25 April 2014
The Marshall Islands files ‘unprecedented’ lawsuit against nuclear-armed states in the ICJ
On 24 April, the Republic of the Marshall Islands filed lawsuits in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against nine nuclear-armed states (the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea) for violations of international law regarding nuclear disarmament obligations according to the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and customary international law. Under Article VI of the NPT, states are required to pursue negotiations ‘in good faith’ on nuclear disarmament and ending the nuclear arms race, of which the nuclear-armed states continue to ignore. While the original five nuclear-armed states are parties to the NPT (US, Russia, Britain, France, and China), the newer nuclear-armed states (Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea) are not parties to the NPT. However, these states are still bound by the nuclear disarmament provisions under customary international law.
The Marshall Islands do not seek compensation from the lawsuits, but rather seek declaratory and injunctive relief which would require the nine nuclear-armed states to come into compliance with their obligations. However, only three of the nine states (UK, India, and Pakistan) accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ, provided that the opposing state has also done so, which the Marshall Islands has. With regard to the other six states, the Marshall Islands calls on them to accept the jurisdiction of the ICJ for this case. Additionally, a related lawsuit was filed against the US in US Federal District Court in San Francisco.
See for a SHARES blog written on this topic here.
Source: The Guardian | Marshall Islands sues nine nuclear powers over failure to disarm
Source: The Wall Street Journal | Marshall Islands Sues Nine Nuclear-Armed Powers
Source: Nuclear Age Peace Foundation | Pacific nation challenges nine nuclear-armed states in lawsuits before the world court