This is a copy of one of the statements that the SOCRAP Team had on them as they entered Faslane and Coulport on the 4th September 2007
Statement of belief and intent of the
SERIOUS ORGANISED CRIME INVESTIGATION AND PREVENTION TEAM
We are all part of a Faslane 365 Serious Organised Crime Investigation and Prevention Team.
We state that in our opinion the Trident nuclear weapons system, based at Faslane in Scotland, violates the law of both the United Kingdom and Scotland and of international law. The deployment of Trident constitutes preparation for a war crime. This violation of the law is compounded and aggravated by the UK Government’s history of threatened use of Trident and its stated intention to replace the current Trident-carrying Vanguard-class submarines with new ballistic missile submarines, in breach of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Four Trident nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed submarines are based at Faslane in Scotland. Each submarine can carry 14 Trident II D-5 missiles, each with eight warheads. One submarine is constantly deployed at sea with its missiles. Since the July 1998 Strategic Defence Review the single deployed submarine carries up to 48 warheads. Each of the warheads is eight to ten times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb.
By this nuclear policy, the UK Government and NATO violate the rules of international humanitarian law. The effects of the detonation of even a single Trident II D-5 missile would be catastrophic. No-one launching it could meet the legal tests of proportionality, discrimination or necessity. These facts are well known and the use, or threat of use, of these weapons would qualify as crimes against humanity or war crimes. President Bedjaoui of the International Court of Justice considered that "Nuclear weapons can be expected - in the present state of scientific development at least - to cause indiscriminate victims among combatants and non-combatants alike, as well as unnecessary suffering among both categories… Until scientists are able to develop a "clean" nuclear weapon which would distinguish between combatants and non-combatants, nuclear weapons will clearly have indiscriminate effects and constitute an absolute challenge to humanitarian law.”
In addition, it is forbidden to use weapons, which inflict such unnecessary suffering. The death and suffering caused by the use of a Trident missile could never be justified by any conceivable military advantage. Furthermore, its use, however accurately targeted, would have severe effects on neutral states, the environment and future generations, due to long-lasting radioactivity.
The International Court of Justice, in 1996, also clarified for the world community that any threat to employ a means of force that, if used, would be unlawful is itself unlawful. However, the UK’s nuclear weapons are deployed and are ready for use at a few days notice and the Government of the UK has repeatedly stated that they are willing to use them under certain circumstances. These facts point to an illegal threat.
The Judicial Authorities in Scotland and in England (Lord Advocate and Attorney General) have been given many opportunities over the last few decades to investigate these allegations and to ensure that the Government extricates itself from these illegal activities. For instance, Trident Ploughshares has made many representations to legal and political bodies as well as to the military. (Attachment No.1)
In our considered opinion, the following people are implicated in the violations we have described above:
Responsible ministers at the political level, and more specifically the Minister for Defence, the Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister.
The Chiefs of Staff at the Ministry of Defence
Senior Naval Officers and Trident Submarine Commanders
The Attorney General and the Lord Advocate
We have asked repeatedly that the Police and Judicial Authorities, whose duty it is to investigate and prevent crime, carry out investigations in connection with the location and the preparation of the potential use of nuclear weapons as well as the preparation and training of nuclear weapons related tasks. We have asked them to note that, within the context of War Crimes, and Crimes Against Humanity, it is not a defence for suspects to state that orders came from a higher authority, that the actions were ‘official’ or a governmental or legal responsibility, that they were a 'reserved' matter or under Crown Immunity, or that they were condoned by national legal systems. The last time some of us wrote to the Strathclyde Police was on 1st November 2006 - we have attached a copy of this letter (Attachment No.2) and its reply (Attachment No.3). We received the appalling reply that:- 'the circumstances .......... do not justify the instigation of criminal enquiries or proceedings' . This was followed up by a Faslane 365 Lawyer's delegation to the Faslane Naval Base on 9th January 2007 when Michigan based lawyer, Anabel Dwyer, a board member of the Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy, accompanied by Dr. Stellan Vinthagen, Dutch MP Krista Van Velzen, Professor David Dwyer and Angie Zelter, went to the main gate of Faslane Naval Base and met with the Deputy Naval Base Officer, Chris Walsh and handed him a letter (Attachment No.4) to deliver to Commodore C J Stait, the Royal Navy Naval Base Commander (Clyde), which included a copy of the Lawyers Declaration (Attachment No.5).
