Marshall Islands sue Pakistan, India and Britain over nuclear weapons

Published: January 30, 2016


The tiny Marshall Islands will seek in March to persuade the UN’s highest court to take up a lawsuit against India, Pakistan and Britain which they accuse of failing to halt the nuclear arms race.

The International Court of Justice — founded in 1945 to rule on legal disputes between nations — announced late Friday dates for separate hearings for the three cases between March 7 to 16.

In the cases brought against India and Pakistan, the court will examine whether the tribunal based in The Hague is competent to hear the lawsuits.

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The hearing involving Britain will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.

A decision will be made at a later date as to whether the cases can proceed.

In 2014, the Marshall Islands — a Pacific Ocean territory with 55,000 people — accused nine countries of “not fulfilling their obligations with respect to the cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.”

They included China, Britain, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, and the United States.

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The government based in the Marshall Islands capital of Majuro said by not stopping the nuclear arms race, the countries continued to breach their obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) — even if the treaty has not been by signed by countries such as India and Pakistan.

The Marshall Islands had decided to sue the world’s nuclear heavyweights as “it has a particular awareness of the dire consequences of nuclear weapons,” it said.

Between 1946 and 1958 the United States conducted repeated nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands, Majuro’s representatives said in papers filed in court.

But the court only admitted three cases brought against Britain, India and Pakistan because they already recognised the ICJ’s authority.

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In March 2014, the Marshall Islands marked 60 years since the devastating hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll, that vapourised an island and exposed thousands in the surrounding area to radioactive fallout.

The 15-megaton test on March 1, 1954, was part of the intense Cold War nuclear arms race and 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Bikini Islanders have lived in exile since they were moved for the first weapons tests in 1946.

When US government scientists declared Bikini safe for resettlement, some residents were allowed to return in the early 1970s.

But they were removed again in 1978 after ingesting high levels of radiation from eating local foods grown on the former test site.

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The Marshall Islands Nuclear Claims Tribunal had awarded more than $2 billion in personal injury and land damage claims arising form the nuclear tests, but stopped paying after a $150 million US compensation fund was exhausted.

Eight of the nine countries originally targeted in the lawsuits have officially admitted to possessing a nuclear weapon. Israel has never acknowledged having one, but observers believe it is the sole nuclear-armed nation in the Middle East.

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Reader Comments (24)

  • Kaleem
    Jan 30, 2016 - 1:27PM

    Marshall Islands, a country with 55000 population? Seriously? Lahore’s Gulberg town is 15 times bigger with population of 855,000 #ChotiQoumChotiSoch Recommend

  • Rahul
    Jan 30, 2016 - 2:30PM

    Huh??? What??? Which island???Recommend

  • Jan 30, 2016 - 2:42PM

    sir, these nine nuclear armed nations are villain of peace. they are enemies of humanity.. immediately disarmament conference should be held and nuclear weapons should be sunk under the sea.. Particularly Pakistan and India should halt nuclear arms race.they should disarm their nuclear arsenal. Pakistan should stop cross border terrorism against India and Afghanistan All three countries should work for betterment of their aam admi and live with peace.Subcontinent has been fractured twice .No more fracture please.It brings sufferings to aam admi. please stop negative thinking of unfinished agenda of partition,Recommend

  • atom bomb
    Jan 30, 2016 - 4:39PM

    How jobless they are in those islands.Get something to do in life instead of suing these 3 countries.Recommend

  • Hammad
    Jan 30, 2016 - 6:10PM

    US and France have test multiple nukes on pacific islands not India and Pakistan dear

    now these 2 culprits will be set free while the countries such as Pak, India will face the music


  • waqas
    Jan 30, 2016 - 7:20PM

    Come on India, lets have a match, Lets test one on these Marhsall Islands to see which one’s more destructive :P #VellayLogeRecommend

  • Sane Khan
    Jan 30, 2016 - 8:48PM

    They are humans and have all the right to be concerned.Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Jan 30, 2016 - 8:54PM

    Finally something Pakistan and India can join hands on ! Target practice anyone ?Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Jan 30, 2016 - 9:38PM

    Sue India, Pakistan and Britain because U.S tested their nuclear weapons on Marshall Island??? Duh.Recommend

