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Nuclear Weapons Are Illegal

The Historic Opinion of the World Court and How It Will Be Enforced


In July 1996, the International Court of Justice made history by declaring nuclear weapons illegal. Here is the complete decision of the Court, including the separate opinions and dissents of the individual judges.

Also included are an introduction putting this historic decision in its broader political and legal context, an account of how a combination of non-governmental organizations and governments worked together to make it happen, questions for discussion, a glossary of terms, texts of relevant documents, tables of cases and treaties, and a complete index.

This World Court decision is must reading for every thinking and feeling person, whether scholar, student, lawyer, judge, parent, activist, or citizen. It belongs on the shelf of every public and university library, every corporation, women’s organization, and union, and every NGO.

The format of this book enhances its accessibility for non-specialist readers and makes it ideally suited for courses in international relations, international law, contemporary politics, U.S. foreign policy, conflict resolution, disarmament, and many other subjects.

The book can be ordered from MCLI. The Apex Press. 1998. 576 pp. Illus. with Index. ISBN-0-945257-86-4. $28.50 (Soft cover-A-864). ISBN-0-945257-87-2. $49.50 (Hard Cover-A-872).

About the Author:

Ann Fagan Ginger learned early to use the law and history to work for peace and human rights, coming from an Irish Catholic, English Quaker, Russian Jewish, Midwestern newspaper family.

As a lawyer, she won a civil liberties case in the U.S. Supreme Court. After her testimony as an expert witness on international law that applies in the U.S., a jury acquitted nuclear weapons protesters in Utah.

She is now teaching Peace Law and Human Rights at San Francisco State University and long served on the Peace and Justice Commission that administers the Nuclear Free Zone Ordinance in Berkeley.

She is Executive Director of Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, a center for peace law and human rights, with archives of historic cases. Founded in 1965, the Institute answers queries of clients and lawyers and trains interns to prepare reports on U.S. compliance with human rights treaties for submission to U.N. committees.

The World Court opinion is even more important since Clinton’s Executive Order to implement the human rights treaties. Now the U.S. must report regularly to the U.N. Human Rights Committee on ending the nuclear threat.

What Others Say About It:

“A resourceful dissection of the World Court’s historic advisory opinion. Ann Ginger’s joyous optimism in the power of the judicial word and her potent arguments for its implementation are infectious. May her faith and vigorous persuasion be fully vindicated! A world that is quite possibly at even greater risk than it was during the Cold War demands no less. We disregard Ann Ginger’s call to nuclear sanity only at our own peril.” –Burns Weston, Professor of International Law, University of Iowa

“Just when you think that the Nuclear Arms Race has come to an end, new bombs go off. Ann Fagan Ginger’s book, unfortunately, is most timely. We need to break the sense of fatalism concerning nuclear weapons. The materials in this book give us the information we need for serious analysis by each one of us.” –Albie Sachs, Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa

“‘Nuclear Weapons Are Illegal’ is imperative reading for all those people concerned about the fate of the earth…Nuclear war is still a distinct possibility, and can only be prevented by a concerned and well-educated citizenry.” –Helen Caldicott, M.D., first president of the Physicians for Social Responsibility and leader in the nuclear freeze movemant

“Ever since I worked on the Manhattan Project, I have worked for the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons. The World Court decision was a very important event towards this goal. Yet without a book like this it is hard for most to understand its true significance. Ann Fagan Ginger has done a magnificent job explaining the decision and its ramifications, and how everyone can help abolish the threat of nuclear weapons. I enthusiastically endorse this book to everyone.” –Owen Chamberlain, Nobel Laureate and retired Professor of Physics, University of California-Berkeley



Part One: A Court Opinion to Help Change The Course of History, by Ann Fagan Ginger

Part Two: Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons (Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice)

Part Three: Declarations, Separate and Dissenting Opinions of the Judges
Declaration of President Mohammed Bedjaoui
Dissenting Opinion of Vice-President Stephen M. Schwebel
Dissenting Opinion of Judge Mohamed Shahabuddeen
Delaration of Judge Shi Jiuyong
Declaration of Judge Vladlen S. Vereshchetin
Dissenting Opinion of Judge Abdul G. Koroma
Separate Opinion of Judge Carl-August Fleishhauer
Declaration of Judge Geza Herczegh
Declaration of Judge L. Ferrari Bravo
Individual Opinion of Judge Gilbert Guillaume
Dissenting Opinion of Judge Christopher Gregory Weeramantry
Individual Opinion of Judge Raymond Ranjeva
Dissenting Opinion of Judge Rosalyn Higgins
Dissenting Opinion of Judge Shigeru Oda

Part Four: The Opinion on Illegality of Nuclear Weapons Is Being Enforced, By Ann Fagan Ginger
The World Court Project: How a Citizen Network Can Influence the United Nations, by Kate Dewes and Commdr. Robert Green, RN (Retired)

Part Five: Appendices
Study Guide with Questions for Discussion
Glossary of Latin and Legal Words and Phrases
Texts of Relevant Documents
Table of Cases
Table of Treaties, Resolutions, Conventions and Charters

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