25th January 2016



Powys residents go for private prosecution against Defence Minister – 11.30a.m. Wednesday 3rd February.


A group of Powys residents are aiming to initiate a private prosecution against the Secretary of State for Defence for conspiring to commit a war crime, alleging that deploying Trident, the UK’s nuclear weapon system, is a crime.


In November the group wrote to the Minister asking him to sign a declaration on behalf of the government that it would fully comply with humanitarian law in relation to its nuclear weapons. The group deemed the response to be unsatisfactory and have now prepared a “criminal information” – a collection of witness statements and other prima facie evidence relating to the allegation. On 3rd February they will hand in these documents to the Merthyr Tydfil court to start the process of issuing the Defence Minister with a summons to answer the charges.


One of the group, Angie Zelter, from Knighton, said,

“The UK’s refusal over the last 45 years to disarm its nuclear arsenal has undermined the Non-proliferation Treaty and encouraged more nations to acquire nuclear weapons. There are now 9 nuclear weapon states and a dangerous new nuclear arms race is under way. The present Trident system – and any replacement – could never be used in accordance with international law, and it is time for our allegations to be judged by an impartial UK court. The lies and obfuscations of the nuclear weapon policies need to be examined and revealed in all their horror. This is why we are going to court.”


Representatives of the Informant Prosecutors will be at the Merthyr Tydfil Combined Law Courts, Giebeland Place, Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, CF47 8BH at 11.30 a.m. on Wednesday 3rd February 2016. A demonstration in support of the private prosecutors will take place outside the court at the same time as the documents are handed into the court and will feature a red dragon, symbol of Welsh justice and peace.


For more information please contact Angie Zelter, on 074-565-88943 or Brian Jones on 07765 498072.





CND Cymru

Trident Ploughshares

Datganiad i’r Wasg

Ionawr 24 2016 am Chwefror 3 2016




Gr?p o Bowys yn dwyn erlyniad preifat yn erbyn y Gweinidog Amddiffyn – 11.30 a.m. Dydd Mercher 3ydd o Chwefror.


Mae gr?p o drigolion Powys yn ceisio dwyn achos preifat yn erbyn yr Ysgrifennydd Gwladol dros Amddiffyn am gynllwynio i gyflawni trosedd ryfel, gan honni bod gweithredu Trident, system arfau niwclear y DU, yn drosedd.


Ym mis Tachwedd, sgrifennodd y gr?p at y Gweinidog yn gofyn iddo arwyddo datganiad ar ran y llywodraeth y byddai’n ufuddhau’n llwyr i gyfraith ddyngarol mewn perthynas â’i harfau niwclear. Roedd yr ymateb yn anfoddhaol, ym marn y gr?p, sydd bellach wedi paratoi “gwybodaeth droseddol” – casgliad o ddatganiadau tystion a thystiolaeth prima facie arall yn ymwneud â’r honiad. Ar y 3ydd Chwefror, byddant yn cyflwyno’r dogfennau hyn i lys ynadon Merthyr Tudful er mwyn cychwyn y broses o gyhoeddi gw?s yn gofyn i’r Gweinidog Amddiffyn ateb y cyhuddiad.


Meddai un o’r gr?p, Angie Zelter, o Drefyclo,

“Mae’r ffaith fod y DU wedi gwrthod diarfogi ei harfogaeth niwclear ers 45 mlynedd wedi tanseilio’r Cytundeb Atal Ymlediad a sbarduno mwy o wledydd i sicrhau arfau niwclear. Erbyn hyn, mae gan naw o wladwriaethau arfau niwclear ac mae ras arfau niwclear newydd, beryglus ar y gweill. Ni ellid byth defnyddio’r system Trident bresennol – nac unrhyw olynydd iddi – yn unol â’r gyfraith ryngwladol, ac mae’n bryd i’n honiadau gael eu barnu ger bron llys. Mae’n hen bryd archwilio twyll a chelwydd y polisi arfau niwclear a’i ddatgelu yn ei holl erchylltra. Dyna pam rydym yn mynd i gyfraith.”


Bydd cynrychiolwyr yr Erlynwyr Hysbyswyr yn Llysoedd Barn Merthyr Tudful, Glebeland Place, Merthyr Tudful am 11.30 a.m. fore Mercher y 3ydd o Chwefror 2016. Cynhelir gwrthdystiad y tu allan i’r llys i gefnogi’r erlynwyr preifat ar yr union adeg y bydd y dogfennau  yn cael eu cyflwyno i’r llys, a bydd y gwrthdystiad yn cynnwys draig goch, symbol cyfiawnder a heddwch Cymru.


