The UN’s highest court has refused to take up a case brought by the tiny Marshall Islands against India for failing to halt the nuclear arms race, saying it lacked jurisdiction.
“The court upholds the objection to jurisdiction raised by India… and finds that it cannot proceed to the merits of the case,” judge Ronny Abraham told the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
The country of less than 70,000 people had taken India, Pakistan and Britain to court to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), arguing they have failed to comply with the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Initially the lawsuit also included China, France, Israel, North Korea, Russia and the United States , none of which recognised the ICJ’s jurisdiction on the matter.
The tiny Pacific island nation had said in March that the world’s nine nuclear weapons states have violated various obligations to negotiate in good faith to dismantle their nuclear arsenals.
Marshall Islands was a US protectorate until 1986. It was the site of 67 nuclear tests between 1946-58, the health impacts of which linger to this day.
So the country of 70,000 people maintains it can testify with authority about the devastating impact of such arms.
The Marshall Islands claimed that not stopping the nuclear arms race Britain, India and Pakistan continued to breach their obligations under the treaty.
The Marshall Islands is calling for the three nuclear powers to take “all necessary measures” to carry out what it considers to be their obligations under the treaty.
The treaty commits all nuclear weapon states “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.”