15 Jul 2009

Marshalls nuclear compo fund demise foreseeable, says advocate

3:09 pm on 15 July 2009

A representative of the Marshall Islands Nuclear Claims Tribunal says it had predicted many years ago that its funds would not be big enough to satisfy claims made by nuclear test victims.

The tribunal has ceased compensation to claimants since it began payments in 2001, despite owing more than two billion US dollars.

A public advocate for the tribunal, Bill Graham, says it was identified many years ago that the funds were sinking.

He says as a result, the tribunal has also been hard hit with the downsizing of its offices but says it will continue to store files and receive claims.

"But it's not going to have any existence because the nuclear claims fund that was established as a result of the settlement agreement entered into by the government of the Marshall Islands and the government of the United States back in 1983 is virtually exhausted. There's a little over 100,000 dollars US left in that fund from its original capitalisation of 150 million."

Bill Graham says hope now lies in the governments of the US and Marshall Islands to come up with a solution.