On February 3, a federal court dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Republic of the Marshall Islands against the United States and eight other countries for allegedly breaching a 1968 treaty to dismantle their nuclear arsenals. The court threw out the case on jurisdictional grounds.
But this week, the tiny Pacific nation — the site of 67 nuclear tests between 1946 and 1958, whose radioactive fallout continue to leave some of those islands unlivable — took its first steps in filing an appeal. “We believe the District Court erred in dismissing the case,” said lead attorney Laurie Ashton in a prepared statement. “The Marshall Islands, like every party to the [Non-Proliferation Treaty], is entitled to the United States’ fulfillment of its NPT promise – negotiations for nuclear disarmament.”
David Krieger, president of the Santa Barbara-based Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and a consultant to the Republic of the Marshall Islands in the case, made the following statement: “Knowing how high the stakes are, the Marshall Islands will not give up. They are a resilient and heroic people who have taken bold action against the nuclear giants of the world. They will continue to struggle on behalf of all humanity until the nuclear-armed nations have fulfilled their obligations to abolish every last one of their nuclear weapons.”
And Marshall Islands foreign minister Tony de Brum said his country is “in this for the long haul.” “We remain steadfast in our belief that nuclear weapons benefit no one and that what is right for humankind will prevail,” he went on. “We place great importance in and hold high respect for the American judicial process and will pursue justice in that spirit, using every available legal avenue to see that Nuclear Zero is achieved in my lifetime.”