• Bradford Non-Lethal Weapons Research Project (BNLWRP). Occasional Paper No. 2. The Development of ¿Non-Lethal¿ Weapons During the 1990¿s.

      Davison, N. (University of Bradford, 2007)
      This is the second in a series of Occasional Papers published by the Bradford Non-Lethal Weapons Research Project. It addresses the development of anti-personnel ¿non-lethal¿1 weapons from 1990 to 1999 and follows on from Occasional Paper No.1: The Early History of "Non-Lethal" Weapons. 2 Concentrating on events in the United States, 3 this paper explores the expansion of police and military interest in these weapons with a focus on the research and development activities conducted by the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense. Related developments in international law are also discussed. ¿Anti-materiel¿ weapons, proposed for use against vehicles, electronic equipment, or other objects, are beyond the scope of this research. This paper does not detail the debates over ¿non-lethal¿ weapons that intensified during this period and were marked by an increase in the corresponding literature. Nevertheless this is the background against which the research and development described here occurred. Fidler has observed that, broadly speaking, this debate was polarised with advocates on one side and sceptics on the other.4 The advocates5 emphasised what they viewed as the revolutionary or transformational promise of these weapon systems and their potential to promote the humane use of force. The sceptics,6 on the other hand, building on concerns first expressed in the 1970¿s,7 cautioned against affording any weapons special status and highlighted the need for critical legal, technological and ethical assessment. Fidler has summarised a central theme of this enduring debate: Nothing epitomized the distance separating advocates and sceptics better than disagreements about the moniker ¿non-lethal weapons¿. For proponents, this description encapsulated the technological and ethical distinctiveness of these weapons. For sceptics, the moniker was misleading because it gave moral status to weapons simply by virtue of their technology and not on the basis of legal and ethical analysis of why, how and where they are used.8