Evidence, Commentary, and Judgment

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Very many people have made a significant contribution to this Tribunal; it is very sobering indeed to be putting the finishing touches to a document after so many eminent people have put in such effort. The Tribunal and work afterwards have been done on an entirely voluntary effort, and there were many times we thought the work would never be completed. However, we have now been able to reach a final version of this summary text.

While we were nearing final draft the Chairman of the Tribunal, Sean MacBride, died peacefully at his home in Dublin on 15th January 1988. This was a great loss, and of course set back the work of the Tribunal. In many ways this Tribunal was Sean's last major project, so we were even more determined to see it is carried forward.

The Tribunal itself would not have been possible without the efforts of the witnesses, the Organizing Committee, the Tribunal Members, the Supporting Organizations, (who are all listed in the Appendices), and of course those who finally helped to put this document together.

It is over four years since the Tribunal was held and it has fallen to me to put together a final draft of this document. The material and underlying principles have not dated at all since the Tribunal. In many ways, publication now will have the benefit of a new momentum in international affairs which was simply not present for a few years after 1985 when publication may well have fallen on deaf ears.

Many people have contributed various sections of this document, and I have tried to weave them together in a coherent structure, trying not to lose too much of the detail of different drafters, and using the evidence and international law to fill in gaps where I thought necessary. In totality we had available a vast amount of evidence. It was a difficult editorial decision whether to produce a full and accurate account of the Tribunal and evidence, or whether to attempt a summary. In the end, time and resources prevailed and a summary has been produced. This inevitably means loss of detail and nuances for many witnesses. The selection or non- selection of material from particular witnesses should not be considered as an editorial statement of relative value; rather material has been selected primarily for illustrative purposes. Much very valuable work placed in evidence remains unpublished or dispersed. The editorial work has been to try and distill the essence of much of the evidence. Many people have helped in this process but I must accept personal editorial responsibility for this final version, and all errors of omission and commission must remain mine. I will, of course, be pleased to hear from anyone with corrections which should be made in future printings or editions.

It is always a problem picking out individuals to acknowledge assistance because I do not want to leave out others who have also made a valuable contribution. In terms of preparing this final version for publication, I would like to acknowledge in particular, the participation, support, encouragement and suggestions from Sean MacBride, Richard Falk, Francis Boyle, Ed Rees, Nick Kollerstrom, Philip Webber, Rainer Santi, of the International Peace Bureau , Hans Koechler of the International Progress Organization, Stig Gustafsson, , Gertrud Ivri and the Swedish Lawyers who made first publication possible. It is fitting indeed that the launch of this publication coincides with the First World Congress of the International Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms (IALANA) held in the Hague where several of the foundations of international law affecting the conduct of war were established.

Finally, I would like to add some personal comments. I had started out this editorial task with a personal conviction that nuclear weapons are wrong, but I had no idea that in the course of going through the whole weight of evidence and legal argument I would realize the terrible indictment of unlawfulness against nuclear weapons states to be so extensive and devastating; it is difficult to imagine law-breaking in any other way on such a vast scale. It is perhaps ironic that this lawlessness is by those who presume to set and enforce laws against their own citizens, and frequently issue vociferous condemnations of the lawlessness of others. Humanity today, as in the past, suffers dearly at the hands of governments and an international order which are of very poor quality and do not have the intellect, integrity or courage to deliver effective human rights and safeguards against arbitrary death, poverty, deprivation and loss of real freedoms and rights. This Tribunal addressed only the question of nuclear weapons.

The work of this Tribunal shows the possession, deployment and use of nuclear weapons to be profoundly unlawful. Humanity has the right and duty to demand urgent and immediate delivery from the existence of such weapons.

Geoffrey Darnton.
September 1989.

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