Listened to Hans Blix speaking last night at the faculty of law in Cambridge. Fairly dry matter-of-fact talk on the history and practice of weapons inspections & treaty verifications as an international law subject, from Victorian exploding bullets and dum-dums, via nuclear test bans and proliferation treaties to … well you know what.
In summary “It is just not possible to prove a negative. You cannot verify intentions. A doctor cannot give you a clean bill of future health. Uncertainty, who gets the benefit of any doubt, is entirely discretionary and political. It’s all If this is …, then that may … So-called facts always need critical thinking to interpret. Few, if any, hard facts.”
What, with Kyoto and world trade treaties, as well as security threats, there will be no shortage of verification work for international lawyers in the foreseeable future. Blix is a Cambridge (Selwyn ?) old-boy, his original tutor was in the audience.
Alex has recordings of all three lectures here [link dead Alex].
[Post Note 27 Aug 2013 – at the time it was Saddam’s “WMD” in Iraq which included chemical weapons. Interesting to hear Blix talking recently on the Syrian case.]