The Encyclopedia is a project of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights launched on 2 December 2013. The Enyclopedia aims to provide accurate, up-to-date information on weapons, the effects of their use, and their regulation under public international law, in a format that is accessible to non-specialists.+ Find out more
The Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at Harvard (HCPR) Manual on International Law Applicable to Air and Missile Warfare defines a weapon as follows:
“Weapon” means a means of warfare used in combat operations, including a gun, missile, bomb or other munitions, that is capable of causing either (i) injury to, or death of, persons; or (ii) damage to, or destruction of, objects.
This is a narrow definition of the term. For the purpose of the Encyclopaedia the following working definition is used:
A weapon is a device that is constructed, adapted, or used to kill, injure, disorient, or threaten a person or to inflict damage on a physical object. A weapon may act through kinetic energy or by other means, such as transmission of electricity, diffusion of chemical substances or biological agents or sound, or direction of electromagnetic energy.
Last updated on: 30 November 2013