On Thursday 24 April, the Republic of the Marshall Islands filed 9 separate, but related, cases against the 9 States with nuclear weapons. The Marshall Islands were the site of numerous Nuclear Weapons tests in the 1940’s and 1950’s, the effects of which are still felt today.
The cases taken against the 5 States that are party to the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States of America) centre around article VI of the NPT which obliges States to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control”. The Marshall Islands argue that States have not met these obligations and States such as the Marshall Islands continue to suffer as a consequence.
The case against the 4 States not party to the NPT (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Israel, and Pakistan) argues that the provisions of Art IV of the NPT are in fact now customary international law and therefore these States are also in violation of their international obligations.
During September the Court fixed time limits for the filing of written pleadings in a number of the cases. In some of the cases, such as Marshall Islands v United Kingdom where the jurisdiction of the Court is not in question, it is a time limit for initial pleadings. However, in other cases such as Marshall Islands v Pakistan, a decision must first be taken regarding the jurisdiction of the Court and admissibility of the case.
Many of the deadlines are mid to late 2015 so it will be some time before we see progress on the cases.For more information visit the International Court of Justice website
The Irish Red Cross nuclear weapons disarmament campaign
In line with the 2011 & 2013 resolutions of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the Irish Red Cross is committed to playing its part in raising awareness in Ireland of the catastrophic humanitarian impacts that would result from the use of nuclear weapons. The resolutions appeal to States to ensure nuclear weapons are never again used and to create laws to prohibit their use and aim for their elimination.
In Ireland, the Irish Red Cross will be running a series of events and disseminating the latest news and facts as part of a nuclear weapons disarmament campaign.
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