Letter to SNP MPs from Trident Ploughshares in Scotland

Dear (SNP) MP

I am writing to you as an MP with a constituency in Scotland who shares our  uncompromising opposition to  the UK’s continued deployment and planned renewal of Trident .

I would like to engage your support for a new project that aims to institute acitizen’s prosecution,in English and Welsh courts, of the UK government and specifically the UK Secretary of State for Defence,for breaching international law by its active deployment of the Trident nuclear weapon system.

PICAT– A Public Interest Case Against Trident,is co-ordinated by Trident Ploughshares and involves 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 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. If consent for the case is not forthcoming from the Attorney General the campaign will then consider approaching the International Criminal Court.

The basis for the project are the provisions of Articles 51 of the FirstAdditional 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.

Although, at least for the time being, it is focussed on English and Welsh courts, the project has sharp relevance for Trident-opposing Scots. The movement for Scottish independence has already underlined the need for legal action against nuclear weapons in the form of a constitutional ban and engagement in the global ban campaign via the Humanitarian Pledge. In Scotland we are distressed at the democratic deficit that implicates us, entirely against our will, in a threat to commit a crime against humanity.  Our support for the project again also makes it clear that we want nuclear weapons out of the UK and the world, as well as out of Scotland.

Anyone, no matter where their main residence is, can take an active part in the project by joining an already existing PICAT group, or by forming one. There is also the possibility, as an individual or in a group, to only do the simple first step, that of seeking the assurance from the Secretary of State.

All the project facts are at www.picat.online

It would be a huge encouragement to the project if you were able to indicate your support via the brief statement below and include in a return email.

Best wishes


David Mackenzie

Trident Ploughshares

6/1 Glenallan Drive Edinburgh EH16 5QX  0131 281 8791


I fully support the aim of the PICAT project to ask the courts to address the legality of the UK’s Trident nuclear weapon system.

MP                               Date