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Petition, counter petition in nuclear arms suit due at World Court

January 12, 2015 - NETHERLANDS

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague has given the Marshall Islands until the January date to file a petition in its nuclear-arms lawsuit.

The Pacific nation claims the nine nuclear-armed states have failed to move toward disarmament, as required by the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and accuses them of violations of international law. Nuclear-armed Pakistan was given the same deadline to file its petition challenging the ICJ jurisdiction.A related ICJ deadline falls in June, 2015.

The Pacific nation has filed a parallel lawsuit against the United States, one of the nine nuclear-armed states. The United States used the Marshall Islands, then US territory, as a nuclear testing ground from 1946 to 1962. The Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference in May 2015 adds high visibility to the lawsuits.
Sixty-eight advocates of disarmament and human rights from 22 nations, including two Nobel Peace Prize winners, endorsed the parallel lawsuits in an open letter to the islands' government and its people.

The other seven nuclear armed nations are Russia, United Kingdom, France, China, India, North Korea and Israel. Four of the nine are not party to the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, but the lawsuits charge that they are violating international customary law.

Marshall Islands Nuclear Lawsuit Reopens Old Wounds (Newsweek 1 Aug 2014)

Marshall Islands nuke suit against U.S. gets Nobel winners' support (SF Gate 16 Oct 2014)

Obligations concerning Negotiations relating to Cessation of the Nuclear Arms Race and to Nuclear Disarmament -Marshall Islands v. Pakistan - IJC

Date written/update: 2014-11-03