Am wybodaeth bellach, cysyllter ag Angie Zelter ar 074-565-88943 neu Brian Jones ar 07765 498072 t: 01792 830 330.




Jill Gough
Ysgrifennyddes Genedlaethol
National Secretary
CND Cymru

North Norfolk and Broadland residents join PICAT-the Public Interest Case against Trident

12th December 2015

Forty-nine residents of North Norfolk and Broadland know where they stand on the debate about Trident replacement.They have just joined the Public Interest Case against Trident (PICAT) organised by Angie Zelter ( who used to live here.  It is a request to the UK courts to uphold the law.


As the first stage, we have written to the Secretary of State for Defence asking him to declare for himself and the government regarding Trident, that they will not “plan. prepare, design, simulate, plot of otherwise formulate any policy, strategy  or other arrangement …which anticipates or forces in any way or  circumstances whatsoever, any such said use, or attack.”  In other words, we are asking him to promise not to use Trident.


We do this because the indiscriminate and overwhelming destructive power of Trident is incompatible with our obligations under the Geneva Conventions in which we have promised to protect civilian populations and natural environments from disproportionate, unnecessary or excessive harm, not justified by an anticipated military advantage.


The Trident system at present comprises 4 large submarines, with up to 8 missiles and 40 warheads per submarine.  (They can each contain up to192 warheads.)  Each warhead is between 6 and 7 times more deadly than the bomb which devastated Hiroshima in 1945. So one boatload has the destructive power equivalent to 240 Hiroshima bombs.  That is more than all the bombs used in the Second World War, including the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


Trident was specifically designed to kill millions of people, originally 40% of Moscow’s 11 million inhabitants, and to destroy the infrastructure.  With a 7,000 mile range, Trident can hit anywhere.  Our government promised in 2010 not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states party to the Non Proliferation Treaty.  But this will allow it to target India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel – and possibly Iran.


The use of one Trident boatload of warheads would devastate large areas and kill and injure millions of inhabitants, by the combination of a fierce fireball, massive blast pressure, intense winds, fire storms and radioactivity which would be carried  to other areas by wind and rain.  Communications and electronic systems would be disrupted by the nuclear electro-magnetic pulse (EMP).


In addition there would be devastating and swift climate cooling,  a ‘nuclear winter’ caused by all the carbon released into the atmosphere.  Studies in 2007 showed that use of one Trident boatload of warheads would reduce crop yields over the entire northern hemisphere for several years, affecting, ourselves, our allies and the states not targeted.  An estimated two billion would die from famine.


Given all this, using one Trident boatload of warheads would clearly be a serious case of genocide, entirely inconsistent with the UK’s moral, political and legal position.   It would also be suicidal.  The chaos and disruption in the UK and among its allies following an attack could not provide a military advantage.


Calling Trident a ‘deterrent’ is a misuse of language.  Nuclear weapons do not address the major threats of our time, terrorism and climate change.  Possessing nuclear weapons has not deterred terrorists.  If anything it may have made the nuclear states targets.   Most developed countries have realised nuclear weapons offer no protection.


Those who claim it can be used as a bargaining chip in multilateral disarmament negotiations are being disingenuous.  The need for nuclear disarmament has been recognised since the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968.   The nuclear powers have so far failed in their obligations to non nuclear states.   In the present situation, bilateral disarmament between the US and Russia is probably the best that can be hoped for from those two states for the majority of weapons.  The Trident system would be irrelevant in these negotiations.  Hanging on to Trident only encourages proliferation, which everyone agrees will make the world a more dangerous place.


As for those who think we need to keep Trident to be ‘at the top table’, what warped honour is there in being in a club which threatens life on earth?  Meaningful leadership today means working for a safer, fairer world.


Nuclear weapons have always been an accident waiting to happen.  We know enough about the fallibility of people to know that accidents happen all the time, no matter what the claimed safety systems are.


We know enough about madness to know that people go mad, leaders especially go mad.  Nuclear weapons, although their use will affect millions, are controlled by very few.  We rely on those few to be sensible at all times, even at times of heightened tensions, such those caused by ’defence systems’ which are seen as aggressive by others, by terrorists prepared to commit suicide and by desperate communities suffering appalling circumstances because of climate change and exploitation.  All these factors serve to make accidents more likely.


The money wasted on this immoral and deadly system which threatens us all, should be spent on improving conditions for the living, countering inequality and peacekeeping generally in the world – lowering tensions not increasing them.


