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NZ initiated lawyers appeal presented to United Na

NZ initiated lawyers appeal presented to United Nations

Former World Court Judge delivers lawyers' statement condemning war to the United Nations

Judge Weeramantry, former Vice-President of the International Court of Justice and President of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, will today deliver an International Appeal by Lawyers and Jurists Against the 'Preventive' Use of Force signed by more than 300 prominent lawyers, law professors and jurists from 35 countries to members of the Security Council and General Assembly in New York.

The appeal was organized by Alyn Ware, a New Zealand consultant for IALANA, and gained the signatures in less than a week.

The appeal will be released publicly at a press conference in the United Nations at 11 am on Thursday February 13 (New York time). The press conference will also highlight an appeal organized by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War endorsed by over 800 doctors and health professionals which has been sent to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Press conference speakers will include Judge Christopher Weeramantry; Mr. Peter Weiss, president of the Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy; and Dr. Victor Sidel, past co-president, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) and distinguished University Professor of Social Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

According to the statement circulated by IALANA, use of force, by individual states or the Security Council, against Iraq to prevent future threats would be contrary to the UN Charter: "There is no precedent in international law for use of force as a preventive measure when there has been no actual or imminent attack.... The Security Council has never authorized force based on a potential, non-imminent threat of violence."

According to the IPPNW letter to Secretary-General Annan, "the civilian population of Iraq, still suffering from the consequences of the 1991 war and from the combined effects of sanctions and of Saddam's repressive policies, will be the primary victims of a new war. Our British affiliate, Medact, has estimated that the war could cause 48,000 to 261,000 deaths on all sides within the first three months, with another 200,000 longer term deaths from adverse health effects."

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