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Ireland's war on Afghanistan on trial this week

category national | anti-war / imperialism | feature author Tuesday February 08, 2005 17:55author by jober as a sudge Report this post to the editors

Dubsky -v- Ireland - Four Courts, February 8th-11th

A judicial review of Ireland's participation in the US war in Afghanistan will be heard in the Irish High Court on February 8th, 9th and 10th. The case was initiated over two years by Eoin Dubsky, who joined with many others to protest against the US military overflights and refueling when in 2002 most refused to recognise Ireland's part in the bombing of Afghanistan. Previous pre-trial hearings were successful in forcing the State to produce information on US military activity in Shannon.

The case primarily concerns the orders (or waiver of orders) which were made by the Irish government to allow US military flights pass through Ireland for the war in Afghanistan without Dail consent or UN resolutions. An estimated 400,000 American troops have passed through Shannon Airport alone since September 2001. The true number of weapons and explosives which have passed through is unknown.

Unlike the Iraq war, the Irish government never sought the assent of the Irish parliament to allow Ireland's airspace and airports be used for American military flights relevant to the Afghanistan war.

In the aftermath of September 11th the Government said normal conditions were waived in respect of aircraft operating in pursuit of the implementation of the Security Council Resolution 1368 "to bring to justice the perpetrators of 911" yet the attacks Afghanistan and Iraq and now Iran have nothing to do with combatting terrorism." Blank Cheque: Revisiting Ireland's decision to refuel US warplanes). Disclosure from cases did reveal that for a period US military troops and cargo passed through Shannon without permissions.

Eoin was arrested for painting peace slogans onto a USAF C-130 at Shannon Airport three days before initiating his case in the High Court, September 2002. In the six months that followed the airport was the sight of many protests and vigils, a peace camp and further direct actions (including Pitstop Ploughshares and Mary Kelly). This judicial review does not effect his previous case and his criminal record (for damaging the warplane). Whether the case will have an effect on US military overflights and refueling depends on what we do with it. There was little response to Ed Horgan's judicial review over Iraq, which established that a neutral country cannot allow movement of substantial armed troops and munitions through its territory but was defeated because Justice Kearns said that Ireland neutrality is only "aspirational" and we are not under any obligation to obey customary international law.

Action: Come along to Court 13 or 14 (ask for Dubsky -v- Ireland), The Four Courts, February 8-11th to lend support.
To contact Eoin phone: +33 6 86789118, +353 87 6941060

Further Info
Public Meeting on Shannon Warport This Friday
Feb. date fixed for Dubsky v Ireland in High Court
Full report on Dubsky Vs DPP in regard to USAF Plane Spray Painting

author by pcpublication date Tue Feb 08, 2005 03:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

*Start Excerpt from 'Horgan' case*

If you take the case issue by issue on the issue of neutrality and international law, was not the plaintiff successful despite the defendant's best efforts in establishing to the court's satisfaction at least that there is a rule of customary international law that a neutral State does not allow its territory to be used for the movement of substantial numbers of troops and munitions?

MR. O'DONNELL: (defence for the State)
Yes, my Lord, I fully accept that, but, firstly, it is not normally the case that if the plaintiff succeeds on only one issue, he will still recover all his costs, because the event follows, and the fact that he ...(INTERJECTION).

Insofar as the issues were concerned, in one sense they boiled down to simple -- well, I would not call them simple questions, decisions on Articles 28 and 29, but as part of the considerations which had to be canvassed as part of the hearing were issues revolving around the identification of a principle of international law, which Mr. Horgan contended established that a neutral country cannot allow movement of substantial armed troops and munitions through its territory by way of assisting one belligerent State only. He contended, and the court accepted, that in international law there is such a principle. In that respect, he was successful in reaching that point.

