Update: Marshall Islands to U.S. – Keep Your NPT Promises
As the NPT Review Conference approaches, the Marshall Islands take the next step
April 9, 2015 – The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) filed its Court ordered Mediation Questionnaire today in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, taking the next step in the appeal of the Nuclear Zero Lawsuit.
The lawsuit, brought by the RMI against the U.S., claims the U.S. is in breach of its legal obligations under Article VI of the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to pursue negotiations in good faith for an end to the nuclear arms race and for nuclear disarmament. The U.S. has refused to negotiate and is instead modernizing its nuclear arsenal.
The case was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds on February 3, 2015 by the U.S. Federal District Court for the Northern District of California, before the U.S. filed an Answer or submitted any evidence, and without any analysis of the merits of the claims.
In the Mediation Questionnaire, the RMI cites a statement made by the U.S. Embassy in the Marshall Islands on February 5, 2015 which asserted that “the U.S. commitment to achieving the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons is unassailable.” Taking the Embassy’s statement at face value, the RMI goes on to say, “If the U.S. were willing to demonstrate that commitment by calling for and convening negotiations for cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament under the NPT (which is the very relief sought by the Marshall Islands), then this case could have strong potential for a successful mediation.”
David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and consultant to the RMI in their case, commented, “The RMI has set forth a means by which mediation could be successful. If the U.S. were acting responsibly, they’d simply do what they promised to do 45 years ago when the NPT entered into force – fulfill their obligation to negotiate in good faith for an end to the nuclear arms race and for nuclear disarmament. It’s ironic that while the U.S. is focusing world attention on the progress being made on nonproliferation with Iran, there has been zero progress on initiating negotiations for cessation of the nuclear arms race or nuclear disarmament.”
With the filing of this Mediation Questionnaire coming just two weeks prior to the 2015 NPT Review Conference to be held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, there will likely be heightened attention paid by those attending the conference to the status of the Marshall Islands lawsuits. This year’s Review Conference will mark the 20-year anniversary of the NPT’s indefinite extension agreed to in 1995.
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Note to editor: to arrange interviews with David Krieger (President of NAPF) or Laurie Ashton (head of RMI legal team for U.S. case), please call Sandy Jones or Rick Wayman at (805) 965-3443 or (805) 696-5159.
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.