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Dear Friend: I would be very grateful indeed if you would spend a couple of minutes reading this. I hope you will want to make a donation to help CND's legal challenge to prevent the government from going to war without explicit UN permission. This is an opportunity to help do something really practical to prevent this war. Please forward this message to as many people as possible. (If you would like to read a brief overview of the current crisis, you may wish to look at my article 'The Choice on Iraq' which you can see on my website http://www.ericherring.com/). Thank you very much indeed. Best wishes Eric Herring URGENT LETTER FROM MARK THOMAS Dear Friend Along with George Bush, Tony Blair has said that he is prepared to go to war against Iraq without a new vote of the UN Security Council. Bush already has permission to go to war from the US Congress and Blair says he is not going to ask Parliament for a vote for or against war. So, as things stand, Bush and Blair can decide all by themselves to plunge us into war. As you may have heard, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has launched a legal challenge to force Blair to get permission from the UN. If CND wins this legal action, it will be much, much harder for them to start a war. The lawyer advising CND thinks that, if the case gets to court, CND is likely to win. The challenge has had some press coverage up to now, and we can expect a lot more as it progresses. This is the first time citizens have ever taken a government to court to prevent an illegal war before it even starts. CND desperately needs funds to keep the legal challenge going (£13,000 right now to pay for costs already incurred, and a further £100,000 to keep going). Anything you can donate helps, even if it is only £1. Donations can be put directly into the 'CND Public Information' account at the Co-operative Bank, sort code 089033, account number 50425088: you can do this by instructing your bank. OR you can send a cheque payable to 'CND Public Information' to the following address: CND, 162 Holloway Road, London N7 8DQ. Of course, in order to decide whether or how much to donate, you may feel you want more information. And if you do donate, you will want to know how to follow developments. So I have provided more information below. Thank you Mark Thomas THE CND LEGAL CHALLENGE CND is prepared to take the government to court if Tony Blair continues to threaten to use military force against Iraq without returning to the UN. CND has served letters on Tony Blair, Geoff Hoon as Defence Secretary and Jack Straw as Foreign Secretary asking them to clarify the government's position on UN Security Council Resolution 1441 passed on 8 November 2002. This Resolution demanded the return of UN weapons inspectors to Iraq. Iraq has agreed to comply with the Resolution and weapons inspectors are back in Iraq. CND has demanded that the Government indicate whether or not it is their view that Resolution 1441 gives them permission to go to war with Iraq should they decide that they are not satisfied with Iraqi compliance with the weapons inspectors. If they say that this is their view, or if they do not reply by Tuesday 26 November, CND will take them to court to argue that war against Iraq will require another UN Security Council Resolution which explicitly authorises war. THE LEGAL OPINION CND commissioned a legal opinion from Matrix Chambers QC Rabinder Singh on the legality of using Resolution 1441 as an automatic trigger mechanism to go to war. His opinion is that, although the government has continually stated that they will be bound by international law, they cannot legally go to war against Iraq using Resolution 1441. Firstly, there is no clear instruction that if Iraq fails to comply with the weapons inspectors then member states can take military action and wage war. Secondly, the phrases used in previous UN resolutions to indicate the use of force (i.e. 'all necessary means' and 'the severest consequences') are absent from 1441, because the UK and the US fought and lost the battle to have them included. To go to war under the pretext of resolution 1441 is illegal. For the full legal opinion go to the CND website http://www.cnduk.org/ and follow the relevant link. You can also keep in touch with the legal challenge through it. WHAT NEXT? On 26 November if the government does not indicate that it will comply with the law, CND will serve court papers and in a letter to the court insist that as the matter is of such urgent public interest the case be decided on before 8th December, the deadline for Iraq to present to the UN its declaration of chemical, biological and nuclear weapon programmes and even potentially related materials. The next stage is for the judge to decide if s/he will hear the case or not. This will more than likely go to a permission hearing. Here the arguments for the case are laid out and the judge decides if the case can go to a full hearing. It is the opinion of Rabinder Singh that if the case gets to a full hearing CND stand a better chance than the government of winning. THE POSSIBLE RESULTS We don't believe that a war on Iraq would be morally justified even if the UN did give its permission. If the government decide to follow the law and return to the Security Council we will have forced the US to do likewise (it is also likely that a similar court case is going to take place in the US). This will strengthen the hands of those on the Security Council who do not want war. Also it forces the UK government to publicly address the issues of legality of war on Iraq. It would be too optimistic to believe that this action alone can prevent the war that the US obviously wants but it is vital that we use every non violent tool we have to oppose and stop the war. And a war delayed can be a war avoided. THE FUNDING NEEDED FOR THE CAMPAIGN £16,000 has been spent so far. Between them, CND and Mark Thomas have each managed to raise £3,000. So £13,000 is needed now just to cover costs so far. If CND goes to court and wins, it will almost certainly need funds for further legal action against the government. If CND goes to court and the government wins, CND could be faced with a bill of about £100,000. As you can see, donations are needed very badly. At the end of this process, if there is any money left over, it will be split evenly between CND and PeaceRights (an independent organisation of lawyers, activists and academics who are working to promote international humanitarian law through education and research - for further information, see their website http://www.peacerights.com/). For further information and comment please contact: Ian Martin, CND press officer 0207 700 2350; mobile: 07968 420859; firstname.lastname@example.org. ---------------------- Dr. Eric Herring Department of Politics University of Bristol 10 Priory Road Bristol BS8 1TU England, UK Office tel. +44-(0)117-928-8582 Mobile tel. +44-(0)7771-966608 Fax +44-(0)117-973-2133 email@example.com http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/Politics http://www.ericherring.com _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk