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Former International Court of Justice Judge to Speak on "The Court's Role in the Nuclear Age," Apr. 16


International Court of Justice Judge Christopher Weeramantry, ret., will give the keynote address for the Yale Journal of International Law Young Scholars' Conference on April 16. The speech is entitled, "The International Court of Justice: A Vision for the New Century and the Court's Role in the Nuclear Age." It will run from 1:15-2:15 p.m. in Room 127, and is open to the public.

Judge Weeramantry is perhaps best known for his long, impassioned dissent to the Court's decision in the Case Concerning the Illegality of Nuclear Weapons, beginning with the statement, "My considered opinion is that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is illegal in any circumstances whatsoever."

In his recent book Armageddon or Brave New World? Judge Weeramantry wrote that the U.S. invasion of Iraq would be unconstitutional, violate ten principles of the U.N. charter, and be morally indefensible.

Judge Weeramantry is speaking in several Northeast states in advance of the review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty taking place at the UN in May. The Judge is President of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms and founder of the Weeramantry International Centre for Peace, Education and Research, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

C. G Weeramantry was a Judge of the International Court of Justice from 1991 to 2000 and Vice-President of the Court from 1997 to 2000. While on the Court he wrote numerous judgments seeking to advance the frontiers of international law and make it more multi-cultural and future-oriented. These judgments have profoundly impacted the content and direction of international law.

Prior to joining the Court, Judge Weeramantry was a Justice of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, a Professor of Law in Australia, and chaired the Commission of Inquiry on international responsibility for damage from phosphate mining on the island of Nauru. The Commission's Report led to the first claim before the International Court of Justice by a dependent territory seeking compensation for damage done to it during occupation by a trustee power.

Apart from treatises on law, Judge Weeramantry has written extensively in twenty books and over a hundred articles on such matters as apartheid, the impact of the world's religions on law and human rights, the impact of technology on human rights, third world legal problems and the philosophy of law.

Judge Weeramantry chaired the committee that drafted the Bangalore Principals of Judicial Conduct by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 2003. The principles aim to strengthen and enhance judicial independence, integrity and accountability around the world.

Judge Weeramantry visits New Haven through the efforts of the Yale Journal of International Law, the Greater New Haven Peace Council, the Quinnipiac School of Law International Law Society, and the University of Connecticut Law School.