A new organization of scientists, lawyers and human rights activists has asked the United Nations (UN) to enlist the World Court in a bid to block human cloning. The move, announced Wednesday (October 8), is an attempt to revive an international drive to ban human cloning that stalled when recent talks on a global anticloning convention deadlocked.

The group, known as the Human Cloning Policy Institute, wrote UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan asking that the UN General Assembly seek a World Court advisory opinion declaring cloning a crime against humanity. The court is “the ultimate international legal authority,” Bernard Siegel, the group's executive director, told The Scientist. Although the court's opinion isn't binding, it would pressure would-be cloners and encourage national anticloning legislation, he said. The court, formally known as the International Court of Justice, is based in The Hague in the Netherlands.

Siegel, a Coral Gables, Fla.–based...

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