In 1994 the United Nation's General Assembly requested the International Court
of Justice to consider the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons. The
Court subsequently ruled in 1996 that "the threat or use of nuclear weapons
would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed
conflict, and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law."
The sole exception is in "an extreme circumstance of self-defense, in which
the very survival of a State would be at stake." In that instance, the Court
concluded that it could not definitely rule.