By Jackie Cabasso, Den Hague
From 1948 – 1956 the United States detonated 67 nuclear weapons test explosions over the Marshall Islands, a tiny nation in the South Pacific. During this period, the equivalent of 1.7 Hiroshima-sized bombs were detonated daily. Several islands were vaporized, others will remain uninhabitable for thousands of years. Many Marshallese died, babies were born with birth defects never seen before, and residents of the islands are still battling with cancers and other radation related diseases.
From March 7 – 16 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, the judicial branch of the United Nations, will hear oral arguments in the Marshall Islands’ cases against the UK, India and Pakistan.* The cases concern whether the UK is complying with Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and whether India and Pakistan are complying with what the Marshall Islands contends, building on the 1996 ICJ opinion, is a customary international law obligation to pursue negotiations in good faith on nuclear disarmament, including cessation of the nuclear arms race.
Tony DeBrum, former Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands will be making opening statements on behalf of the Marshall Islands on Monday and Tuesday.
These hearings concern preliminary issues as to whether the cases are suitable for adjudication on the merits. While the cases will concern preliminary issues, the substance of the cases will certainly come up in various ways.
I will be in The Hague, working with Rick Wayman of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation to support the Marshall Islands by doing media outreach and social media. Here’s how you can follow the hearings from wherever you are.
· Sign up to receive Rick’s daily updates: https://www.wagingpeace.org/
· Follow me on Twitter @JackieCabasso and retweet. I’ll be live tweeting, using the hashtag #NuclearZero
· Like and share my Facebook posts at https://www.facebook.com/
· Watch the hearings for yourself. Video webcasts will broadcast live and posted on the International Court of Justice website at: www.icj-cij.org/multimedia
· Read the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s March 2 press release at https://www.wagingpeace.org/
· For more information about the cases see www.nuclearzero.org.
If you’re in nearby Europe, please consider coming to The Hague to support the Marshall Islands by your presence in the courtroom. Three press releases issued by the ICJ (one for each of the cases) provide the hearing schedule and admission procedures to the court. There is no advance registration procedure.
· Marshall Islands v. United Kingdom http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/
· Marshall Islands v. Pakistan http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/
· Marshall Islands v. India http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/
Please help spread the word. WE STAND WITH THE MARSHALL ISLANDS: NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT HEROES!
*You may be wondering why only three cases only are going forward. In April 2014 the Marshall Islands filed lawsuits against all 9 nuclear-armed states. Regrettably, the United States, Russia, China, France, Israel and North Korea do not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ and are ignoring the cases brought against them.