  • Shuaib
    Jan 30, 2016 - 10:18PM

    We need to withdraw from the ICT.Recommend

  • Sarfaraz Abbasi
    Jan 30, 2016 - 10:28PM

    Marshall Islands is the puppet of Israel. It often votes in favor of Israel at the UN Assembly against Palestine issues. It’s a mercenary state. Ask them why don’t they ask Israel to open its arsenal for inspection? Recommend

  • Sarfaraz Abbasi
    Jan 30, 2016 - 10:30PM

    It does not include the US because the US has been donating aids to it, and often threatens to stop aid if it does not support Israel at the UN.Recommend

  • Akbar
    Jan 30, 2016 - 10:33PM

    Yes. Marshall islands are right. Nukes should be banned in all countries including China/India/Pakistan. Nukes are a danger to the humanity as it cause additional global warming that could only bring misery & destruction.Recommend

  • swaabs
    Jan 31, 2016 - 12:42AM

    ram singh soni stop blaming pakistan all the time ok what about your Raw agency in kpk and balochistan Recommend

  • Kamal
    Jan 31, 2016 - 1:34AM

    Trump saga II:
    The arrogance, the stupidity, the sheer display of might is right by the US, of which Marshall islands were first the victims of Mike Ivy (a scientific nuclear blunder of underestimation which decimated life on the Island) and then Made MArshall Islands a puppet of the US. Now the same victims being asked to finger the three nations. Because if there was a country to be sued by Marshall Islands it was the US for the Mike Ivy nuclear test. Recommend

  • someone
    Jan 31, 2016 - 6:39AM

    @haji atiya and @ waqas,
    Target practice??? Crude joke. No wonder world does not think Pakistani nukes are safe.Recommend

  • Talha
    Jan 31, 2016 - 7:28AM

    @Ram Singh Soni:
    “Sir”? are you writing an application?
    Anyway, you are right about peace and everything else except exporting terrorism. It is and has always been ‘importing from’ and not ‘exporting to’. We ve received enough terrorism from India and from its bases in Afghanistan. I think we should do something about it soon. Our military is working on it, soon your funding will run out or will seem a sore investment……aam admi aisay hi rahay ga…..Recommend

  • Tp
    Jan 31, 2016 - 8:35AM

    Pakistan should give up its nukes.Recommend

  • Tycoon
    Jan 31, 2016 - 10:44AM

    I a ready to buy Marshall Islands,Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Jan 31, 2016 - 12:01PM

    Didn’t get it, did you ? You are the bulls eye !Recommend

  • crazy cat
    Jan 31, 2016 - 12:07PM

    ha ha ha…..jst snd indian navy to attack these loosers….Recommend

  • Lotus
    Jan 31, 2016 - 1:44PM

    @Ram Singh Sohni,I agree with all the content of yr post except ‘Pakistan should stop cross border terrorism’.Wonder how naive you and most of the Indians and Afghans are that is to Not to blame their Govts on the terrorism related cases but Simply putting all the blames on Pakistan.Pls pick up at least few months of news papers from Pakistan and just compile the bomb blasts we face all over our country.We blame our Govt for laxity and security breaches.If India is such a weak Police who cannot protect their civilians from these terror related accidents why your public and Parliament sets them right.Hope you understand we at Pakistan have monumental problems of our own which we are trying to address thru a civilian govt without putting the blame solely on International Conspiracy.Likewise Indians should Stop crying for all their evils on cross border terrorism.Guys open your eyes and read about Zarb Azb and many missions that Pak Army is doing.thousands of Pakistani civilians and armed forces personnel not to forget school children have been killed in our country in terrorist bomb blasts.But Indians still singing the same Song against cross border terrorism from Pakistan!Recommend

  • Pune girl
    Jan 31, 2016 - 4:02PM

    The Marshall Islands is my favorite country now. They were instrumental in helping the world setting the better target of 1.5 degree rise instead of 2 degrees at the climate conference in Paris. And now they are forcing all our “big” countries to re-examine our behaviour.
    I love you Marshall Islands!Recommend

  • prabhjyot singh madan
    Feb 10, 2016 - 2:40AM

    First try China to give up its nukes, India will reciprocate.. Pakistan is not a factor here. .Rab rakhaRecommend

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