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Nuclear Resister Cites Nuremberg Principles in Court

In court, Siptroth cited and explained the Nuremberg Principles, stating that they have had an important impact on him both because he is Jewish and was, as a youngster, profoundly affected by the film "Judgment at Nuremberg."

Michael Siptroth arrest
Michael Siptroth arrest photo:

(SEATTLE) - An anti-nuclear weapons activist appeared in a Kitsap County Courtroom to apply the Nuremberg Principles in defense of his recent protest at a US Navy "Trident" ballistic missile submarine base.

Michael Siptroth appeared in Kitsap County District Court March 7, 2014 before Judge Marilyn Paja at a mitigation hearing involving the ticket he received for blocking traffic at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor during Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action's Martin Luther King Jr. event on January 18, 2014.

Siptroth participated in a vigil and nonviolent direct action at the Bangor Main Gate in which some of the participants blocked the entrance roadway in an act of symbolic closure of the base, which represents the largest concentration of operational nuclear weapons in the US arsenal. He entered the roadway and was escorted off by Washington State Patrol Officers. He was cited for "Pedestrian in Roadway Illegally", a traffic violation, and released.

In court, Siptroth cited and explained the Nuremberg Principles, stating that they have had an important impact on him both because he is Jewish and was, as a youngster, profoundly affected by the film "Judgment at Nuremberg." He stated that the principles oblige citizens to disobey government orders preparing for, or engaging in, wars of aggression or in violation of international treaties, causing wanton destruction of cities, towns and villages, and that complicity in such crimes against humanity is a crime under international law. Thus we are compelled to act to prevent such crimes from taking place.

Judge Paja listened carefully, acknowledged Siptroth's deeply held beliefs, and said in effect that the only issues before the court were those of public safety, and since he had admitted the violation of the traffic charge, she found him guilty, but would reduce his fine to $20.

Siptroth then informed the court "I respectfully decline that because I didn't come for that purpose, but with the hope that the judiciary would finally uphold the higher international laws which prohibit the planning for, production of, and use of nuclear weapons which would cause great loss of life and destruction of property, not just the small violation of being in the roadway." The judge said she had made the Principles a part of the record in this case.

After the hearing but while court was still in session Siptroth again addressed the judge asking what it would take to get the court to accept the Nuremberg defense, explaining that if he had asked for a contested hearing, the court would not allow its discussion. Judge Paja told him that this was an issue he needed to discuss with legal counsel.

Siptroth is an active participant in Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, which holds three scheduled vigils and actions each year in resistance to Trident and in protest of U.S. nuclear weapons policy. The group is currently engaged in legal action to stop construction of a Second Explosives Handling Wharf at Bangor as well as a campaign to de-fund the Navy’s plans for a next generation ballistic missile submarine, estimated to cost up to $100 billion to build.

For over thirty-six years Ground Zero has engaged in education, training in nonviolence, community building, resistance against Trident and action toward a world without nuclear weapons.

Contact:  Leonard Eiger

                   Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action



                   (425) 445-2190




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