Marshall Islands takes nuclear states to court

U.S. nuclear weapon test at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands in 1946.

U.S. nuclear weapon test at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands in 1946.

On April 24th, the Marshall Islands filed a landmark lawsuit in the International Court of Justice and the U.S. Federal District Court demanding that the nuclear states live up to their disarmament obllgations.

The small island republic located in the Northern Pacific Ocean sued the “Nuclear Nine” weapon states—U.S., Russia, U.K., France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea—for breach of Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and related provisions of customary international law.

Nuclear weapons may not feel as menacing today as they did during the Cold War, but the nine countries that currently possess nuclear weapons have about 17,000 between them, enough to destroy civilization many times over. Many of those weapons are stockpiled in storage depots, but thousands remain on hair-trigger alert, ready for launch within minutes. The nine states spend $100 billion a year maintaining and modernizing their nuclear forces globally.

The Marshall Islands know first-hand the horror and consequences of living in a world with nuclear weapons, and they’re ready to take on the Nuclear Goliath.

From 1946 to 1958 the Islands were used a test ground for the U.S. nuclear program. Sixty-seven nuclear bombs were detonated over the Islands during this period: equal to 1.7 Hiroshima-size bombs being detonated each day for 12 years! They also experienced the nightmare of the Castle Bravo test: 1000 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, it was the largest nuclear test ever conducted by the U.S.

For more information about the Marshall Islands Nuclear Zero Lawsuit, go to

Photo credit: ICAN

Tags: International Court of Justice, Marshall Islands, Nuclear abolition, Nuclear Nine, Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Nuclear weapons, Nuclear Zero, Peace Movement