One of our members is David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. He
is hard at work on an initiative dealing with nuclear weapons--a matter of special interest to the
international legal community because of the treaty discussed below and the pending case filed by
the World Health Organization in the International Court of Justice. His submission is worthy of
being shared with the UNDIG members at large, and is an example of what individual initiatives
can do or seek to accomplish.
There are three parts to what I will loosely refer to as the op-ed column which follows: (1)
a Statement involving nuclear weapons; (2) David's "Article 26" support for his foundation's
objective to reduce the risk of using nuclear weapons; and (3) his related letter to the Institute for
The decisions of the delegates to the NPT Review and Extension Conference will
powerfully influence the future of global security and must be taken with a sense of moral urgency
and responsibility to humanity.
A secure and livable world for our children and grandchildren and all future generations
requires that we achieve a world free of nuclear weapons and redress the environmental
degradation and human suffering that is the legacy of fifty years of nuclear weapons testing and
Further, the inextricable link between the "peaceful" and warlike uses of nuclear
technologies and the threat to future generations inherent in creation and use of long-lived
radioactive materials must be recognized. We must move toward reliance on clean, safe,
renewable forms of energy production that do not provide the materials for weapons of mass
destruction and do not poison the environment for thousands of centuries. The true "inalienable"
right is not to nuclear energy, but to life, liberty and security of person in a world free of nuclear
We recognize that a nuclear weapons free world must be achieved carefully and in a step
by step manner. We are convinced of its technological feasibility. Lack of political will,
especially on the part of the nuclear weapons states, is the only true barrier. As chemical and
biological weapons are prohibited, so must nuclear weapons be prohibited.
We call upon all states -- particularly the nuclear weapons states, declared and de facto --
to take the following steps to achieve nuclear weapons abolition. We further urge the states
parties to the NPT to demand binding commitments by the declared nuclear weapons states to
implement these measures and to incorporate the commitments into the final report of the
1) Initiate in 1995 and conclude by the year 2000 negotiations on a nuclear weapons abolition convention that requires the phased elimination of all nuclear weapons within a timebound framework, with provisions for effective verification and enforcement.
2) Immediately make an unconditional pledge not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons.
3) Rapidly complete truly comprehensive test ban treaty with a zero threshold and with the stated purpose of precluding nuclear weapons development by all states.
4) Cease to produce and deploy new and additional nuclear weapons systems, and commence to withdraw and disable deployed nuclear weapons systems.
5) Prohibit the military and commercial production and reprocessing of all weapons-usable radioactive materials.
6) Subject all weapons-usable radioactive materials and nuclear facilities in all states to international accounting, monitoring, and safeguards, and establish a public international registry of all weapons-usable radioactive materials.
7) Prohibit nuclear weapons research, design development, and testing through laboratory experiments including but not limited to non-nuclear hydrodynamic explosions and computer simulations, subject all nuclear weapons laboratories to international monitoring, and close all nuclear test sites.
8) Create additional nuclear weapons free zones such as those established by the treaties of Tlatelolco and Raratonga.
9) Recognize and declare the illegality of threat or use of nuclear weapons, publicly and before the World Court.
10) Establish an international energy agency to promote and support the development of sustainable and environmentally safe energy sources.
11) Create mechanisms to ensure the participation of citizens and NGOs in planning and monitoring the process of nuclear weapons abolition.
A world free of nuclear weapons is a shared aspiration of humanity. This goal cannot be
achieved in a non-proliferation regime that authorizes the possession of nuclear weapons by a
small group of states. Our common security requires the complete elimination of nuclear
weapons. We oppose the indefinite and unconditional extension of the NPT. Our objective is
definite and unconditional abolition of nuclear weapons.
*The convention should mandate irreversible disarmament measures, including but not limited to the following: withdraw and disable all deployed nuclear weapons
systems; disable and dismantle warheads; place warheads and weapons-usable radioactive materials under international safeguards; destroy ballistic missiles and other
delivery systems. The convention could also incorporate the measures listed above which should be implemented independently without delay. When fully
implemented, the convention would replace the NPT.
This statement is endorsed by members of the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)
Abolition Caucus and other groups listed on the attachment.
