The Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality ofthe use and the threat of nuclear weapons on July 8, 1996, was a historic achievement inthe history of debates on the legality of nuclear weapons. It drew great attention ofacademics, governments, and civil society organizations and is now recognized as animportant milestone for those who are interested in the issue of nuclear weapons.However, this does not mean that the Opinion concluded the debate on the legality ofnuclear weapons. Rather, it stimulated further discussions and created new problems onthe issue of the legality of nuclear weapons. This article is intended to examine theOpinion in order to identify the polemics that concern the very normative framework ofcurrent international society. The main focal point is the jus cogens character ofinternational humanitarian law, which the Court avoided. In so doing, this articleidentifies the confusion in the Opinion and among the Judges about the relationshipbetween jus in bello and jus ad bellum applied to the use and the threat of nuclearweapons. The article also argues that the notorious concept of “an extreme circumstanceof self-defence, in which the very survival of a State would be at stake" was anunfortunate result of sterile understanding of the relationship between law and politics.