Over the decades, the misuse of words such as ‘defence’ ‘deterrent’ and ‘independent’ has lulled us into a false sense of security.  Now that replacing Trident is being considered, we must look the situation squarely in the face.  We must recognise Trident’s indiscriminate destructive force and let our politicians and system of justice know what we think.


For more information read “World in Chains” edited by Angie Zelter, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and awarded the Hrant Dink international award in 2014 for her work.


Yours sincerely


Alicia Hull and Peter Crouch


PICAT– A Public Interest Case Against Trident

Press release: 1st October 2015

For Immediate Release


Campaigners aim to prosecute British state

On 1st October campaigners will begin a new and ambitious project to institute a citizen’s prosecution of the Government and specifically the Secretary of State for Defence for breaching international law by its active deployment of the Trident nuclear weapon system.

PICAT is co-ordinated by Trident Ploughshares and will involve groups across England and Wales in a series of steps which will hopefully lead to the Attorney General’s consent for the case to go before the courts.

Groups will begin by seeking an assurance from the Secretary of State for Defence that the UK’s nuclear weapons will not be used, or their use threatened, in such a way as to cause wholesale loss of civilian life and damage to the environment.

In the case of no response or an unsatisfactory one groups will then approach their local magistrates to lay a Criminal Information (1). If consent for the case is not forthcoming from the Attorney General the campaign will then consider approaching the International Criminal Court.

Veteran peace campaigner Angie Zelter (2), who has developed the project along with international lawyer Robbie Manson (3), said:

“The government has consistently refused to give evidence to prove how Trident or any replacement could ever be used lawfully. This campaign is an attempt to find a court willing to examine objectively if the threat to use Trident
is in fact criminal as so many of us think it is. It is a matter of vital public interest.

The UK, along with the other nuclear weapon states, is becoming increasingly isolated from the growing global momentum to outlaw nuclear weapons, as expressed in the Humanitarian Pledge, which has already attracted the signatures of 117 nations.(4)”

Robbie Manson said:

“I remain very firmly of the view that it is both an immensely worthy and worthwhile cause to pursue these matters, even in court, and with vigour given the enormity of the humanitarian need, political significance and the scale of the diplomatic hypocrisy upon which our political masters rely for the achievement of their designs.”

The project is supported by an impressive list of expert witnesses (5), including Phil Webber, Chair of Scientists for Global Responsibility, Professor Paul Rogers, Department of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford, and John Ainslie of Scottish CND.


General queries: Angie Zelter 01547 520929   07456 588943

Legal queries: Robbie Manson       01239 615921

Campaign webpages:


The campaigners highlight  the provisions of Articles 51 of the First Additional Protocol 1977 to the four original Geneva Conventions of 1949  – Protection of the civilian population and Article 55 — Protection of the natural environment, and Article 8(2)(b)(iv) of the Rome Statute for an International Criminal Court 1998, which together set out clear and essential limitations on the rights of belligerents and others to launch attacks which may be foreseen to cause disproportionate, unnecessary or excessive harm to civilian lives and property, or the natural environment, not justified by the anticipated military advantage alone.

Angie Zelter is a peace and environmental activist. In 1996 she was part of a group that was acquitted after disarming a BAE Hawk Jet bound for Indonesia where it would have beenused to attack East Timor. More recently she foundedTrident Ploughshares, encouraging people’s disarmament based on international humanitarian law and was famously acquitted as one of three women who disarmed a Trident-related barge in Loch Goil in 1999.. She is the author of several books including ‘Trident on Trial – the case for People’s Disarmament”. (Luath -2001)

Robbie Manson was instrumental in setting up the UK branch of the World Court Project, contributing to obtaining the 1996 ICJ Advisory Opinion on the Threat & Use of Nuclear Weapons and established the Institute for Law, Accountability & Peace (INLAP) in the early 1990s. In 2003 he became involved as adviser and then as solicitor to a group of 5 peace activists who at different times had entered RAF Fairford before the start of the last Iraq War, in efforts to sabotage US bombers waiting there to attack Baghdad. He argued that their actions were justified in a reasonable attempt to prevent a greater crime, namely that of international aggression. The case was appealed as a preliminary point all the way to the House of Lords as R v Jones in 2006.



PICAT: The Prosecution Position & associated documents

Prosecution Position

PART I : Provenance, codiification, incorporation & application of the

    Principle of proportionality

What is the character & provenance of the underlying or basic offence ?

