The Marshall Islands' Nuclear Zero Cases
On April 24, 2014, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) filed applications in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to hold the nine nuclear-armed states accountable for violations of international law with respect to their nuclear disarmament obligations under the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and customary international law. The nine states possessing nuclear arsenals are the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel.
The cases are founded on the unanimous conclusion of the ICJ in a 1996 advisory opinion, that there “exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leadings to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.”
The relief requested is a declaratory judgment of breach of obligations relating to nuclear disarmament and an order to take, within one year of the judgment, all steps necessary to comply with those obligations, including the pursuit, by initiation if necessary, of negotiations in good faith aimed at the conclusion of a convention on nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.
The International Legal Team is headed by the two Co-Agents of RMI: Tony de Brum, Former Foreign Minister, Republic of Marshall Islands, and Phon van den Biesen, an Amsterdam-based lawyer and longtime member of IALANA. Other members of the team (full list here) include John Burroughs, LCNP Executive Director, Peter Weiss, LCNP President Emeritus and IALANA Co-President, and Roger Clark, professor at Rutgers Law School and a member of the LCNP Consultative Council. In a companion case against the United States in U.S. federal court in the Northern District of California, the RMI is represented by the U.S. law firm Keller Rohrback.
International Court of Justice Dismisses Marshall Islandsí Nuclear Disarmament Cases Without Considering the Merits, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, October 5, 2016
PresentationsJohn Burroughs, Rally at Livermore Laboratory, California, Nagasaki Day, August 9, 2016
Tony de BrumFormer RMI Minister of Foreign Affairs, NPT PrepCom, plenary session, April 28, 2014
Phon van den Biesen, Co-Agent, NPT PrepCom, non-governmental presentations to plenary session, April 29, 2014
Tony de Brum, NPT PrepCom, side-event, April 28, 2014:
Event: "Back to the International Court of Justice: The Marshall Islands' Nuclear Zero Lawsuits," Vienna, December 5, 2014. Part I, featuring Tony de Brum, Phon van den Biesen, Judge Christopher Weeramantry:
Part II, featuring Marylia Kelley and David Krieger:
"Another kind of Nuclear Security Summit: The Marshall Islands vs. the Nuclear-Armed States," Jacqueline Cabasso, Pressenza Budapest, September 4, 2015
International Legal Team
The International Legal Team consists of the two Co-Agents of RMI, Tony de Brum, Former RMI Foreign Minister, and Phon van den Biesen, an Amsterdam-based lawyer and longtime IALANA member; Laurie Ashton, Keller Rohrback, USA; Nicholas Grief, Doughty Street Chambers, London, and Professor of Law, University of Kent; Christine Chinkin, Professor of International Law, London School of Economics and Political Science; John Burroughs, Executive Director, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, the UN Office of IALANA; David Krieger (consultant), President, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation; Peter Weiss (consultant), Co-President, IALANA; Luigi Condorelli, Professor of International Law, University of Florence, and honorary Professor of International Law, University of Geneva; Paolo Palchetti, Professor of International Law, University of Macerata; and Roger S. Clark, Board of Governors Professor, Rutgers Law School, Camden.