*End Excerpt* (Justice Kearns awarded Horgan 50% of his costs in bringing this action against the State)

author by crpublication date Tue Feb 08, 2005 15:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's in court no.10 in the four courts.

author by Michaelpublication date Wed Feb 09, 2005 09:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

First: Thanks to the Indymedia editor who put this feature together with all the links to previous postings and related stuff online. There was a journalist from BBC Radio Ulster and one from INN (an Irish news agency used by many of the commercial radio stations around the country) in court, but that was it.

The state seem to be taking this quite seriously, and have no less than two senior councils, two or three junior councils. I couldn't tell how many solicitors they've got, but there were a few. Eoin is represented by John Rogers (senior council), Richard Humphries (junior council), and his solicitor of Ahern O'Shea solicitors.

Judge Mahon has put a deadline of Thursday at 4pm for this case to be done, and has said she'll send it all the way to the bottom of the judicial review list if it's not finished by then. (i.e. finish in three days or way another two years!)

The first day, Tuesday 8th February, was Mr Rogers reading through the affidavits, guiding the judge through the facts of the case. Lawyers for the defendant/respondant (the Irish government) only interjected once or twice, but it was mostly just Mr Rogers reading and explaining the sworn statements which make up 90% of the case (the other 10% being the arguments of law that will be made by the lawyers in court).

author by Michaelpublication date Wed Feb 09, 2005 09:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

One of the debates at the centre of the case is whether or not the military action in Afghanistan constituted "war" in the meaning of the Irish Constitution.

An affidavit for the defendants was read which included an argument something like this: Because the government which they invaders installed in autumn 2002 retroactively authorised the invasion, it was a matter of policing rather than war after all.

author by Keep us up to datepublication date Wed Feb 09, 2005 12:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Good luck Eoin with the case. Keep us up to date with how it is going.

author by Michaelpublication date Wed Feb 09, 2005 14:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Today a few more supporters turned up than yesterday. Mr Rogers continued today by reading the last of those affidavits and making the legal case. Basically there's the constitutional one (participation in a war without assent of Dail Eireann), which requires the judge accept that overflights and refueling amounts to participation and that armed conflict amounts to war for the purposes of the Irish Constitution (i.e. the Afghanistan war). The other stuff concerns the Orders and permissions for foreign military overflights and landing -- whether the paperwork was in order basically, or whether indeed the Orders were even legal.

The judge seemed more friendly this morning. This afternoon after 15 minutes more of Mr Rogers, the state's defence will be made by their lawyers for the rest of the day and into Thursday morning. Then there should be a few hours to reply. Then hopefully it'll be all over by 4pm Thursday afternoon.

author by redjadepublication date Wed Feb 09, 2005 17:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors



author by Davy Carlinpublication date Wed Feb 09, 2005 18:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In Solidarity - D

author by Eoin Dubskypublication date Fri Feb 11, 2005 00:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Many, many thanks to everyone who phoned, texted, emailed, and turned up to support me during the trial. It ended today at 4.45pm, though Ms. Judge Macken will reserve her judgement for four to six weeks she said.

Today was the most interesting day in court. It was a sort of battle of the titans -- three of the top lawyers in the country trying to get their last few punches in before the deadline this afternoon.

I took heaps of notes and was delighted with the performance of my lawyers, especially John Rogers SC. Tomorrow -- Friday -- evening I've been invited to speak at the Teacher's Club, so I'll talk about the case there. Hope to see you! :-)

author by Clarepublication date Fri Feb 11, 2005 11:12author address Dublinauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Well done Eoin. Just posting the details of the talk this evening so that people know the where and whens!

A public meeting organised by Fairview Against the War with Eoin Dubsky and Deirdre Clancy of the Pitstop Ploughshares.

On Friday February 11th, at the Teachers Club, Dublin at 7:30pm.

Eoin's judicial review of Ireland's participation in the US war in Afghanistan will be heard in the High Court on February 8th, 9th and 10th. Eoin initiated the case over two years ago.

The Pitstops Ploughshares trial starts on March 7th

author by Ooph!publication date Tue Dec 13, 2005 12:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A few minutes ago the judge (13 December) returned a verbal summary of her judgement: Government not guilty. Afghanistan war not really a war.

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