Citizens summons and complaints are being filed all over Europe to demand the enforcement of international humanitarian law by dismantling Nuclear Weapons.
Didn't know that Nuclear Weapons are illegal? Well now you know. The International Court of Justice delivered an Advisory Opinion in 1996 that the use or threat to use nuclear weapons is contrary to international law, because they cause unnecessary suffering and are indiscriminate in their destruction: two tests of the humanitarian conduct of war, if you can believe such a thing exists.
On top of that, the 480 US weapons in Europe violate one of the provisions of the Non-proliferation Treaty, which says that all nations are supposed to keep their nukes in their own damn backyards.
So anti-nuclear troublemakers Vredesactie and Bombspotting decided to do the obvious thing, really. Call the cops!
They uploaded a bunch of citizen complaint forms, and people are filling them out and handing them in to bobbies and carabinieri and the like... The forms are the same kind of thing you bring to the police whenever you've got an issue with, e.g., your neighbour being destructive and un-neighborly and threatening to incinerate your home and make your entire town glow like a radium watchface.
You know the ones...
The complaints highlight the complicity of governments in NATO nuclear decision-making and request that the police take the "relevant national judicial route" to hold governments accountable to the rules of international law.
The citizens summons demands NATO change its nuclear policy by putting an end to the role of nuclear weapons in its strategy and withdrawing and dismantling all remaining nuclear weapons.
In Spain, complaint actions in Valencia and Madrid triggered a series of actions across the country, from Alcoi and Avila to Salamca. The call to action even made it across the sea and reached Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, where 10 people filed complaints on November 23rd. More complaints will be filed in Alaquas and Sevilla. (more on www.antimilitaristas.org)
Frankfurt am Main gave the kick-off for Germany. Actions in Stuttgart, München, Nürnberg, Wetzlar, Alpirsbach, Schwäbisch Gmünd and Ebersbach/Fils soon followed. In Wetzlar, peace activists did a demonstration before going to the police station, carrying a banner saying "Either we get rid of the bomb, or it gets rid of us." (more on www.pressehuette.de and www.gaaa.org)
In Norwich (Norfolk, UK), over 30 supporters turned up with colourful banners representing local groups including the Norwich Quaker Meeting, Norwich CND, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Norwich and District Peace Council and Norfolk Campaign against the Arms Trade (CAAT). They walked around part of the city centre and demonstrated in front of the police station while the letter of complaint was officially filed. Other complaint actions took place in the Bournemouth (Dorset), Bungay, Halesworth and Newmarket (Suffolk), Norwich (Norfolk), Plymouth (Devon) and Sussex. More complaint actions are to be expected today in Sussex, in at least 3 police stations in Essex, in Mildenhall (Suffolk), at MOD police at Lakenheath, Ipswich, Colchester, Cambridge, Cromer, Helensburgh and Bristol. (www.cnduk.org)
In Belgium hundreds of citizens collectively sent a bailiff with a citizens summons to Prime minister Verhofstadt. In earlier complaints actions in Belgium, in 2002 and 2004, more than a thousand complaints were filed. (more on www.bombspotting.be)
The legal complaints, and a step-by-step instructions page on how to file it, were put online on www.bombspotting.be so people could easily join the complaint action. This accounts for several 'spontaneous' complaint actions, like ones in Amsterdam and Zutphen (The Netherlands).
On the whole, the police were surprised, but kind and helpful. In some places they implicitly denied that their job is to enforce the law, and refused the complaints. In Ebersbach, Germany, the activists were asked whether they are aware that what they were doing is punishable. They still filed the complaint. In other cases, police officers did their job surprisingly well: Ulrich Bathke filed the complaint at the 13th police department at Frankfurt, and received notification that the case was transferred to the state attorney at Berlin.
Italy will closes this series of complaint actions. Local Greenpeace groups ran actions across Italy over the weekend, here's pictures from the event in Rome:
More from (www.greenpeace.it)
Donna Mattfield, disarmament campaigner from Greenpeace International: "on 28th and 29th November NATO's state leaders will meet in Riga, Latvia, to begin a process to review the mandate of the Alliance. This is an opportunity for European leaders to meet their own obligation to disarm the world of nuclear weapons and to do what the majority of people in Europe want by removing US nuclear weapons from European soil".
More information: www.bombspotting.be