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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 52, November 2000

Review of UK Trident Ruling Concludes

On November 17, the High Court in Edinburgh concluded its review, known as a Lord Advocate' Reference, of the 'Trident Three' ruling - the acquittal of three anti-nuclear activists at Greenock Sheriff Court in October 1999 on charges of criminal damage to a nuclear laboratory serving the British Trident nuclear-armed submarine fleet. Although the acquittals cannot be reversed, the Government is seeking a ruling declaring invalid Sheriff Margaret Gimblett' judgement that the protesters were justified to take their action in the context of international legal instruments and opinions prohibiting the mass, indiscriminate killing of civilians. The Government argues that its possession of nuclear weapons is nowhere outlawed, and implies no design or desire to commit an act of mass destruction.

A ruling in the case is expected within four to eight weeks. On November 17, a spokesperson for the Trident Ploughshares anti-nuclear group told reporters: "The judges did not allow the full evidence to be presented at this hearing, but even with that restriction the basic case against Trident has come through. That case is so strong...[that] we ask the bench to admit the obvious and declare it [Trident] illegal."

Report: Call toTrident judges to face the obvious, Trident Ploughshares Press Release, November 17.

© 2000 The Acronym Institute.