24 April 2014, 16:09

Marshall Islands accuse US of nuclear disarmament failure at The Hague

Marshall Islands accuse US of nuclear disarmament failure at The Hague

An unprecedented legal action is taking place in the International Court of Justice at The Hague: the Marshall Islands sued the United States, arguing the global power has violated its legal obligation to dismantle its nuclear arsenal. It should be noted that the Pacific republic was the US nuclear testing range in 1950s: the United States carried out repeated tests of hydrogen and atomic bombs in the islands between 1946 and 1958

South African Nobel Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu praised the initiative of the Marshall Islands, according to the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. In his statement Desmond Tutu stressed that the failure to uphold important commitments and respect the law makes the world a more dangerous place.

The Marshall Islands addressed the nine global nuclear powers: the US, Russia, China, the UK, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel - accusing them of a “flagrant denial of human justice.” Nine separate cases have been brought before the ICJ today, the Guardian reports. The Pacific republic points out that its legal action against the countries is fully justified because it suffered a tremendous harm caused by the nuclear arm race.

One additional suit, specifically directed against the United States, has been sent to the Federal District Court in San Francisco, according to Reuters.

"We must ask why these leaders continue to break their promises and put their citizens and the world at risk of horrific devastation. This is one of the most fundamental moral and legal questions of our time," claimed the Nobel Prize winner Desmond Tutu.

In 1944 the Marshall Islands was occupied by Allied forces and fell under the US control in 1947. During the period from 1946 to 1958 the United States conducted 67 nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands, all of which were considered atmospheric. The largest of those tests was the one with a code-name “Bravo”: a 15 megaton device was detonated on March 1, 1954, at Bikini atoll. Experts claim that this only “Bravo” test was equivalent to 1,000 Hiroshima bombs. In 1956, the Marshall Islands were considered as "by far the most contaminated place in the world" by the United States Atomic Energy Commission.

"Our people have suffered the catastrophic and irreparable damage of these weapons, and we vow to fight so that no one else on earth will ever again experience these atrocities,” said Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony de Brum, cited by Reuters. “The continued existence of nuclear weapons and the terrible risk they pose to the world threaten us all.”

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