Scottish High Court Told UK Nuclear Threat is Real

14th November 2000

Nuremberg Principles Give Activists Right to Intervene

As the hearing of the Lord Advocate’s Reference resumed today in the High Court in Edinburgh, Advocate John Mayer, on behalf of Trident Three member Ulla Roder, has been arguing that the women were right to intervene to try to stop Britain’s ongoing nuclear crime.

All parties to the hearing accepted that the Nuremberg Principles were an established part of customary international law as had been agreed by all the judges in the Pinochet case. Mayer went on to argue that these principles, which spell out the duty of the military etc. not to obey illegal orders, by extension conveyed a right on ordinary citizens to intervene to uphold the law and protect the vulnerable. Lord Prosser pointed out that such a right was already established in the recognised defence of Necessity, though he added that some analysis of the situation was required before intervention was undertaken. Mayer pointed out that the right to intervene must be backed by objective knowledge.

Mayer also dealt with the issue of threat. Under international law, to threaten an illegal action is in itself illegal. Mayer quoted a speech in the House of Commons by the then Defence Secretary George Robertson. Robertson said that the UK’s nuclear deterrent was well in place and went on to say that, “No-one should mess with us.”

The hearing will resume tomorrow when Aidan O’Neill, QC, will give his submission on behalf of Ellen Moxley.

Earlier today MSP Tommy Sheridan was threatened with 14 days in prison for his refusal to pay the £250 fine he was given today in Helensburgh District Court for his part in an anti-Trident action.