The UN’s highest court on Wednesday threw out an epic case brought by the tiny Marshall Islands against India, Pakistan for purportedly neglecting to halt the nuclear arms race.
The UN’s highest court Wednesday threw out a bid by tiny Marshall Islands to sue Pakistan for “failing to block the nuclear arms race”, instants after rejecting an identical case.
Marshall Islands case to be decided by uN court against Pakistan, India, Britain next month
The archipelago is seeking to shine a spotlight that is fresh on the international threat of nuclear weapons.
But in a majority verdict by nine votes to seven “the court upholds the objection to jurisdiction raised by India,” presiding judge Ronny Abraham said, and thus the tribunal “cannot continue to the merits of the case.”
The tribunal, set up to resolve rows between states, found it lacked the jurisdiction as there had been no earlier recorded discussions or dispute over the nuclear issue between the Marshall Islands and India.
The tiny Pacific island nation was ground zero for a chain of nuclear tests on its pristine atolls between 1946-58, carried out by the USA as the Cold War arms race gathered momentum.
Initially in 2014, Majuro accused nine countries of failing to comply with the 1968 nuclear Non- .
Israel has also never officially acknowledged to having nuclear weapons.
The Marshall Islands has maintained that by not stopping the nuclear arms race Pakistan, India and Britain continued to breach their obligations under the treaty — even if Islamabad and New Delhi haven’t signed the pact.
Majuro is calling to take “all essential measures” to carry out what it considers to be their duties under the treaty.
Marshall Islands to open nuclear arms conflict against Pakistan, India
At a March hearing, Majuro’s lawyers painted a graphic picture of the horrors seen after 67 nuclear tests were performed on Enewetak and Bikini atolls.
“Several islands in my own nation were vaporised and others are estimated to remain uninhabitable for thousands of years, ” Tony deBrum, a former Marshall Islands foreign minister, told the court.
The so-called “Operation Castle” tests in March and April 1954 were particularly disastrous and resulted in massive contamination due to the nuclear fallout.
“ blood-red turned,” said deBrum, who watched the explosion of the largest-ever US-built nuclear device called “Castle Bravo” as a nine-year old lad.
Critics have argued nevertheless the islanders’ real fight is with Washington, which carried out the tests in their backyard and that the ICJ action is a distraction.
They state that the case has no relation to the victims’ claims for increased settlement, better medical care and cleanups to leave the sites habitable.
Pros however say the islands hoped the three cases before the ICJ will throw on nuclear disarmament talks, which have stalled over the past two decades, back into the limelight.
The Marshall Islands’ residents “perhaps believe that the more the difficulties with nuclear weapons are brought to the public consciousness, the better,” said Jens Iverson, assistant professor of Public International Law, if the case has no direct impact.
They may hope the world may become a safer place,” Iverson told AFP.