../ttl.gif (910 bytes)



Nuclear Disarmament and 

        Non-Proliferation World Court Project Nuclear Weapons Convention Publications Nuclear Energy About Partners


The Marshall Islands' Nuclear Zero Cases
in the International Court of Justice


The International Court of Justice in The Hague

Photo credit: WikiCommons


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, 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.

More information

Dramatic Hearings, LCNP eNews, April 2016
Background and Current Status, April 2016
Special IALANA Newsletter, July 2014
Marshall Islands Challenges Nine Nuclear-Armed States in Lawsuit before the World Court, Press Release, April 24, 2014
www.nuclearzero.org – includes applications filed in ICJ
www.icj-cij.org, website of the International Court of Justice
LCNP Amicus Brief in Marshall Islands' appeal in US court case, July 20, 2015


Tony de Brum, 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:



Media coverage

"Another kind of Nuclear Security Summit: The Marshall Islands vs. the Nuclear-Armed States," Jacqueline Cabasso, Pressenza Budapest, September 4, 2015
"The Marshall Islands and the NPT," Robert Alvarez, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May 27, 2015
"France: Missing in Action at the International Court of Justice," John Burroughs, Armes nucléaires STOP: Bulletin mensuel, No. 248/249, May/June 2015
"The Marshall Islands' Two-Front Fight to Survive and Thrive: Climate Protection and Nuclear Disarmament," John Burroughs, Disarmament Times, Vol. 3, No. 2, Fall/Winter 2014
"The Marshall Islands Versus the World's Nuclear Weapons States,"Peter Weiss, The Nation, January 26, 2015
"Tiny Pacific nation aims to stop new nuclear arms race," James Carroll, Boston Globe, January 5, 2014
"A Former Ground Zero Goes to Court Against the World's Nuclear Arsenals," Marlise Simons, New York Times, December 27, 2014
"Marshall Islands Lawsuit Reopens Old Wounds," Lucy Westcott, Newsweek, August 1, 2014
"The Emotional and Psychological Trauma to Our People Can't Be Measured In Real Terms," Interview with Tony de Brum, Lia Petridis Maiello, Huffington Post: The Blog, May 30, 2014
"Eyewitness to Nuclear Explosion Challenges World Powers," Thalif Deen, IPS, May 12, 2014
"U.S.-Dependent Pacific Island Defies Nuke Powers," Thalif Deen, IPS, April 25, 2014
"U.S. examining Marshall Islands nuclear lawsuits, defends record," David Brunnstrom, Reuters, April 25, 2014
"Tiny Pacific Nation Sues 9 Nuclear-Armed Powers," Cara Anna, Associated Press, April 24, 2014

International Legal Team

The International Legal Team consists of the two Co-Agents of RMI, Tony de Brum, 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.


















Home | Nuclear Disarmament & Non-Proliferation | World Court Project | Nuclear Weapons Convention | Publications | Nuclear Energy | About  | Partners