The Nuclear Zero Lawsuits
Michael Light, 100 SUNS: 024 SMOKY 44 kilotons Nevada 1957
On April 24, 2014, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) filed lawsuits against all nine Nuclear Weapon States in the International Court of Justice and, separately, against the United States in U.S. Federal District Court. The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation served as a consultant to the RMI on these lawsuits, working closely with the Marshallese government and assembling the US legal team.
At the time of these lawsuits, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) had been in force for over 44 years. The Nuclear Weapon States rely heavily on nuclear weapons and are engaging in modernization programs to keep their nuclear weapons active for decades to come, acting in violation of Article VI of the NPT, which calls for nuclear disarmament.
While the cases were ultimately dismissed by the International Court of Justice and the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, there remains much to be learned from the Marshall Islands’ courageous stance. The cases opened the door for a legal reckoning with the criminal history of the American nuclear testing program. Profiles of the courageous Marshallese people who have been fighting for a world free of nuclear weapons and all relevant court documents can be found below.