Pressure for Scotland to ban Trident: Former Lord Advocate calls on Calman Commission to examine devolved power over nuclear weapons
Pressure is mounting to change the devolution settlement so that Scotland has the power to ban Trident nuclear weapons from its soil.
Trade unionists, religious leaders and anti-nuclear campaigners have called on the Calman Commission, set up by the Scottish parliament to review devolution, to investigate ways of bringing weapons of mass destruction under Scottish control.
They have been backed by one of the country's most senior legal figures, Lord Murray, who argues that the use of such weapons is illegal. Possessing them is "probably" also against international law, says the former Lord Advocate.
(From: The Sunday Herald)(More)
Since the 1995 Review Conference of the NPT, France agreed upon the statement of "nuclear disarmament in good faith" and simultaneously prepared a total renewal and modernization of its nuclear weapon arsenal.Dominique Lalanne, of Abolition 2000-Europe, and Abolition of Nuclear Weapons/Stop Essais, spoke at the European Social Forum in Malm? on the challenges facing anti-nuclear campaigns in France. (More)
70 Members of the European Parliament from 19 EU member states launch support for total ban of nuclear weapons
The appeal calls for multilateral negotiations to prevent proliferation and achieve non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament through a Nuclear
Weapons Convention. The parliamentary statement was drafted and agreed by the cross-party group of Deputy Chairs of the European Parliament
section of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND): Ms. Ana Gomes (PSE - Portugal) and Mr. Girts Kristovskis (UEN - Latvia), both vice-chairs of the EP Security and Defense subcommittee; Ms. Annemie Neyts (ALDE - Belgium); Ms. Angelika
Beer (Greens - ALE - Germany) and Mr. Andre Brie (GUE/NGL - Germany).
Start worrying and learn to ditch the bomb: It won't be easy, but a world free of nuclear weapons is possible
Douglas Hurd, Malcolm Rifkind, David Owen and George Robertson
During the Cold War nuclear weapons had the perverse effect of making
the world a relatively stable place. That is no longer the case.
Instead, the world is at the brink of a new and dangerous phase - one
that combines widespread proliferation with extremism and
( From: The Times )(More)
However, CND cautioned against the installation at Lakenheath of interceptor missiles as part of the US Missile Defence system, which could potentially replace one historical arms race with another, with Europe again at the centre. Tony Blair asked the US to consider Britain as a possible launching pad for US missile interceptors in February 2007.
1st July 2008 International Conference marking 40th anniversary NPT at the European Parliament, Brussels
"NUCLEAR ARSENAL IN THE EU AND ITS SECURITY"
EP section of PNND (Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament), Belgian PNND, Mayors for Peace, Abolition 2000 Europe, Abolition 2000 Belgium, International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War, Greenpeace and CNAPD
Please find here more details of the "Parliamentary endorsement of the Nuclear Weapons Convention".
H.E. the Ambassador of Costa Rica has been invited as a guest. Costa Rica submitted the Nuclear Weapons Convention at the UN General Assembly in December 2007
The following Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have agreed to sign the "Endorsement of the Nuclear Weapon Convention" on 1st July 2008, to mark the 40th anniversary of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
We are well underway and here are the countries where we have initial support. Support in Belgium and Luxembourg is already significant.(More)
Social Democrat and opposition politicians in Germany have called for the withdrawal of US atomic weapons from German military bases after a US Air Force investigation concluded that "most sites" used for deploying nuclear weapons in Europe do not meet US Department of Defense minimum security requirements.
( From: Deutsche Welle ) (More)
Are US Nukes in Europe Secure?
Weapons grade material from B-61 thermonuclear bombs could be removed and turned into a crude nuclear device.
Thursday, Jun. 19, 2008 By EBEN HARRELL
European air force bases that store U.S. nuclear bombs are failing to meet basic security requirements to safeguard the weapons, according to a report obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
The U.S. keeps an estimated 350 thermonuclear bombs in six NATO countries. In four of those - Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands - the weapons are stored at the host nation's air bases, where they are guarded by specially trained U.S. military personnel.