  1. The underlying or basic offence is best described by the epithet the ‘launching of a disproportionate attack’, and is defined as comprising in a breach of a fundamental principle of the international humanitarian laws governing the conduct of armed conflict (jus in bellum), namely the principle of ‘proportionality’ .


  1. Exposition of basic argument in relation to this matter is set out in the attached statement labelled ‘The Basic Offence which includes among other matters references to the codification of the customary law principle within the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law Applicable in Armed Conflicts (1977) and the subsequent incorporation of the same into our domestic statute law, by means of the Geneva Conventions (Amendment) Act 1995.


Do the provisions of the Additional Protocol I of 1977 apply to nuclear weapons ?


  1. This aspect considers as a preliminary matter the position of the application of the ‘principle of proportionality’ to the use of nuclear weapons, as an aspect of international humanitarian law. Exposition of basic argument in relation to this matter is set out in the attached statement labelleddoc-002-application-of-codified-principle-to-nuclear-weapons : Application to Nuclear Weapons’.


  1. In doing so, I cite and quote from the Official extensively from the

Commentary of the International Committee of the Red Cross, regarding its own analysis of the conduct of the CDDH Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law Applicable in Armed Conflicts (Conférence diplomatique sur la réaffirmation et le développement du droit international humanitaire applicable dans les conflits armés), 1974-1977. Followed, by an examination of the relevant aspects of the the judgement of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in relation to this topic when in 1996 it gave its notorious Advisory Opinion on the “Legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons“a1-appendix-01 Advisory Opinion of 8 July 1996 – General List No. 95 (1995-1998) .


Does the incorporated domestic crime also so apply ?


  1. This aspect considers next whether or not the incorporated domestic crime, as disclosed by the 1995 Act, follows the example of the ICJ Advisory Opinion and is equally applicable to international armed conflict conducted by or with the use of nuclear weapons as with other weapons. Candidly, the conclusion is reached that it does not, there being specific provision made in s.7(3) of that Act, whereby full effect is given to the ‘nuclear weapons exemption’ reservation, attached by the Crown’s to its subsequent Instrument of Ratification regarding the 1977 First Additional Protocol.


  1. Exposition of basic argument in relation to this matter is set out in the attached statement labelled ‘doc-003-application-to-domestic-statute.


Were similar reservations permitted to the Rome Statute provisions?


  1. This aspect considers next the development of the Rome Statute for the Establishment of an International Criminal Court, done at Rome in 1998, and in particular, the provisions made therein in relation to the ability or not of States Parties to enter reservations upon their ratification. It is followed by an exposition of the relevant UK instruments of ratification and domestic statutory instrument in relation thereto. Exposition of basic argument in relation to this matter is set out in the attached statement labelled doc-004-reservations-about-the-rome-statute Reservations about the Rome Statute’.


Does the 1997 nuclear weapons reservation apply also to the 2001 Act ?


  1. This aspect finally considers the effect of the corresponding statutory provisions [s.50(4)] in the 2001 Act, and whether or not they have a similar effect on the application of that Act to the use of nuclear weapons, as in relation to the case with respect to the provisions of the earlier Act of 1995. The conclusion is reached, however, that the answer to this question depends upon the view taken by a Court as to whether or not any of the ratification declarations and reservations, specified by the Crown in statutory instruments, are relevant to the specific articles of the Rome Statute 1998.


  1. Finally, it is further concluded that the effects of the 1997 nuclear weapons exemption reservation to the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions, is simply not relevant to the application of the specific articles of the Rome Statute in question instead, principally given that upon its ratification of that Statute, the Crown fully recognised the express prohibition within it against making such reservations.


  1. Additionally, further analysis is then offered with respect to both the relevant ‘state practice’ and ‘opino juris’ on the topic of the application of the relevant principles of customary international law and the principle of proportionality, to the use of nuclear weapons, a matter expressly alluded to by the Crown in its declaration of ratification of the Rome Statute, the effect of which is to find resoundingly that both aspects favour their unconditional and unqualified application.


  1. Exposition of basic argument in relation to this matter is set out in the attached statement labelled doc-005-does-the-2001-act-apply-to-nuclear-weapons: Does the 1997 nuclear weapons reservation apply also to the 2001 Act ?’


PART II : Application of Relevant Principles of Criminal, Evidentiary

     & Constitutional Law

International criminal law principle of ‘proportionality’


  1. The first aspect of the present matter, dealt with in the second part, concerns the adopted customs and conventions regarding the balance of considerations which must be undertaken, as between ‘military advantage’ anticipated on the one part and ‘civilian harm’ predicted on the other, when determining whether a particular proposed use of armed force in a situation of international conflict is ‘excessive’.


