelerate the need to discuss alternative means of applying CTBT without substituting its entry into force.

Copyright © T.M.C. Asser Press 2008

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