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     Scottish CND      Magazine

LEGALITY OF TRIDENT QUESTIONED

Lord Murray has recently retired as a Scottish High Court judge and is a former Lord Advocate. He is now openly questioning whether Trident is illegal. Speaking to representatives of the Scottish Churches earlier this year, he explained the principles of humanitarian law,

The first is that states must not attack civilians. Hence they may not use weapons which are incapable of discriminating between military targets and civilians. The second is that it is forbidden to use inhumane weapons which cause unnecessary suffering to combatants. ...

With regard to using Trident, Lord Murray said

The lowest practical sub-strategic warhead would appear to be a massively clumsy and militarily inefficient means of destroying a realistically-sized military installation in or near a town. The town or much of it would fall within the actual target area, because the detonation spread cannot be focused, making it an unlawful attack on civilians as targets along with the military objective, or alternatively an unlawful attack because of disproportionate and unacceptable collateral effects. On either view the first principle would be contravened. Radiation injury to combatants and civilians would probably contravene the second principle also. Such a weapon, so used, may well be considered to be inherently indiscriminate and so illegal to use.

The case for a lawful use of strategic Trident would be even more difficult to make. Its area of destruction would be city-sized ...

Scottish CND      Magazine