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UN court refuses to hear Marshall Islands case over nuclear arms
UN court refuses to hear Marshall Islands case over nuclear arms

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] on Wednesday refused [judgment, PDF] to hear a claim by the Marshall Islands [World Atlas profile] that the world’s nuclear powers failed to halt the nuclear arms race. The court found [NDTV report] that they could not hear the case because they did not have jurisdiction over the matter. The Marshall Islands was the site for numerous nuclear tests [BBC News report] carried out by the US during the Cold War arms race, and claims that such experience allows it to testify on the danger of a nuclear arms race. The country accused [Tribune report] nine countries of not complying with the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [text, PDF]. However, the ICJ can only consider the cases for Britain, India and Pakistan as China, France, Israel, North Korea, Russia and the US have not recognized the court’s jurisdiction. The Marshall Islands claims that these countries have breached their obligations under the treaty, which commits all states with nuclear capabilities “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.”

Nuclear weapons and capabilities have been of increased concern over the past several years. The US and France agreed in March 2015 to strengthen nuclear talks with Iran to persuade the nation to restrain its nuclear program in exchange for relief from sanctions and the following April Iran agreed [JURIST reports] to a framework deal to restrict its nuclear plan. In August 2012 Japanese authorities opened [JURIST report] a criminal investigation into the nuclear power plant meltdown after more than 1,300 people filed [JURIST report] a criminal complaint against the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) for causing the catastrophe and the resulting radiation.