The Marshall Islands is taking Britain, India and Pakistan to the UN's highest tribunal based in The Hague, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), for breaching their obligations for nuclear disarmament. The Pacific Island has been pushing for this since the countries' nuclear testing has been causing health issues for its residents.
A Marshall Islands government minister Tony deBrum, said he can recall a time when he was a nine-year-old boy out fishing with his grandfather and he witnessed one of the US nuclear tests that nearly "vaporised" some of his country's islands. "The entire sky turned blood red ... many died, or suffered birth defects never before seen and cancers as a result of contamination," deBrum told the court. "Several islands in my country were vaporised and others are estimated to remain uninhabitable for thousands of years."
The Islands were reportedly used as a nuclear testing site 67 times during the Cold War. The testing has contributed to several health problems for the Islands' inhabitants over the years. The Islands had initially intended to take all countries holding nuclear weapons to court, including France, the US, Russia, China, Israel and North Korea. However only the cases against Britain, India and Pakistan have managed to be heard in the court.
In the preliminary hearings currently underway at the International Court of Justice, judges will determine in a series of hearings over the next week-and-a-half whether or not the lawsuits against the countries can be heard at the ICJ. It is believed, the countries will argue that the claims are outside the Hague court's jurisdiction and therefore cannot continue be continued. The hearing against Britain will begin on 9 March where "preliminary objections" will be raised by London, reported AFP News.
According to the Marshall Islands, the world's nuclear powers have failed to comply with the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and they are not, "fulfilling their obligations with respect to the cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament." While Britain signed the NPT, India and Pakistan have failed to do so.