For the third year in a row, the Majuro-based Nuclear Claims Tribunal will not issue any compensation payments despite owing more than two billion US dollars in already approved awards to Marshall Islanders.
With its compensation fund nearly exhausted, Tribunal officials say not
only is it impossible to make even a token payment this year, but this further confirms the inadequacy of U.S.-provided compensation for nuclear test victims.
Marshall Islands President Litokwa Tomeing has stepped up pressure on
U.S. government officials, seeking endorsement of a plan to use U.S. grant
funding to provide $1.2 million annually for Marshall Islanders with
approved, but not paid, personal injury awards.
Tribunal officials say nearly half of the 2,000 islanders who've been awarded nuclear test compensation from the Tribunal have died without receiving 100 percent of their awards.
The Tribunal was established in the late 1980s by a Compact of Free
Association between the U.S. and the Marshall Islands with the mandate to
adjudicate and compensate personal injury and other claims arising from the
67 American nuclear tests at Bikini and Enewetak.
It says no existing awards will be paid this year, and new awards will be limited to five percent of the total award due because of the limited compensation funding left.