Noncooperation with and Resistance to Illegal Militarism and Wars are Legal under International and U.S. Constitutional Law (Nuremberg Principles)

February 1, 2005


1. A U.S. resident (“any person”) is prohibited from committing an act that is illegal under international law (Principle I), and therefore under U.S. Constitutional Law, even if commanded to do so by one’s superiors, including the President, provided a moral choice was in fact possible (Principle IV). One must disobey an illegal order or command.

2. The complement of the above is that individuals are responsible for obeying international law even if their government’s policies carried out by superiors are not so obeying.

3. Complicity is a crime (Principle VII), i.e., one is prohibited from participating in any act which knowingly furthers the crimes against peace, war crimes, or crimes against humanity under international law (Principle VI), & therefore under Constitutional law.


Thus, if a nation engages in an illegal overt or covert war, i.e., a crime against peace, or commits a war crime or crimes, or commits crimes against humanity, each of that nation’s citizens who is aware of such violation(s) is under obligation to disobey the command and refrain from participating in this illegal conduct.

Punishable under international law are crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity (Principle VI, a.,b.,c., the essence of the Nuremberg Principles). The plea of superior orders or demands of state is no defense (Principle IV).


If one chooses to refuse compliance with military orders to fight in or political laws to pay for an illegal war, the person is not breaking the law. Nor is that person simply obeying a higher law. The person is in fact obeying existing U.S. law.

The U.S. Law:

Resistance law is established in the “Law of Land Warfare” in the U.S. Army Field Manual, Secs. 498-511 (FM 27-10, July 18, 1956). The manual incorporates the Nuremberg Principles which apply to “any person, whether a member of the armed forces or a civilian.” Consequently, one is obligated to obey only lawful orders; to disobey unlawful orders.

It is further clarified as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, especially Articles 2.3 and 2.4 prohibiting member nations from using “force or threat of force,” a treaty ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1945, thereby intrinsically part of the “supreme law of the land” under Article VI, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution.

The Nuremberg Principles themselves are part of U.S. law, enunciated in the Executive Agreement the U.S. signed with the U.S.S.R., the United Kingdom, and France, August 8, 1945, and part of the U.N. International Law Commission as reformulated in 1950, and further set forth in the U.S. Army Field Manual (above).

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