Historic Nuclear Weapons Case Adjourned

13th October 2000

After five days, the hearing in the High Court in Edinburgh of the Lord Advocate’s Reference of the trial and acquittal of three nuclear disarmers in Greenock last year, has been adjourned until Tuesday 14th November for five days.

Today Gerry Moynihan QC, amicus curiae, continued to apply the 1996 Opinion of the International Court of Justice to the legality of Trident. Responding to a suggestion from the bench that the ICJ statement that “nuclear weapons would be generally contrary to the rules of international law” was considerably weakened by the use of the term “generally”, he argued that that word referred to possible marginal cases involving low-yield weapons. Trident was not on the margins – it was in the core – and clearly unlawful.

Advocate John Mayer, appearing for Ulla Roder whom he had successfully defended at Greenock stated that there was no such thing as mere possession of a fleet of Trident nuclear submarines, each armed with live and targeted 100 kiloton warheads. Deploying nuclear weapons means to have them in a state of readiness for war.

A Trident Ploughshares spokesperson said:

“There has been a lot of encouragement for us so far but we still do not know whether these judges are up to the challenge before them. We are pleased that Trident’s status before the law is being debated in the court but there has been a great deal of nit-picking and prevarication. If a panel of three children were picked at random off the streets of Edinburgh and asked to consider whether it is right or legal to threaten to murder innocent people and whether ordinary folk have a legal right to try and stop such a crime, they would come up with the right answer in less than five minutes. Children understand that real law is based on morality.