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While anti-nuclear protestors make their voices heard at the Commonwealth Heads of government meeting in New Zealand, the New Zealand government is making its anger at French nuclear testing felt further afield.

At the International Court of Justice in The Hague, New Zealand Attorney-General Paul East has called for the outlawing of not only the use of nuclear weapons, but even the very threat they might be used.

The International Court of Justice is being asked to give its opinion on the legality of the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.

Anti-nuclear campaigners outside the court make their views perfectly clear.

A small group travelled from New Zealand to support their government’s position, and ensure they’re not ignored.

I think in terms of the size of the population, we’ve made a very big noise internationally, and especially on this issue.
To have three (m) million people speaking as loudly as we do on this issue – I think we’re heard.

SUPER CAPTION: Kate Dewes, New Zealand Foundation for Peace Studies

Having failed to persuade the Court to halt French testing two months ago, the New Zealand delegation is now trying to build the pressure on France to stop voluntarily.

South Pacific countries have had to put up with nuclear testing for far too long. They have made it plain, at various meetings in the region and in international fora, that the latest series of French nuclear tests is unacceptable.
These tests, and France’s refusal to stop them forthwith, have only reinforced in out mind that the international community must turn up the pressure on nuclear weapons.
Put simply, the World must now be rid of them.

SUPER CAPTION: Paul East, New Zealand Attorney-General

The Attorney-General argues the use or threat of nuclear weapons is not only a breach of humanitarian law, but also violates existing nuclear disarmament treaties.

He see’s a declaration of illegality by the Court as a powerful lever towards a nuclear free world.

New Zealand believes that the threat or use of nuclear weapons should be illegal. The Court should, in our view, reach a decision to that effect.
Such a declaration of illegality would serve as a powerful further step to the elimination of nuclear weapons. there are huge numbers of these weapons. We cannot wish them away. Only the countries that have them can get rid of them.

SUPER CAPTION: Paul East, New Zealand Attorney-General

Three nuclear powers, Britain, Russia and the United States are to address the Court in the coming days.

They’re all expected to argue the deterrent value of nuclear weapons, just as the French have done to justify testing.

China, the fifth declared nuclear power is not participating in the hearings.

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