Draft Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Unveiled

Forty years ago I started reading legal arguments against nuclear weapons. With an atomic ignoramus in the White House asking “Why can’t we use ‘em?,” Bill Durland, Dave McReynolds, Peter Weiss, Jackie Cabasso, Francis Boyle, John Burroughs and others have been explaining why for decades.

Radiation is “analogous” to gas, and attacks that are analogous to gas warfare are banned by the 1925 Geneva Gas Protocol. The 1907 Hague Regulations prohibit the use of poison or poisoned weapons, and radioactive fallout is poisonous to say the least. Indiscriminate destruction was forbidden by the 1945 Geneva Conventions. The 1945 Nuremberg Charter (written by US judges) outlaws planning and preparation of massacres — a monumental change in treaty law, since it implicates nuclear war planners before nuclear weapons cause massacres.

In 1961, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 1653, “Recalling that the use of weapons of mass destruction, causing unnecessary human suffering, was in the past prohibited, as being contrary to the laws of humanity and to the principles of international law, by international declarations and binding agreements …to which the majority of nations are still parties.”

The UN resolution:

Declares that:

a) The use of nuclear and thermo-nuclear weapons is … a direct violation of the Charter of the United Nations;

b) The use of nuclear and thermo-nuclear weapons would exceed even the scope of war and cause indiscriminate…

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