  1. In particular, emphasis is directed at the distinction as between the use of methods and weapons of warfare which have a genuine military or war fighting purpose, as compared with those which are declared to fulfil a political and/or strategic purpose instead, and the importance of that in relation to the determination of the test of so-called ‘military necessity’. Exposition of basic argument in relation to this matter is set out in the attached statement labelled ‘doc-006-military-advantage-versus-civilian-harm : Military Advantage versus Civilian Harm’ , and a further appendix attached thereto (a1-appendix-01) setting out previous examples of HMG’s declared acknowledgement of and commitment to the principle of ‘proportionality’ as a general rule of international humanitarian law applicable to and in international armed conflict.


Prosecution Posture regarding application of principle


  1. Next, I set out my position in relation to the application of the facts of the current matter, as applied to the above disclosed law on the definition and application of the international law principle of proportionality. I reach the conclusion that, as a matter of evidence basing myself almost entirely upon the declared policy position of Her Majesty’s Government in relation to its own understanding of the exclusively strategic and political purposes filled by the strategic nuclear weapons system in question, it follows inexorably that, there being no military or war fighting purpose for the use of the weapon, any and all civilian death, harm to civilians and civilian objects, and long-term persistent damage to the natural environment caused by such use, must inevitably then be ‘excessive’ in relation to the non-existence of any military or war fighting purpose thereby not achieved.


  1. Exposition of basic argument in relation to this matter is set out in the attached statement labelled ‘doc-007-application-of-principle-of-proportionality : Application of ‘principle of proportionality’


Conspiracy, Conditional Conspiracy & Extra-territoriality


  1. Next, I set out my position in relation to certain important domestic criminal law aspects of the case; firstly, the issue of the provisions of the 2001 Act in relation to the crime of conspiracy to commit a war crime and also its provisions respecting extra-territoriality of such a criminal conspiracy.


  1. Then I move on to consider the issue of the conditional nature of the agreement, that is to say the plans which the evidence shall show have been created, with respect to the agreed potential possible future use of the weapon system in question; and the applicable law, principally based on precedent case law authority on the criminality of such conditional conspiracy.


  1. Exposition of basic argument in relation to this matter is set out in the attached statement labelled ‘doc-008-criminality-of-conspiracy-conditional-conspiracy-under-the-act Criminality of Conspiracy & Conditional Conspiracy under the Act’ .


The Mental Element of the Crime requires “knowledge” as well as “intent”.


  1. Next, I moved to dealing with the issues regarding the law on the applicable ‘mental element’ of the crime in question. In particular, appreciating that as well as requiring a culpable perpetrator to possess the requisite subjective intent, also dealing with the issue as to his objective ‘knowledge’ of the facts concerning the appreciable circumstances in which, and predictable consequences of, the attack which he proposes to launch.


  1. I deal as appropriate and necessary with the interpretive language in both the international and the domestic statute, and also the interpretive assistance provided by means of the Art.9 elements of crimes materials, appearing in relation to this particular crime, again as that is disclosed both in international and domestic materials. Exposition of basic argument in relation to this matter is set out in the attached statement labelled ‘doc-009-the-mental-element-of-the-crime : The Mental Element of the Crime’.


Evidence of harmful effects to civilians, infrastructure & the environment.


  1. Next, having dealt substantially with the relevant aspects of criminal law, both under international rules and domestic statute, I then move on to set out my position in relation to the evidentiary issues. In particular, I begin with presenting the basis for the need to address evidence of the enormous, widespread and persistent harmful and damaging effects upon civilians, civilian objects and infrastructure and the natural environment, in relation to in particular the potential possible option to target certain crucial strategic, political and military locations in and about the city and oblast of Moscow. Evidentiary justification for treating this as the principal focus of prosecution posture is dealt with in the next exceeding segment.


  1. References are made to expert evidence reports provided by no less than three eminent British experts in the field, setting out primarily in appended exhibits evidence in relation to the scale, effect and persistence of the harm and damage to such civilians, civilian infrastructure objects and the natural environment, consequent upon such an attack. Exposition of basic argument in relation to this matter is set out in the attached statement labelled ‘doc-010-evidence-of-harmful-health-effects-consequences:Evidence of harmful health effects and consequences etc.’


What is the ‘Moscow Criterion’ and how do I prove it ?