( From: Time )
( View complete report: www.fas.org , 3MB, .pdf )
Round table at the European Parliament, 30th June 2008: Representatives of NGOs and EU States discuss the Nuclear Weapons Convention
Monday, June 30th, 7:00pm-10:00pm
At the EU Parliament, Room A1G-2
The Kuhne Report on European Security and Defence Policy and European Security Strategy was adopted on June 5th in the EP Foreign Affairs Committee. This report on the evolution of the European Security and Defence Policy and the European Security Strategy is produced annually. This year it included (in paragraph 26) specific wording calling for a nuclear weapon convention.
Full text of the report
Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar will end their 21 day hunger strike on midnight of June 2nd. Czech personalities will continue their battle against Star Wars' in Prague on 24 hour symbolic fasts. In the rest of Europe, as well as in Australia and the US, other hunger strikes are continuing. European spokesperson for New Humanism, Giorgio Schultze has begun yesterday in Milan and is determined to take the issue to the European Parliament. Protests continue in the 30 cities which have answered the call from the heart of Europe.
"Good Faith, International Law, and the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons: The Once and Future Contributions of the International Court of Justice"
Conference report: "Good Faith, International Law, and the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons: The Once and Future Contributions of the International Court of Justice"
1 May, Warwick Hotel, Geneva.
Good Faith: A Fundamental Principle of International Law
John Burroughs, Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy
"Good faith is a fundamental principle of international law, without which all international law would collapse," declared Judge Mohammed Bedjaoui during the first week of the PrepCom. Bedjaoui was President of the International Court of Justice when it gave its 1996 advisory opinion on nuclear weapons, and more recently, Algerian Foreign Minister. He delivered the keynote address to a conference, "Good Faith, International Law, and the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons: The Once and Future Contributions of the International Court of Justice," held on 1 May at the Warwick Hotel in Geneva.
A major portion of Judge Bedjaoui's address was devoted to the legal significance of the addition of the phrase ?good faith? to NPT Article VI, which requires each state party to ?pursue in good faith negotiations on effective measures ? relating to nuclear disarmament?. The phrase also figures in the Court?s unanimous formulation of the obligation, based on NPT Article VI, ?to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations on nuclear disarmament in all its aspects.? He explained that general legal principles governing good faith negotiation as applied in the NPT context include:
? sustained upkeep of the negotiation; awareness of the interests of the other party; and a persevering quest for an acceptable compromise, with a willingness to contemplate modification of one?s own position
? refraining from acts incompatible with the object and purpose of the NPT; proscription of every initiative the effect of which would be to render impossible the conclusion of the contemplated disarmament treaty
? respect for the integrity of the NPT; no selectivity regarding which provisions to implement
? a general obligation of information and communication
? prohibition of abuse of process such as fraud or deceit
? prohibition of unjustified termination of negotiations
In related observations regarding ?building confidence,? Judge Bedjaoui stated: ?Today more than ever, it is important to attribute a more decisive role to the UN in the coherent, democratic conduct of an integrated process of nuclear disarmament, with a realistic and reasonable schedule.?
Judge Bedjaoui also offered some fascinating comments on the 1996 opinion?s treatment of the question of legality of threat or use of nuclear weapons. He noted the ?radical incompatibility existing in principle between the use of nuclear weapons and respect for international humanitarian law? reflected in the opinion. And he attributed the Court?s failure to advise that threat or use is illegal in all circumstances to the inability of some judges to ignore the ?pseudo-scientific chiaroscuro? of a ?clean? nuclear bomb raised by some states and referred to in paragraph 95 of the opinion.
One of the conference panels considered the strategy of returning to the International Court of Justice to seek its advice on the legal consequences of the disarmament obligation. Phon van den Biesen, an Amsterdam-based lawyer, advocate before the Court, and vice president of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA), observed that the nuclear weapon states ?pretend there are no specific obligations? flowing from the Court?s 1996 opinion. He said it is time for civil society to rally as it did in supporting the request for the first opinion, and for the UN General Assembly to ?break the stalemate and ask the Court to remind the world that international law is not just text on paper,
but agreed norms and obligations.? Representatives of organizations sponsoring the conference explained the emerging ?good faith? campaign. Among them was John Loretz, program director of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW). He said that the initiative to return to the Court and the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) complement each other.
