Hot off the presses from Courthouse News Service is news of today’s appelate court ruling on the Disarm Now Plowshares appeal of their conviction for the 2009 Plowshares action at the Bangor Trident submarine base. As usual, U.S. “law” (protecting government property) trumps the Hague Convention, Nuremberg Principles, the laws of war, every precept of international humanitarian law and pretty much every treaty to which the U.S. is a party. Why??? Because we say so!!!
Convictions Upheld for Protesting Priests, Nun
by Tim Hull, Courthouse News Service, April 13, 2012
The 1907 Hague Convention does not override federal laws against trespassing and destroying government property, the 9th Circuit ruled Friday, affirming the convictions of two Catholic priests and an 80-year-old nun for breaking into a Naval base.
Marines arrested Father Stephen Kelly, Father William Bichsel, Sister Anne Montgomery and others in 2009 after they cut through two fences and gained access to a secure section of U.S. Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor near Seattle. Longtime nuclear disarmament activists, the group was there to protest the base’s purported housing of submarines carrying nuclear Trident missiles. Inside the base, the group spread simulated blood on fences and brandished a banner that read, “Plowshares – Trident Illegal and Immoral.”
Charged in Tacoma, Wash., with criminal trespassing and destruction of property, the activists argued for dismissal based on their theory that international law, specifically the 1907 Hague Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land and its Annex, required it. A jury convicted on all counts.
The same argument fared no better on appeal. A panel of three 9th Circuit judges affirmed the District Court unanimously on Friday in Seattle.
Even if the the Hague Convention had “domestic legal effect”, it would at best be on equal footing with federal law, the panel found.
“In the end, Congress has decided to protect the property of the United States,” wrote U.S. District Judge James Gwin for the panel, sitting by designation from the Northern District of Ohio. “The Hague Convention neither conflicts with nor supersedes those statutes. The district court properly refused to dismiss the indictment.”