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Dutch PM proposes international nuclear tribunal

[JURIST] Dutch Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende [official profile] on Monday proposed the establishment of an international tribunal in the Netherlands to try countries suspected of supplying nuclear materials to terrorists. The tribunal would be set in The Hague, already home to several international judicial institutions, and would hold accountable nations that break international nuclear security treaties [Telegraaf report, in Dutch]. A "nuclear court" would have to be established by a special treaty. According to Balkenende, US President Barack Obama [official profile] reacted positively to the proposal during the Nuclear Security Summit [WH blog] currently being held in Washington, DC. The two-day, 47-nation [press release] international summit is intended to pursue a comprehensive nuclear security agenda while addressing concerns that terrorist organizations could obtain nuclear material [BBC report].

Continuing to make progress to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev [official profile] signed [JURIST report] the so-called New START treaty [text, PDF; BBC backgrounder] last week, pledging to reduce their countries' nuclear warheads by about 30 percent. Reaction to the new treaty has been mixed. US Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) [official website] on Sunday said that Senate approval of the treaty [JURIST report] is unlikely to happen this year. Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) [official website] also expressed reservations, while UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official website] called [press release] it a "significant achievement." The US State Department began negotiating [JURIST report] the treaty with Russia in 2009. The treaty agreement, reached [JURIST report] in February, is the first nuclear agreement between the two nations in nearly 20 years.

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