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Published on February 24th, 2016 | by Selma van Oostwaard

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Marshall Islands Fights Back in Nuclear Zero Lawsuit

12 March at Humanity House: Why is the Marshall Islands suing the nuclear weapon states at the International Court of Justice at The Hague? Meet the international legal team representing the Republic of the Marshall Islands and find out more about the story behind the lawsuits:

On March 1st, 1954, the United States exploded a hydrogen bomb, code-named ‘Bravo’, on Bikini Atoll. It spread radioactive fallout across the northern Marshall Islands, reaching other islands nearly 3,000 miles to the west. The Marshall Islands was used as a test ground for the US nuclear programme from 1946-1958. The country, once called the most contaminated place on earth, continues to be burdened with some of the highest cancer rates in the region following the 12 year of nuclear tests.

In April 2014, the Republic of the Marshall Islands filed lawsuits at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, bringing actions against all nine nuclear-armed states for failing to comply with their obligations under international law to pursue negotiations for the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons. The initial oral hearings in the cases against the United Kingdom, India and Pakistan will take place at the ICJ in March 2016.

The year 2016 also marks the 20th anniversary of the ICJ’s Advisory Opinion on nuclear weapons. The legal team will discuss how the ICJ’s 1996 ruling impacts the current cases against the nuclear-armed nations.

About the speakers
The legal team representing the Marshall Islands will come together in the Humanity House to share their expectations and individual motivation to work on this case.

A representative of the Marshall Islands (Tony de Brum, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Marshall Islands) will explain the current (health) situation in the Marshall Islands, Dutch lawyer Phon van den Biesen (Co-Agent of the Marshall Islands, Attorney at Law in Amsterdam, van den Biesen Kloostra Advocaten) will clarify the lawsuit and oral hearings procedures, John Burroughs (Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy) will discuss the lawsuits against India and Pakistan, and Laurie Ashton (Keller Rohrback L.L.P.) will talk about the case against the UK. Moderator is Rick Wayman from the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF).

About the programme
Date:            Saturday 12 March, 2016
Venue:         Humanity House, Prinsegracht 8, The Hague, the Netherlands
Door open:  15.30 h
Start:            16.00 h
Einde:          17.30 h
Languague: English
Entrance:    Free entrance, register on the Humanity House website

This programme is organised by Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF), PAX, Soka Gakkai International (SGI), International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA) and Humanity House.

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About the Author

Selma supports all the disarmament work at PAX with a special emphasis on the No Nukes team. In 2014 she and other PAX disarmament campaigners launched a public campaign in the Netherlands to initiate the creation of national legislation to outlaw nuclear weapons: www.tekentegenkernwapens.nl. One of the result of this national campaign is that a vast majority of the House wants the Netherlands to start working internationally for a nuclear weapons ban.



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