We believe that our actions today, as part of Faslane 365, are vital and in the public interest. Our intention is to make some of the investigations that the police and other authorities have made so very clear they are unwilling to make and also to bring to the attention of all personnel working on the base our concerns that they are committing Acts Ancillary to War Crimes and thus are in breach of the International Criminal Court (Scotland) Act 2001. It would have been negligent and dangerous of us not to do all in our power, in a nonviolent manner, to investigate and prevent the continuation of these crimes.
We are concerned that allowing what we consider to be a form of state terrorism has in fact made Scotland a focus for terrorism. We believe that the best way to stop terrorism is to solve the root causes of terrorism by stopping our occupation of other people's lands, stopping our support for foreign dictators and human rights abusers, stopping the international trading of weapons and arms, and by upholding international law by dismantling our own weapons of mass destruction.
It was agreed at the Lord Advocates Reference 2001 that, ‘A rule of customary international law is a rule of Scots law’ and the subsequent enactment of the International Criminal Court (Scotland) Act has reinforced and expanded this. Our actions today must be seen in the light of the thousands of people who have come to Faslane over the years and especially the last year during Faslane 365. We have support from a wide cross-section of society, as evidenced from the Faslane 365 Supporters list (Attachment No.6). It cannot be right that protesters wishing to stop the gross crime of threatening mass destruction by blockading the base are being charged with Breach of the Peace when Trident is the crime, is a massive Breach of the Peace and is not even being investigated by the Police. It is as if the Police will sanction a crime if it is huge enough or if it is ‘official’ government policy and will only concern themselves with minor breaches of the law carried out by ordinary people. This undermines the law and our legal system, which should be impartial and above politics.
We are also concerned that ordinary submariners and soldiers are being led into the commission of war crimes by their involvement in preparations for mass murder. One of the major differences between a murderer and a soldier is that the killing, and threats to kill, made by soldiers are sanctioned by law and the primary law is customary and conventional international humanitarian law – ie. the Declaration of St. Petersburg, the Hague Conventions, the Geneva Conventions, the Nuremburg Principles. Knowledge of these laws is meant to be taught to every member of the armed forces around the world. It is our opinion, backed up by many millions of people around the world, that these laws are all breached by the deployment of Trident and thus undermine the legal status of the UK’s ‘defence’ forces.
The threat to use instruments of mass destruction and mass poisoning on a daily basis (which is what the deployment of Trident actually is if you discard all euphemisms) is a massive breach of customary international law and of domestic Scots law. The work on the successor replacement to Trident is a massive breach of Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and of the promises given by the UK Government in 2000 at the NPT Review Conference to ‘unequivocally disarm’ its nuclear weapons. Our charges are serious and it is to highlight them and to try to encourage the prosecuting authorities to take them seriously that we have taken it upon ourselves as responsible 'global citizens' to investigate them personally today.
In taking this action we are seeking:
1.To find information and documentation to further corroborate and expand our knowledge of the situation as described above. (E.g. rules of engagement, policies and procedures for the deployment, targeting and use of nuclear weapons, what information about the legal implications of working on Trident is provided to personnel, etc.)
2.To bring such information before the judicial authorities, in such a way as to force a proper investigation of the ongoing crimes at Faslane.
3.To impede the crimes we believe to be currently in progress at Faslane, by preventing work continuing by our presence1.
4.To inform base personnel of their responsibilities under both domestic and international law. (Attachment No.7)
5.To do all the above in a safe and nonviolent manner, consistent with our Nonviolence and Safety Guidelines (Attachment No.8).
