Evidence, Commentary, and Judgment

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7.1 Preamble

Having considered the oral and written evidence presented during hearings and having engaged in some independent inquiry into the legal issues raised, the Tribunal have reached certain Conclusions which are embodied in this Judgment. These conclusions provide the foundation for a series of recommendations that express support for prescribed lines of action and reflect the absence of any enforcement power to assure compliance with international law on these urgent matters of nuclear weapons policy.

The conclusions as to law rest heavily on the main texts of customary and treaty international law: the 1899 and 1907 Hague Conventions on the conduct of warfare; the de Martens clause; the 1949 Geneva Conventions on humanitarian law; the two 1977 Geneva Protocols ) that extend the coverage of humanitarian law; the Charter of the United Nations; the Nuremberg and Tokyo judgments and the Nuremberg Principles.

The classification of a weapon as either nuclear or conventional should be largely irrelevant to a consideration of the lawfulness of the weapon in international law; unlawfulness will turn upon the effects of the weapon interpreted within the context of established principles of the laws of war and peace, and considerations of public morality, not upon its classification. The need to consider the lawfulness of nuclear weapons per se has arisen through a classification of weapon types into conventional and nuclear, accompanied by a cynical disregard by the nuclear powers for considerations of international law applying to nuclear weapons.

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© 1985-2005 Geoffrey Darnton. All rights reserved.