The first round of oral arguments in the Marshall Islands lawsuits against the nuclear-armed states in the International Court of Justice are coming to a close today. Friday, 11 March (the 5th anniversary of the start of the Fukushima disaster), from 3 – 6 pm in The Hague, Netherlands, the Marshall Islands will rebut the arguments made by the United Kingdom on Wednesday, 9 March.
The Marshall Islands contends that the nuclear-armed nations are in violation of their obligation to disarm under Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and customary international law. In April 2014 the Marshall Islands filed lawsuits against all nine 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.
Preliminary procedural arguments began on Monday 7 March in the International Court of Justice, with the Marshall Islands presenting oral arguments in its case against India. On Tuesday 8 March, the Marshall Islands presented its case against Pakistan. Unfortunately, just a few days before the scheduled hearing, Pakistan made it known to the Court that it would not participate in the oral proceedings.
On Friday, 11 March the Marshall Islands will respond to the UK.
To get a feel for the hearings watch this short video from the BBC: The Marshall Islands takes three world nuclear powers to court
The second round of arguments will begin on Monday 14 March, when the Marshall Islands will respond to India, and the UK will respond to the Marshall Islands. On Wednesday 16 March India will respond to the Marshall Islands and the Marshall Islands will respond to the UK.
The International Court of Justice is the judicial branch of the United Nations. It is the highest, most authoritative court in the world on questions of international law. While these hearings concern preliminary issues as to whether the cases are suitable for adjudication on the merits, the substance of the cases is coming up in various ways.
I am 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 learn about and follow the hearings from wherever you are.
· Sign up to receive our daily updates: https://www.wagingpeace.org/sign-up-to-get-daily-email-updates-from-the-hague/
· Read our daily updates from the hearings at https://www.pressenza.com/
· Follow me on and Rick Wayman on Twitter @JackieCabasso and @RickWayman, and retweet. We are live tweeting, using the hashtag #NuclearZero
· Like and share our Facebook posts at https://www.facebook.com/WesternStatesLegalFoundation/
· Watch the hearings for yourself. Video webcasts are being broadcast live at https://www.icj-cij.org/homepage/index.php 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/oral-hearings-on-the-marshall-islands-nuclear-disarmament-cases-to-begin-at-the-international-court-of-justice.
· 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 https://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/160/18888.pdf
· Marshall Islands v. India https://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/158/18884.pdf
· Marshall Islands v. Pakistan https://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/159/18886.pdf
SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday 12 March, 4:00 pm: Humanity House, The Hague
Nuclear Weapons at the International Court of Justice
Please join us for this free public event about the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits. At this event, members of the legal team representing the Marshall Islands at the International Court of Justice will discuss the importance of the lawsuits.
o Tony de Brum (co-agent of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and former RMI Foreign Minister);
o Phon van den Biesen (co-agent of the Republic of the Marshall Islands);
o John Burroughs (Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy); and
o Laurie Ashton (Keller Rohrback LLP).
The event is free and open to the public. It is co-sponsored by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Soka Gakkai International, PAX, International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, and Humanity House.
For more information click here
Western States Legal Foundation
Working for Peace & Justice in a Nuclear Free World