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As all that is solid melts to air and everything holy is profaned...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Nuclear weapons break international law

Greenham Women were right!

Back in the early eighties, when women from the Geenham Common Peace Camp were getting arrested and charged with numerous offences, they argued in their defence that they were acting to prevent a crime being committed - that nuclear weapons (including Cruise missiles) were illegal.

This argument was not accepted at the time - although they did get legal advice on it from the law firm Bindmans.

Now it seems the they were right. But realistically such 'technical' legalities are irrelevant. he doctrine of 'force majeur' prevails.

Use of Trident 'would be illegal'

Richard Norton-Taylor

Tuesday December 20, 2005The Guardian

The use of a Trident nuclear missile, or its successor, would breach international law, the government is warned today. Even the threat to use nuclear weapons is unlawful, ministers are warned in a legal opinion by leading human rights lawyers.

They say use of Trident would infringe what the international court of justice calls the "intransgressible" - or absolute - requirement that a distinction must be drawn between combatants and non-combatants. Nuclear weapons would also breach the requirement that use of force in self-defence must be proportionate.

"A Trident warhead would be inherently indiscriminate," says Rabinder Singh, QC, and professor Christine Chinkin of the London School of Economics, in a legal opinion for the campaigning group, Peace Rights.

"In light of the blast, heat, and radioactive effects of a detonation of a Trident warhead, it is impossible to envisage how the intransgressible requirement of the principle of distinction between combatants and non-combatants or the requirement of proportionality" could be met.
"Even if aimed at a military target [a Trident warhead] cannot distinguish between that and civilians. Radioactive effects are not contained by time or space." They say the distinction between civilians and combatants is a key feature of the statute setting up the international criminal court which Britain has signed up to.


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