Dated:- 4th September 2007
Signed:- Angie Zelter
Wording on the leaflet handed out to people inside the base on 4th September 2007:-
REFUSE TO BE COMPLICIT IN WAR CRIMES
The deliberate killing of innocent people is wrong
British Nuclear Forces are Criminal
You may be one of many people involved with British nuclear weapons - by operating
them, planning for their use, designing them, or by transporting, maintaining, or guarding them. Even office workers and cleaners are part of this. You may therefore now be
violating the law and also be involved in a criminal act. This leaflet is about what can,
and cannot, be done to people in war or in peace.
The threatened use of British Trident nuclear warheads
violates the following laws:
Declaration of St Petersburg 1868 because there would be no minimising of incidental loss of human life and unnecessary suffering would be caused.
Hague Convention 1907 because unnecessary suffering would be caused and the rights
of neutral nations would be violated.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 because long-lasting radioactive contamination would interfere with innocent people's right to life and health.
Geneva Conventions 1949 because protection of the wounded, sick, infirm, pregnant women, civilian hospitals and health workers would not be ensured.
Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions 1977 because there would be massive incidental loss of civilian life and widespread, long-term and severe damage to the environment.
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty 1968 because the UK is not seriously negotiating immediate and complete nuclear disarmament.
Serious violations of the treaties and declarations above are defined as criminal acts under the Nuremberg Principles 1946 which defines crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Principle Vl(a) says that participation in a common plan or conspiracy is also criminal.
In 1996 the International Court of Justice identified the key principle of International Law: "States must never make civilians the object of attack and must consequently never use weapons that are incapable of distinguishing between civilian and military targets." This applies even when a state is acting in justifiable self-defence.
Section 2 (1)(a) of the International Criminal Court (Scotland) Act 2001 states that it is an offence to “engage in conduct ancillary” to war crimes.
Trident: the Facts
Britain's only nuclear weapons system consists of 4 Trident submarines based here at Faslane. Each submarine carries 14 Trident 11 D-5 missiles. Each missile can fire up to 8 warheads which can strike separate targets. Each warhead has the explosive power of 100,000 tons of high explosive - 100 kilotons. That is 8 to 10 times the Hiroshima bomb which killed 200,000 people in 1945. It incinerated people with a temperature higher than the sun's. Most of the victims were civilians. And then there was radiation which causes cancers and deformities for generations. People from Hiroshima still suffer from radiation effects. Could a Trident warhead be less damaging than the Hiroshima Bomb? Could it destroy a military target, such as an airfield, without killing large numbers of civilians over a huge area?
Common sense suggests the obvious answer: No!
Even one Trident warhead could never be used lawfully.
Your Personal Responsibility
No one is above the law. Political and military leaders are also citizens; and all citizens have the duty to uphold the law. If a criminal act is committed then a tribunal could find that people involved in its preparation also acted criminally. In 1945-6 the victors of World War 2 tried the Nazis at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal. The rules used became the Nuremberg Principles. These were adopted by the United Nations and became part of international law. For individuals the most important Principle says that obeying orders is no excuse for committing War Crimes or Crimes against Humanity. The individual must accept personal responsibility for his or her own actions. Everyone, military and civilian, has the legal right and civic duty to make sure that they are not involved in serious wrongdoing.
The Nuremberg Principles say we have a "moral choice". Whatever our personal or professional responsibilities, we must think about all the innocent people who would be vaporised, maimed, or poisoned by radiation if Trident were ever launched.
Please be very careful and think seriously about your position. The British Manual of Military Law says that "manifestly illegal" orders must be disobeyed. If you receive an order to launch a Trident missile, or to help prepare a launch, you should disregard it. If you are asked to help supply the Trident submarines or make them ready for sea you should not get involved. Any activity that enables the Trident system to operate from cleaning, supplying, maintaining and deploying, could be considered as an act ancillary to a war crime. A basic Nuremberg Principle is personal responsibility for what you do.
Judge Christopher Weeramantry, ex-Vice President of the World Court, said: "One wonders whether, in the light of common sense, it can be doubled that to exterminate vast numbers of the enemy population, to poison their atmosphere, to induce in them cancers, keloids and leukaemias, to cause congenital defects and mental retardation in large numbers of unborn children, to devastate their territory and render their food supply unfit for human consumption - whether acts such as these can conceivably be compatible with elementary considerations of humanity".