U.S. Judge Dismisses Marshall Islands’ Nuclear Zero Lawsuit

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U.S. Judge Dismisses Marshall Islands’ Nuclear Zero Lawsuit


February 6, 2015 – On Tuesday, February 3, 2015, U.S. Federal Court Judge Jeffrey White dismissed the U.S. Nuclear Zero Lawsuit.

The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) filed the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits against all nine nuclear-armed nations in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and separately against the United States in U.S. Federal District Court. The lawsuits call upon these nations to fulfill their legal obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and customary international law to negotiate in good faith to end the nuclear arms race and for total nuclear disarmament.

Judge White granted the U.S. government’s motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that the RMI, although a party to the NPT, lacked standing to bring the case. White also ruled that the lawsuit is barred by the political question doctrine.

The Marshall Islands, a former U.S. territory in the northern Pacific, was the ground zero for 67 U.S. nuclear tests between 1946 and 1958 and suffered the equivalent of 1.6 Hiroshima bombs daily for 12 years. The lawsuit, which the RMI plans to appeal, does not seek compensation, but rather, a court order requiring the U.S. to enter negotiations for nuclear disarmament.

Laurie Ashton, counsel for the RMI, respectfully expressed disappointment with the Court’s ruling, saying, “The next step is an appeal of the Court’s Order to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. As the RMI continues to pursue legal remedies to enforce the most important clause of the NPT, we implore the U.S. to honor its binding Article VI obligations, and call for and pursue the negotiations that have never begun—namely negotiations in good faith relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament.”

David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and consultant to the RMI noted, “The Court’s decision on this is akin to turning the matter over to the foxes to guard the nuclear henhouse. This will cause many national leaders to reconsider the value of entering into treaties with the U.S.”

The RMI remains engaged in the three lawsuits for which there is compulsory jurisdiction at the ICJ – those against India, Pakistan and the UK. To learn more about the Nuclear Zero lawsuits, go to nuclearzero.org.

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Note to editor: to arrange interviews with David Krieger or Laurie Ashton, please call Sandy Jones or Carol Warner at (805) 965-3443. The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation was founded in 1982. Its mission is to educate and advocate for peace and a world free of nuclear weapons and to empower peace leaders. The Foundation is a non-partisan, non-profit organization with consultative status to the United Nations and is comprised of individuals and groups worldwide who realize the imperative for peace in the Nuclear Age.