From the United States peace delegation to Germany, July 2018
We feel an overwhelming responsibility to warn you of the unlawful nature of your work in support of the mission of Büchel Air Base, i.e., preparations for nuclear war.
It is likely that your superior officers have inadequately informed you of the legal implications of your work here. Participation by individual military or civilian personnel in actions they know to be or could assume to be unlawful cannot be justified by citing superior orders.
The endorsement by the United States and Germany of the Geneva Conventions, Air Force Service Manuals, and the Nuremberg Principles make the refusal of unlawful orders a legal obligation. Taken together, the Constitution of the United States, the Nuremberg Principles, the Geneva Conventions, and your military service manual(s) prohibit citizens or military personnel from cooperating with policies they know to be unlawful. Furthermore, U.S. and German judges are competent and responsible to restrain the execution of internationally outlawed government policy.
In the August 31, 1987 Draft Report on the Principles of International Law and Nuclear Weapons, the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy warned that: “The threat to use nuclear weapons constitutes ongoing international criminal activity: namely, planning, preparation, and conspiracy to commit crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide, as well as grave breaches of the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949, Additional Protocol I of 1977, and the Hague Regulations of 1907…”
With the U.S. Constitution’s “Supremacy Clause” and expert legal advice in mind, we hereby warn and appeal to the men and women of Büchel Air Base to stop participating in the perpetuation of crimes against peace, crimes against humanity and war crimes, as detailed in the following international legal prohibitions; and we urge you to end your personal participation in the U.S. and German governments’ unlawful nuclear war planning.
1. Relevant Law
• U.S. Constitution, Article VI, Set. II, “the supremacy clause”: “All treaties … shall be the supreme law of the land, and every judge in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution of the laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”
• The 1949 Geneva Conventions¬ on the laws of war prohibit reprisals, as do the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice, the Army field manual The Law of War, the U.S. Law of Naval Warfare, and U.S. Air Force policies on International law: The Conduct of Armed Conflict and Air Operations.
• Nuremberg Principle One: “Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefore and liable to punishment.”
• UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, July 7, 2017: Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances to:
(a) Develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices;
(b) Transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly or indirectly;
(c) Receive the transfer of or control over nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices directly or indirectly;
(d) Use or threaten to use nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices;
(e) Assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Treaty;
(f) Seek or receive any assistance, in any way, from anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Treaty;
(g) Allow any stationing, installation or deployment of any nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices in its territory or at any place under its jurisdiction or control.
2. Crimes Under Provisions of the Nuremberg Principles “For Which There Shall Be Individual Responsibility”:
• Article VI: “Crimes against Peace: namely, planning, preparation, initiation, or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements, or assurances.”
• Article VIII: “The fact that the Defendant acted pursuant to order of his government or responsible officials in Government Departments shall hot be considered as freeing them from responsibility…”
• Article IX: “At the trial of any individual member of any group or organization the Tribunal may declare that the group or organization of which the individual was a member was a criminal organization.”
3. Crimes Under Treaties, Pacts, Protocols, Charters, Conventions
• The 1868 Declaration of St. Petersburg limits all warfare to military forces alone.
• The 1899 Hague Regulations which especially prohibit the employment of poison or poisoned arms, the killing or wounding treacherously of individuals belonging to the hostile nation or army, and the employment of arms, projectiles, or materials of a nature to cause superfluous injury.
• The 1925 Geneva Gas Protocol which prohibits the use of poisonous or other gasses, and of all analogous liquids, materials or devices.
• The 1928 Kellog-Briand Pact which condemned and renounced recourse to war as an instrument of national policy.
• The 1948 Convention of the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide which criminalizes all “conspiracy to commit genocide” against a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.
• The 1968 Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) at Article I prohibits the transfer of nuclear weapons to other states, and at Article II prohibits the reception of nuclear weapons from other states. So-call “nuclear sharing” agreement by which Germany receives, deploys and trains to use U.S. B61 hydrogen bombs is an open violation of this Treaty by both countries who are both signatories to the NPT.
4. Violation of natural law and religious teachings
The threatened use of nuclear weapons violates Natural Law by putting at risk the entire living ecosystem, the genetic heritage of planet Earth, and the very existence of the human race. Hundreds of religious leaders have proclaimed that nuclear weapons are inherently immoral and that planning for their use violates religious laws against premeditated murder. For example:
Archbishop Desmond Tutu said May 22, 2010: “Nuclear abolition is the democratic wish of the world’s people, and has been our goal almost since the dawn of the atomic age.”
Pope Benedict XIV said Jan. 1, 2010: “[O]ne can only encourage the efforts of the international community to ensure progressive disarmament and a world free of nuclear weapons, whose presence alone threatens the life of the planet and the ongoing integral development of the present generation and of generations yet to come.”
Nuremberg Tribunal Judgment, Oct. 1, 1946, in which the court, upon trying German civilians and military personal, found:
• “International law, as such, binds every citizen, just as does ordinary municipal law. Acts adjudged criminal when done by an officer of the government are criminal when done by a private individual.”
• “The activities with which the accused were charged were commercial transactions conducted by civilians…. Any civilian who is an accessory to a violation of the laws and customs of war is himself also liable as a war criminal.”
• “The fact that a person acts pursuant to order of his government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact available for him.”
• “The laws and customs of war are addressed to anybody who is in a position to assist in their violation.”
We understand our duty to obey the U.S. Constitution, Nuremberg Law, and German and U.S. statues which taken together require that we act to prevent unlawful government actions conducted in our names, even war crimes, before the fact.
As an act of conscientious objection to nuclear war preparations, and as an act of crime prevention and responsible citizenship, we are here peacefully resisting the unlawful conspiracy by the United States and German Air Forces to commit massacres using nuclear weapons. We are here on behalf of all those who are unaware of the threat that such planning poses to life and liberty, who are unaware of the binding legal prohibitions that outlaw planning for nuclear war, or who feel powerless to take effective action against the Büchel Air Base’s illegal nuclear war planning and preparations.
We call upon all men and women of good faith to join us in the endeavor to prevent and ban the use or threatened use of nuclear weapons, to participate in nonviolent public resistance to nuclear war planning, and pursue the abolition of all nuclear weapons.