Marshall Islands takes world nuclear powers to ICJ
Islanders, who blame nuclear tests before 1958 for health damage, accuse the nations of breaching legal duty to disarm.
The tiny Republic of the Marshall Islands in Micronesia is taking on the world’s nuclear powers with an unprecedented legal case that is being heard at The Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The islanders say their lives were ruined by dozens of nuclear tests in the 12 years to 1958 along their territory. Generations past and present have suffered the after-effects.
“I can just go down the list of my wife’s family. You don’t even have to go that far and almost every Marshall islander out here can do this. My wife’s mother died of cancer of the uterus; my wife’s uncle died of thyroid cancer,” Jack Niedenthal, trust liaison for the People of Bikini Atoll, said.
To begin with, the Marshall Islands has brought a case against the three nuclear powers which recognise the ICJ – the UK, India and Pakistan – on the argument that they have breached a legal duty to disarm.
Similar logic is being used against six other nations including the US, Russia and China.