The International Court of Justice (ICJ) 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 Marshall Islands said the states had failed to fulfill their disarmament obligations under the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). 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 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. 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.
Kate Hudson, general secretary of the U.K.-based Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, explained,
"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 Marshall Islands, a tiny Pacific nation served as an unwilling nuclear testing ground for the U.S. from 1946 to 1958. The so-called "Bravo" hydrogen bomb, tested at Bikini Atoll, was estimated to be 1,000 times bigger than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Many native residents were forced to flee their lands and thousands were exposed to radioactive material as a result of these tests. The former Marshall Islands foreign minister, Tony deBrum, testified at ICJ hearings in March that he witnessed nuclear tests as a nine-year-old boy.
"The entire sky turned blood red," he told the panel at the time. "Many died, or suffered birth defects never before seen and cancers as a result of contamination. Several islands in my country were vaporized and others are estimated to remain uninhabitable for thousands of years," he said.
Every president since Harry Truman has subscribed to the policy that the United States retains the prerogative of employing nuclear weapons to defend itself and its allies against even nonnuclear threats. In other words, as a matter of policy, the United States rejects the concept of “no first use,” which would prohibit any employment of nuclear weapons except in retaliation for a nuclear attack. The U.S. maintains the nuclear “triad,” a strike force consisting of manned bombers and land-based ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles. It is embarking upon a trillion-dollar program to modernize that triad, fielding new generations of bombers, missiles, and submarines along with an arsenal of new warheads over the next decade.
As socialists the war we must fight to end this insanity and horror is the class war. And this cannot be fought with nukes, but something more powerful – our minds, our imagination, our solidarity and preparedness to unite as the majority exploited class and to wrest control of the planet from the madmen before it is too late. Are you with us? Don't take too long to think of a reply – the doomsday clock really is ticking.