9:00 a.m. February 12, 1985
World citizen Garry Davis cites presidents Reagan and Chernenko as "international felons" in petition to the international court of justice at The Hague
Sorrento, Maine, February 12:-In a petition filed today with the International Court of Justice at the Hague, stateless World Citizen Garry Davis accuses Presidents Reagan and Chernenko as "war criminals" in violation of the Nuremberg Principles.
The petition, prepared by Davis personally claims the right of the individual to be treated as a subject of international law as were the Nazi and Japanese defendants in both the Nuremberg trials and the International Tribunal of the Far East following World War II.
It makes the case of the individual confronted with the "nuclear gun" posed literally at him by both national leaders. The former World War II bomber pilot exposes the illogic of "national security" given the totality of the nuclear threat.
The petition further condemns the so-called arms race as "illegal" given international law, with both himself and the accused liable for "war crimes," "crimes against humanity," and "crimes against the peace," defined by the Nuremberg Principles. Both President Reagan and Chernenko, the petition avers, are "international felons" in threatening him with nuclear weapons. The threat itself is a "crime," Davis claims, since if the weapons are used, he, the petitioner, would be dead therefore unable to sue.
"If the use of nuclear weapons, given their potential for total destruction, is illegal," Davis said today, "then the threat of their use is equally illegal."
Davis, a declared candidate for World President, seeks from the World Court a writ of "international habits corpus" which will permit him to present his case before the Court. As justification, he cites article 6 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law."
It also asks for a "declaratory injunction" directed to the two superpower presidents to stop the so-called arms race and implement article 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which claims that everyone is entitled to a "social and international order" in which the rights define by the Declaration "can be fully realized."
"The price of world peace is exclusive nationalism," Davis said. "The condition for world peace is enforceable world law," he added.
Davis, who has been excluded from entering the United States since 1977, is a citizen of no nation since 1948 when he renounced his United States nationality and declared himself a world citizen. In 1953 he founded the World Government of World Citizens. In his petition, he claims the right to be a litigant to the ICJ under article 38 of the Court's statute.
The International Court of Justice, however, presumably cannot accept petitions by individuals. Therefore, on the face of it, the World Citizen's petition can be rejected without even examining its arguments.
However, its rejection in this novel and unprecedented case would present the Court with a legal paradox. As a stateless person, legally non-existent in any nation, Davis' only legal status is within the framework of "international law." Even the 1962 Convention Relative to the Status of Stateless Persons, which entered into force June 6, 1960, sanctions the international character of the stateless person. It states in Chapter I, art. 1(2) that "This Convention shall not apply: (iii) to persons with respect to whom there are serious reasons for considering that: a) They have committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, as defined in the international instruments drawn up to make provision in respect of such crimes..." (Emphasis added.)
Also Davis claims that, should the Court reject his petition, it would in effect be condoning a condition of international anarchy between states, the very antithesis of "international law" It would therefore be rejecting both the Nuremberg Decisions and the subsequent trial which condemned the Nazis as "war criminals." The effect would be to reject both the concept and legal premise of international law and further accepting that law stops at national frontiers.
A further dilemma posed by the Davis petition deals with the principle of reciprocity. It claims that if the Nazi and Japanese war lords could be accused as individual war criminals, then reciprocally individuals must have the right to accuse today's war criminals.
In a statement from his home in Sorrento, Davis said that strengthening international law was one of the main purposes of his petition. "The individual is, after all, the victim of nationalistic wars," he said. "Either we must eliminate war from the human community or war will eliminate the human community. It is that simple. Neither Reagan nor Chernenko have any notion of how to eliminate war. They are negotiating with each other merely to reduce the weaponry of war. It is a farce and a travesty If preparation for war is criminal, then both are criminals. If international law exists, then it must condemn them as such. Let the judges sitting on the ICJ now be tested by one single individual. If they can protect my human rights, they can protect humanity's. If they can't, what are they there for?". Davis called on Mayor Dianne Weinstein Saturday to inform her of his extra-national status.