The World Court Opinion at 15

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Jun 6, 2011 1 Comment ›› orepa

Sunday July 10: Public Reading of the Court’s Opinion.

“The threat or use of nuclear weapons wold generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law.”


With those words, the International Court of Justice rendered its opinion on July 8, 1996; the court also ruled, unanimously, that “there exists an obligation to pursue and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.”


OREPA will mark the fifteenth anniversary of the World Court’s landmark decision with a public reading of the opinion on Sunday, July 10, 2011 on the front lawn of the University of Tennessee Law School. The reading will begin at 1:00pm and should be concluded about three hours later.


This is the sixth year OREPA members have held a public reading of the opinion to mark the anniversary. Initially, we thought we would have one reading, on the tenth anniversary; we anticipated three hours of dry legalese. But at the conclusion of that first reading, the verdict was unanimous—the arguments so carefully laid out by the court proved to be compelling reading, at times even inspiring.


Everyone is welcome to join us for the reading. If you are interested in reading a portion of the opinion, you can contact OREPA’s coordinator, Ralph Hutchison, at 865 776 5050 or leave an email comment on the web site. Be sure you let us know how best to contact you.


  1. John C. Bro says:

    My family has been involved with serious social issues as far back as I can remember, as many are professional theologians. My path was cut short by debilitating mental illness, so I have remained on the sidelines of political activism. This does not mean that I do not share a common responsibility to preserve our precious home, the Earth. It is difficult to determine if the computerization of government databases for known conscientious objectors will work for, or against, the right of peacable assembly. Information in society as an objective resource is at a premium. If the average person does not know what sources of information can be trusted without contradiction, the result is to force an educated guess scenario. The confusion generated by the government agencies over the accuracy of truthful information is the hallmark of those seeking to perpetuate a status quo that is decimating the Earth’s resources, and pushing society towards nuclear exchange conditions. Climate change has been called a clear and present danger to civilization itself, and is most likely the fear factor that most people do not know how to approach. Society is approaching the point where time is limited to ward off imminent damage to the planet itself, and the ability to provide for the population of the entire human race. If the distance between science and theology in the general public cannot be healed, the price will be paid in billions of lives. I would like to see if there are politicians willing to openly assume that responsibility.

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