The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons:
Challenges for International Law and Security
Dieter Fleck, Former Director International Agreements & Policy, Federal Ministry of Defence, Germany; Member of the Advisory Board of the Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL); Rapporteur of the ILA Committee on Nuclear Weapons, Non-Proliferation and Contemporary International Law; Honorary President, International Society for Military Law and the Law of War.
Adoption of the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons  on July 7, 2017, (122 votes in favor, one to abstain, one against – no nuclear state was involved) could be understood on the background of existing unsuccessful attempts to implement the disarmament obligations that exist according to the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT);  insufficient general application of the NPT;  growing concern over the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, which became known in the recent years.  Although it is still too early to give a long-term assessment of whether the new Treaty can ultimately contribute to the achievement of the world without nuclear weapons and whether it has the potential to achieve world-wide recognition after a while, a comprehensive assessment of existing legal contradictions, certain textual shortcomings of the new Treaty and the foreseeable consequences for international security is necessary and timely. Lawyers in international law can make a significant contribution to this issue.
The text of the Treaty UN Doc A /CONF.229/2017/8 (July 7,2017), by reference https://www.un.org/disarmament/ptnw/
 The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (July 1, 1968), 729 UNTS. 161. The obligation provided for by Article 6 has three ultimate objectives: the early termination of the nuclear arms race; nuclear disarmament; general and complete disarmament. Each of these goals requires negotiations in good faith and the implementation of measures under strict and effective international control.
 The NPT now operates for 191 states, see. http://disarmament.un.org/treaties/t/npt The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has withdrawn from the NPT; India, Israel and Pakistan have never been participants
 See conferences and other follow-up actions on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, https://www.bmeia.gv.at/en/european-foreign-policy/disarmament/weapons-of-mass-destruction/nuclear-weapons-and-nuclear-terrorism/single-conference-on-the-humanitarian-impact-of-nuclear-weapons.