For further information, contact Jacqueline Cabasso, Pamela Meidell, or Alice Slater at (212) 768-2080, or at Conference Room A at the United
Nations, or Selma Brackman at (212) 777-4210 and email@example.com.
For further information, contact Jacqueline Cabasso, Pamela Meidell, or Alice Slater at (212) 768-2080, or at Conference Room A at the United Nations, or Selma Brackman at (212) 777-4210 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Of the 5.6 billion people on Earth, there are probably very few who are familiar
with the United Nations Charter. Of those who have some knowledge of the Charter, there are
certainly even fewer who are familiar with Article 26. In this 50th anniversary year of the United
Nations, there is more attention being focused on the strengths and weaknesses of the global
organization. Article 26 deserves consideration in this context.
Article 26 states: "In order to promote the establishment and maintenance of international
peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the world's human and economic
resources, the Security Council shall be responsible for formulating, with the assistance of the
Military Staff Committee referred to in Article 47, plans to be submitted to the members of the
United Nations for the establishment of a system for the regulation of armaments."
The language of Article 26 is simple and straight forward. It is not possible to mistake the
intent of its directive. The Security Council is given the responsibility for "formulating. . .a
system for the regulation of armaments." The United Nations Charter was agreed to 50 years
ago. In that period of time the Security Council has failed to carry out this responsibility to the
members of the United Nations and through them to the people of the world. In 50 years the
Security Council has done exactly nothing to fulfill its Article 26 obligation.
Article 26 does not make the formulation of a plan for the regulation of armaments
optional for the Security Council. It says that the Security Council "shall" formulate such a plan.
The Members of the Security Council have thus breached a solemn duty to the people of the
world. Since the non-permanent members of the Security Council rotate at two year intervals,
they cannot be held primarily responsible for failing to meet this obligation. It is the five
permanent members of the Security Council - the United States, Russia, UK, France and China -
that have been in violation of their Article 26 obligation for 50 years.
The reason that the permanent members of the Security Council have been remiss in
fulfilling their obligation under Article 26 is not difficult to identify. It is these states that have
been the greatest developers, producers, promoters, and sellers of arms. They have profited
enormously by the sale of arms throughout the world, and they continue to do so. To fulfill their
Article 26 obligation by formulating plans for the regulation of armaments would disadvantage
them economically. Their behavior provides clear evidence that they would prefer to promote
rather than regulate armaments.
The Military Staff Committee referred to in Article 26 is described in Article 27 as being
composed of "the Chiefs of Staff of the permanent members of the Security Council or their
representatives." The purpose of the Military Staff Committee is "to advise and assist the
Security Council on all questions relating to the Security Council's military requirements for the
maintenance of international peace and security, the employment and command of forces placed at
its disposal, the regulation of armaments, and possible disarmament."
The Military Staff Committee is also in breach of its obligation to "advise and assist" the
Security Council in carrying out its Article 26 responsibility for formulating plans for the
regulation of armaments. Since the Military Staff Committee is composed of representatives of
the military forces of the five permanent members of the Security Council, their breach of duty is a
further violation of the duty of the five permanent members.
The United Nations Charter lists as its first purpose to "maintain international peace and
security," and gives the primary responsibility for carrying out this purpose to the Security
Council. When the Security Council fails in meeting its responsibilities, including its responsibility
under Article 26, it is the people of the world who suffer. The failure to formulate plans for the
regulations of arms under Article 26 has left the world awash in dangerous arms that take their
toll daily against not only opposing military forces but innocent civilians as well.
When a nation signs the United Nations Charter it enters into a solemn treaty obligation.
In essence, it makes a contract that it agrees to be bound by. While the five permanent members
of the Security Council do have special privileges under the Charter, they do not have the
privilege of violating the Charter with impunity. When they violate the provisions of the Charter,
as they have done by failing to meet their obligations under Article 26, they are in violation of
international law. In simple terms, they have broken the law. Each day that passes without the
formulation of plans by the Security Council for the regulation of armaments is an additional day
of illegality for the permanent members.
