Marshall Islands commended for challenging nuclear powers
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation is commending the Marshall Islands for standing up to the world's nuclear powers.
A group for nuclear disarmament is commending the Marshall Islands for standing up to the world's nuclear super powers.
The Marshall Islands government has filed a law suit against the United States and the eight other nuclear-armed countries for failing their obligations under the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, David Krieger, told Christopher Gilbert the law suit is about holding those states to account for their failed promises.
David Krieger: The nuclear non-proliferation treaty has a trade off. On the one hand the non nuclear weapons states agree not to acquire nuclear weapons. The nuclear weapons states agree for their part, actually all of the parties including the weapons states, agree to negotiate in good faith for a cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and for disarmament. So the lawsuits are about the disarmament side of the equation.
Christopher Gilbert: Right so this is about them modernizing their arsenal and not actually getting rid of their arsenal.
DK: Yeah, that's an important part of it. All of these countries agreed, five of them at least, that they would cease modernizing their nuclear weapons and instead of that they are modernizing and are spending outrageous sums of money on it. The Marshall Islands I think is actually taking a really courageous stand to say 'enough is enough'.
CG: Why hasn't this been done before now?
DK: That's a good question. There are a lot of reasons why it should have been done before, I would say. Maybe because it takes a lot of courage to stand up to a nuclear armed giant and say 'enough is enough'.
CG: And such a small country to do it as well.
DK: Right, right, hopefully other countries will join them in this pursuit, or stand beside them. It would be great if New Zealand stood up with the Marshall Islands, joined them in this pursuit.
CG: What could be the outcome of this, looking ahead, in the scenario that the lawsuit goes ahead, it is carried, the Marshall Islands wins?
DK: The outcome would be a declaration by the court that the nuclear weapons states are in breach of their obligations and in junction by the court, ordering the nuclear weapons states to initiate negotiations in good faith to do what they promised to do long ago. There's still 17,000 nuclear weapons in the world, far too many.
CG: In practical terms of this lawsuit what happens next?
DK: The respondent nations that are being asked to accept the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice will have to make a decision. Because for three of the countries India, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom, they accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the court so they're going to stay in and the cases should be heard by the court. But the other six don't accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the court
CG: So the U.S. could just ignore this?
DK: Well the U.S. doesn't accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice so it could just walk away. We're hoping it'll show more leadership than that and the Marshall Islands have also filed a suit in the Federal District Court in the United States against the United States in addition to the suits at the International Court of Justice.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: