I’m taking Theresa May to court over Trident

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Renowned peace campaigner Angie Zelter tells TFN why she's taking Theresa May to court over Trident

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6th December 2016 by TFN Guest 4 Comments

I am attempting to take the government to court for maintaining and deploying nuclear weapons of 100 kilotons and over, along with plans to use them on cities.

Such use would actually be a war crime (if used in a time of war) or mass murder (if used at any other time) and we have UK and International Humanitarian Laws that make this clear.

These laws are meant to prevent genocide, prevent attacks on civilians and public infrastructure, protect children, respect neutral countries, and protect the environment.

Obviously any use of nuclear weapons would breach all of these legal protections that have taken many decades and in some cases, hundreds of years to build up. 

Angie Zelter

Angie Zelter

I am horrified and ashamed that my prime minister can admit a willingness to kill hundreds of thousands of people

Nevertheless, the UK government continues to modernise and deploy such nuclear weapons by hiding behind the theory of nuclear deterrence and pretending that these weapons would never be used, as if that makes it excusable.

However, when actually asked point blank on 18 July this year if she would personally be prepared to authorise a nuclear strike that could kill 100,000 men, women and children, our prime minister, Teresa May, said “Yes, the whole point of a deterrent is that our enemies need to know that we would be prepared to use it”.

She was being brutally honest and I am left feeling horrified and ashamed that my prime minister can admit a willingness to kill hundreds of thousands of people.

I believe that such convictions not only undermine our humanity but also our security and encourage terrorism. A government that legitimises mass murder signals that there is nothing inherently wrong in contemplating violence and murder as it's just a question of context.

In the past such attempts to bring this issue before the courts have been prevented by the use of the royal prerogative that prevents issues of defence being heard.

Our argument is that such a prerogative can never be used to prevent citizens from ensuring that their armed forces act within the law.

As a responsible global citizen I cannot just sit back and do nothing. It is time that the courts impartially examine the evidence and make an unbiased non-political, non-ideological judgement on the UK's nuclear arsenal and 'deterrence' policies.

This is why I have joined with other UK citizens in an attempt to take out a private prosecution against the prime minister and the defence minister for conspiring to commit a war crime, which is what Trident is.

Angie Zelter is an activist and a founder of Trident Ploughshares.

7th December 2016 by shaun craig

You should contact Alastair McIntosh, would think he's got a lot of evidence left over from last time! Also, most people oblivious that US nukes no longer require consent of Commander-in-Chief (President), 3 star General can now autonomously detonate 'tactical' weapons anywhere between X 0.3 right up to X 6 the power of the Hiroshima bomb. As US has just demonstrated, if political climate becomes problematic (Turkey) they just move them close by (Romania), or in Scotland's case, that would mean Portsmouth? Good luck Angie, we don't hear nearly enough of what you have to say

7th December 2016 by R Forsyth

Your case would be weaker if the Government position was to use Trident (or any nuclear weapon) in self defence only (2nd Strike) but this Government has abandoned 2nd Strike policy and 'will not rule in or out' first use.

7th December 2016 by Rose Burn

If the UK does not have nuclear weapons how do we cope with nuclear blackmail from Russia?

10th December 2016 by Aila Ziegler

Great Angie! I congratulate you and wish you much success!