07/03/2016 / Laureate Leads Historic Nuclear Disarmament Hearings at ICJ

Laureate Leads Historic Nuclear Disarmament Hearings at ICJ

Environment, Health & Nutrition, Peace, Democracy and Law, 07/03/2016

Preliminary hearings opened today at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague for nuclear disarmament cases brought forward by the Republic of the Marshall Islands against the world’s nine nuclear-armed States.

This unprecedented lawsuit is led by Tony de Brum, former Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands and Laureate of the Right Livelihood Award, who shared last year’s honorary award with his compatriots “…in recognition of their vision and courage to take legal action against the nuclear powers for failing to honour their disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and customary international law.”

The Republic of the Marshall Islands, a tiny Pacific island nation with a population of just 70,000, was used from 1946 to 1958 as a testing ground for nuclear bombs by the United States. Sixty-seven nuclear weapons were tested, including the 1954 “Bravo” test—1,000 times stronger than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The health and environmental effects of those tests still plague Marshall Islanders to this day.

Speaking at the opening of the ICJ hearings Mr de Brum said: “The Marshall Islands brings this dispute to this august body with the sincere hope and expectation that it can be resolved peacefully and to the benefit not only of the Marshall Islands, but all of humankind.

Only the United Kingdom, India, and Pakistan are appearing before the Court, since only they accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ. Preliminary hearings will continue until 16 March.

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