For 50 years the permanent members of the Security Council have flaunted their illegality
with respect to Article 26. They continue to develop, manufacture, promote, and sell armaments
of all levels of sophistication throughout the world. They daily demonstrate by their actions and
omissions their lack of respect for the law and for their solemn obligations. Day in and day out
they place economic benefit and military power ahead of their legal obligations.
Article 26 stands in silent testimony to the lawlessness of the five permanent members of
the Security Council. Article 26 reminds those of us who know of its existence of the disgraceful
behavior of the most powerful nations on Earth in failing to meet their legal obligations under the
Charter and, in doing so, setting themselves above the law.
Under the United States Constitution, treaty law is the law of the land. When the United
States government signs and ratifies a treaty, it becomes bound by its provisions, and the
obligations become part of United States law. Thus, in our continuing failure to meet our
obligations under Article 26, the United States government is in violation not only of the United
Nations Charter but of U.S. law. The buck stops with the president of the United States and the
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. By their failure to even attempt to formulate a plan with the
other members of the Security Council, they demonstrate daily contempt for the law, both
international and domestic.
For those who attack the United Nations for its shortcomings, of which there are all too
many, Article 26 should be a powerful reminder that the United Nations can succeed only if the
nations that make up its membership live up to their legal duties under the Charter. When nations
fail to do so and threaten international peace and security, it is the Security County with the
advise and assistance of the Military Staff Committee that is charged with preserving the peace.
When the permanent members of the Security Council fail to meet their obligations to the
United Nations, it is the General Assembly that must call them to account. If the General
Assembly fails to act, it is the people of the world who must step forward and demand that the
permanent members of the Security Council fulfill their obligations. A particular responsibility
rests with the people of the nations that have permanent seats on the Security Council to call their
governments to account and demand that they fulfill their legal obligation to formulate a system
for the regulation of armaments under Article 26.
First, I think that the potential process of involving NGOs
from throughout the world in planning for a third International
Peace Conference in 1999 could be as important as the outcome of
that conference (perhaps more important than the outcome, if we
are to judge by the outcome of the recent NPT Review and
Extension Conference). Thus, I encourage you to place some
emphasis on the process of networking and engaging individuals
and citizens groups throughout the world with the aim of
generating ideas for implementation at a third International
Second, I suggest that the 1999 conference accomplish these
1. The Conclusion of an International Treaty on Comprehensive Nuclear Disarmament in which al states agree to eliminate and prohibit nuclear weapons within a time-bound framework (preferably not later than the year 2020). This would be in keeping with the commitment at the NPT Review and Extension Conference to "progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goal of eliminating those weapons. . . ." We should enter the 21st century with all states committed by treaty to creating a nuclear weapons free world within a reasonable period of time.
2. The conclusion of an international treaty "for the establishment of a system for the regulation of armaments" pursuant to Security Council obligations under Article 26 of the United Nations Charter. I believe that the draft conventions prepared by Saul Mendlovitz and yourself could be put forward for Security Council approval pursuant to the Article 26 obligations (see attached article on Article 26).
3. Agreement on a strengthened system for resolving international disputes, including mandatory international mediation or arbitration and compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice when disputes cannot be resolved by mediation or arbitration within a reasonable period of time.
4. The establishment of a permanent International Criminal Court, providing for individual accountability for crimes against peace (aggression), genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, serious abuses of human rights, and crimes against the environment.
The above four areas would be my choices for focus for the 1999 International Peace Conference. In promoting these international agreements, emphasis should be placed upon the fact that this conference will be the last opportunity to enter the 21st century committed to a world without nuclear weapons, to the regulation and control of all armaments as provided for in Article 26 of the United Nations Charter, to a sensible and meaningful system of international dispute resolution, and to the application of individual accountability for international crimes as set forth in the Nuremberg Principles.
In case you haven't already seen it, I enclose a copy of the NGO Abolition Caucus Statement prepared at the NPT Review and Extension Conference. The NGO Abolition Caucus was in my opinion the most energetic and brightest spot of an otherwise dull-witted and disappointing conference. I also want to let you know that our Foundation, along with the Fourth Freedom Forum and IPPNW, is sponsoring a Center for Defense Information video on nuclear weapons abolition which should be ready in a few weeks.
/s/ David Krieger
Copyright 1997 American Society of International Law