Other speakers addressing the conference were international lawyers and law professors and NGO analysts. Peter Weiss, vice president of IALANA and of the F?d?ration Internationale des Droits de l?Homme, called the U.S. retrogression from the 13 practical steps for nuclear disarmament agreed at the 2000 NPT conference a ?clear violation? of good faith. Professor Marcelo Kohen of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, defended the Court?s holding in the 1996 opinion that states are required to ?conclude? negotiations on nuclear disarmament. While that term is not found in Article VI, it is implied by the mandate to achieve the object and purpose of the NPT.
Professor Karima Bennoune of Rutgers Law School, USA, surveyed the human rights critique of nuclear weapons, which she said has been underutilized in both the human rights and disarmament fields. She commented: ?As in the area of nuclear disarmament, in the world of human rights, all too often we see clear and repeated violations of Article 26 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties which stipulates that ?Every treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith.? States are rarely held accountable for these abuses.? She concluded: ?Ultimately, I think that human rights and nuclear disarmament advocates should see a common interest in a vigorous defense of the principle of good faith in international legal process?as it is central to both our sets of projects.?
Ambassador Jaap Ramaker, drawing on his experience as chair of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) negotiations in 1996 when the treaty was adopted, identified political and legal conditions that support successful negotiations. Among them are: prior commitments to negotiation of a treaty (both the Partial Test Ban Treaty and the NPT identify the CTBT as an objective); commitments regarding completion of negotiation (the NPT 1995 Principles and Objectives specified 1996); establishment of a proper negotiating mechanism; and clear circumscription of the scope of the negotiations.
Speaking for the New York-based Lawyers? Committee on Nuclear Policy, I outlined the lack of compliance with the disarmament obligation in the last decade. There have been no negotiations, bilateral, plurilateral, or multilateral, on the reduction and elimination of nuclear arsenals. The only arguable exception, the two-page 2002 U.S.-Russian agreement, was more of a confidence-building measure, lacking provisions on verification or irreversibility.
Jacqueline Cabasso, executive director of the California-based Western States Legal Foundation, characterized the policy of the nuclear weapon states, in particular the USA, UK, and France, as ?fewer but newer,? and increasingly ?capacity- based.? These states, she said, cling to the notion of ?deterrence? while the ?threat? they seek to deter is an unknown and uncertain future. They are modernizing and qualitatively improving their ?enduring? nuclear arsenals, both warheads and delivery systems.
The day-long conference attracted 90 NGOs, students, and diplomats. It was sponsored by the World Court Project to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, a civil society coalition formed by IALANA, IPPNW, International Peace Bureau, World Court Project UK, International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility, Mayors for Peace, and other groups, and by the World Federation of United Nations Associations, the Simons Foundation, and the Stiftung Europ?ische Friedenspolitik. A report and speakers? papers will be available on www.lcnp.org. ?
John Burroughs is executive director of the Lawyers? Committee on Nuclear Policy and author of The Legality of Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons: A Guide to the Historic Opinion of the International Court of Justice (1997).
Friday, 2nd May 2008, 3:00-5:00 pm
NGO room, United Nation, Geneva (More)
The European Union and the Nuclear Weapon Convention, meeting during NPT PrepCom, Geneva, 28th April 2008
During the meeting of the NPT Preparatory Committee (28 April - 9 May 2008 at the UN in Geneva), Abolition 2000 Europe and Mayors for Peace 2020 Vision Campaign organise a conference on "The European Union and the Nuclear Weapon Convention".
When: 1:15-2:45pm , Monday, 28 April 2008
Where: NGO room
Contact: Dominique Lalanne, Abolition 2000-Europe; co-sponsored by Mayors for Peace 2020 Vision Campaign