The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Wednesday rejected three nuclear disarmament cases filed by the Marshall Islands against the United Kingdom, Pakistan, and India, on the grounds that the court does not have the jurisdiction to handle them.
The ICJ, the United Nations’ highest court, ruled 9-8 the plaintiffs did not prove that a legal argument existed between the island country and the three nuclear nations before the case was filed in 2014. The Marshall Islands said the states had failed to fulfill their disarmament obligations under the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
According to the Associated Press, in the case against the U.K., the panel was deadlocked until ICJ President Ronny Abraham cast a vote in support of the nuclear powers. In Pakistan and India’s cases, the margin was 9-7.
“If the ICJ fails to properly consider their case, where do the Marshallese go to seek justice?” said Kate Hudson, general secretary of the U.K.-based Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
“The U.K. signed the NPT almost fifty years ago, committing to enter negotiations to get rid of its nuclear weapons. Instead, the government is in the process of spending at least £205 billion on new nuclear weapons—with the metal cutting tragically starting today,” Hudson continued. “A mechanism is needed to ensure compliance with this international treaty, as currently the U.K. is dodging its obligations.”
The initial case was filed against nine states in total—the U.K., India, and Pakistan, as well as the U.S., France, Russia, China, North Korea, and Israel—but the other six never made it to the preliminary hearings.
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