For Lefties too Stubborn to Quit
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NAMA Wine Lake >>
Ploughshares Trial Day 6
Tuesday July 18, 2006 00:45 by justin morahan - peace people
Tense day waiting
The whole morning was given over to legal argument while the jury were asked to return at 2 p.m.
Late in the afternoon, Dr Jean Allain of Queen's University Belfast was called as a witness for the defence. Dr Allain studied law in Canada, Los Angeles and the Graduate Institute for International Studies in Geneva where he researched the League of Nations., spent six months in The Hague, as a law clerk at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. One of his books is on International Law in the Middle East.
In evidence, Dr Allain said that after 1945 the UN established a charter that outlawed war. Henceforth war could take place only if the UN Security Council authorised it or if it was for self defence. Asked if, in his opinion, the war in Iraq(2003) was lawful under either of these two conditions, he replied "No - and that is not just my opinion". Resolution 1441 of the Security Council did not authorise the war. The Security Council uses "a trigger mechanism" in its resolutions which is always there if it is agreeing to the legality of a war. The mechanism is the phrase "by all means necessary".. Resolution 1441 did not use that phrase but decided to "remain seized of the matter" This meant that the power to go to war was not given (to the US and Britain)
Asked about the Bush doctrine of the legality of a pre-emptive strike for self defence he said that most international jurists disagree with this "doctrine". There is a international consensus among jurists on this - apart from conservative American authors.
When, in cross-examination, the Prosecuting Counsel Conor Devally asked if this issue had been tried in a domestic court in Ireland or Britain, the witness replied:
"I don't study domestic law", When a further similar question was asked there was an objection from Senior Counsel Brendan Nix who said that the Prosecution was attempting to give evidence by means of a question.
The jury was sent out again
After legal argument the witness agreed with Junior Counsel for the Defence, Muireann Brogan, that the UN Charter was different from the League of Nations in that the Charter prohibits the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. (The League could only delay the issue of war).
Asked if Governments could be tried if they didn't follow these rules, he replied that in the 1980s the US was found, by the International Court of Justice, to have been in breach of international law. (Nicaragua versus the United States). Both countries agreed at the start that they would accept the outcome.
Asked what punishment applied when a country so breached the law, he said "In international law, there is no police force. . . you cannot put a State in jail. You can take only limited action."
Kathy Kelly was called to the stand very late in the evening but Defence Counsel asked for a postponement of her evidence until tomorrow.
The trial continues tomorrow at 10.30 a.m.