Court re­jects call for dis­ar­ma­ment

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS -

By the tight­est pos­si­ble mar­gin, the United Na­tions’ high­est court has re­jected three nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment cases filed by the tiny Pa­cific Ocean na­tion of the Mar­shall Is­lands against Bri­tain, India and Pak­istan, say­ing it did not have ju­ris­dic­tion.

In a blow to dis­ar­ma­ment ac­tivists, the In­ter­na­tional Court of Jus­tice ruled that the Mar­shall Is­lands failed to prove that a le­gal dis­pute over dis­ar­ma­ment ex­isted be­tween it and the three nu­clear pow­ers be­fore the case was filed in 2014, and that “con­se­quently the court lacks ju­ris­dic­tion”.

It took a cast­ing vote by the court’s Pres­i­dent Ronny Abra­ham’s to break an eighteight dead­lock be­tween the court’s 16 judges on the ques­tion ju­ris­dic­tion.

Phon van den Biesen, a Dutch lawyer who rep­re­sented the Mar­shall Is­lands, said he was deeply dis­ap­pointed by the rul­ings.

“If the court keeps cre­at­ing this sort of thresh­old, what is the court for?” he said. “It’s a of dis­pute that is clear to all of the world ex­cept for eight judges here.”

Abra­ham ac­knowl­edged that the Mar­shall Is­lands has a par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est in nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment “by virtue of the suf­fer­ing of its peo­ple” dur­ing years of test­ing at Bikini and Enewe­tak atolls be­tween 1946 and 1958.

At hear­ings in March, Mar­shall Is­lands rep­re­sen­ta­tive Tony deBrum said he watched one of the US nu­clear tests in his home coun­try as a nine-year-old boy while fish­ing with his grand­fa­ther.

“The en­tire sky turned blood red,” he told judges in an emo­tional speech. He said some of his coun­try’s is­lands were “va­por­ised” by the tests.

The Mar­shall Is­lands orig­i­nally filed cases against all nine na­tions that have de­clared or are be­lieved to pos­sess nu­clear weapons: The US, Rus­sia, Bri­tain, France, China, India, Pak­istan, Is­rael and North Korea. But only the cases against Bri­tain, India and Pak­istan got to the pre­lim­i­nary stage of pro­ceed­ings.

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