  1. Next, I move on to deal with the published evidence in the public domain which establishes both the existence and the basic nature of the so-called ‘Moscow Criteriion’ and which is used to form the basic allegation for the formulation of an agreement to launch an attack against targets in and about the city and oblast of Moscow, and thereby commit the war crime alleged.


  1. In addition to setting out various published works, I also quote from the speeches of ministers and other prominent politicians and civil servants all of whom have acknowledged and referenced the plan. In addition, by way of a further appendix (a2-appendix-02-v-2 detailed targeting locations are set out together with the strategic, command, political, military and intelligence functions and roles they fulfil. From a position of an abundance of caution, I conclude with a referencing of the expert witness reports, corroborating and endorsing this appreciation of HMG’s past and present nuclear targeting strategy from three eminent British experts in political science pertaining to this aspect of national defence policy.


  1. Finally, a summation is provided, basing myself entirely on publicly available and published materials, stipulating as to the current specifications and details both as to the missiles themselves and HMG’s stated position as to the current number of missiles, number of warheads and type and configuration of warheads as carried by each of the current four Trident boats. Exposition of basic argument in relation to this matter is set out in the attached statement labelled ‘doc-011-the-moscow-criterion: The Moscow Criterion’


Non-application of the “Prerogative/Crown Immunity” or

“Prohibited Subject Area” doctrines.


  1. In conclusion, and having now dealt with the principal criminal law and evidentiary issues I perceive as being raised, I finally move to touch upon the non application of certain constitutional law doctrines, as arising under common law and established on the authorities, from which the Crown enjoys much of its privilege, immunity and indeed impunity, most especially in relation to policy areas pertaining to the ’disposition and armament of the Armed Forces’ and the‘requirements for national security’.


  1. In so doing I deal both with questions as to ‘prohibited subject areas’ doctrines developed in particular in relation to the jurisdiction for the exercise of judicial review in the courts; and also in relation to the application of the doctrine of so-called ‘Crown immunity’ in relation to the provision of statutes. Exposition of basic argument in relation to this matter is set out in the attached statement labelled ‘doc-012-non-application-of-crown-immunity-prohibited-subject-areas-common-law-doctrines: Non-application of the “Prerogative/Crown Immunity” or

“Prohibited Subject Area” doctrines”.


Robert L. Manson

for and on behalf of

INLAP  (Institute for Law, Accountability and Peace).

Fiat iustitia ruat cœlum

The Prosecution Position & associated documents as


Welcome to the new PICAT website.

As PICAT is a big project and growing fast we’ve decided to give the project its own website. You can find all the available PICAT documents, the activity of groups involved and the latest news via the menu at the top of this website. All new developments will be posted here as they happen.


The aim of this project is to bring the crimes constituted by Trident and its renewal before the domestic courts and to secure a judgement that will lead to the ending of these crimes through the disarming of the UK’s nuclear weapons system.


Groups around England and Wales (the Scottish process is different and is not covered in this briefing) will go to their local Magistrates’ court and ask it to start the process of a criminal prosecution against the Secretary of State for Defence (the corporate office not the individual incumbent) for being engaged in a conspiracy to commit a war crime.

The court will predictably deny the issue of a summons and may dismiss it out of hand; but whatever the decision is, groups should try to find out what the reasons for dismissal were and to get them in writing from the court.

In the best case scenario the Magistrate will treat the ‘laying of information’ with the respect and seriousness it deserves and will take the opportunity to write to the Attorney General (using a model letter provided). This is because such serious crimes have to have the consent of the Attorney General in order for proceedings to begin in the courts.

If the Attorney General (A-G) refuses his consent, or it is deemed to be vexatious litigation, or if there is any other attempt to prevent these crimes from being addressed seriously by the courts, the people involved in the project will consider approaching the International Criminal Court, which has international jurisdiction over these crimes. Also, we will lobby Parliament to demand an adequate explanation from the A-G for his refusal to consent. At the very least, attempts to bring the matter before the courts will inform more people about the illegality of weapons of mass destruction and help provide the public pressure needed to de-legitimise the UK’s nuclear weapons.

The people who initiated the project were Angie Zelter, George Farebrother (unfortunately now deceased) and Robbie Manson, a lawyer and author of ‘Pax Legalis’. Angie and Robbie are now co-ordinating the campaign and are being assisted by David Mackenzie and Kate Holcombe. Reports of each group’s progress should be sent to PICAT via Angie at and they will be put up on the website so we can all share information and be involved in discussing the ways forward.

Read full ‘Introduction to PICAT’ here.