Marshall Islands Brings Lawsuits Against All Nine Nuclear Weapons Possessing States in the International Court of Justice!!!Posted: April 24, 2014
Wow!!! I just learned about this this morning. Apparently the cases were filed this morning with the ICJ. See the Guardian news story here. Here then are the legal documents themselves that have been filed, both in the ICJ and in US Federal Court.
I’m still looking through the documents, but it appears that the RMI has brought suit against all five NPT NWS, plus India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea, basically arguing that they are in violation of the NPT Article VI obligation to disarm. With regard to the non-NPT parties (India, Pakistan, Israel, NK) the memorials argue that the obligation in Article VI has passed into customary international law and is thus binding on all states. Wow.
I’m sure there will be much more to say about all this – I’ve been a bit blindsided by it. But at first blush, I would note a couple of things about the jurisdiction of the ICJ.
Of the states who are respondents in these actions at the ICJ only three of them – the U.K., Pakistan, and India – have accepted the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ. That means that the cases against the U.K., Pakistan, and India should be able to go forward procedurally. For all of the other states, including the U.S., for the ICJ to be able to exercise jurisdiction, the respondent state will have to give its ad hoc consent for the case to go forward. I’d say there’s just about zero chance that this will happen in any of the other actions. So at least on my first read through of the materials, it would appear that the three viable cases before the ICJ are the cases against the U.K., Pakistan, and India.
That’s all I’ll say for now. More to come!!