Marshall Islands takes nuclear powers to ICC

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  • The tiny Marshall Islands in Micronesia is taking on the world’s nuclear powers with an unprecedented legal case that is being heard at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. The islanders say their lives were ruined by dozens of nuclear tests in the 12 years to 1958 along their territory. Generations past and present have suffered the effects. “I can just go down the list of my wife’s family. You don’t even have to go that far and almost every Marshall Islander out here can do this. My wife’s mother died of cancer of the uterus; my wife’s uncle died of thyroid cancer,” Jack Niedenthal, trust liaison from Bikinian People, said.

    To begin with, they have brought a case against the three nuclear powers which recognise the ICC – the UK, India and Pakistan – on the argument that they have breached a legal duty to disarm. Similar logic is being used against six other nations including the US, Russia and China.

    Al Jazeera’s Laurence Lee reports.

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    In This Story: Marshall Islands

    The Marshall Islands are a sprawling chain of volcanic islands and coral atolls in the central Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and the Philippines. In the northwest, Bikini Atoll’s largely undisturbed waters, used as a ship graveyard after World War II, are now a popular wreck dive site. Near Majuro Atoll, which holds the islands’ capital and largest settlement, the coral reef at Kalalin Pass teems with marine life.

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    The Federated States of Micronesia is a country spread across the western Pacific Ocean comprising more than 600 islands. Micronesia is made up of 4 island states: Pohnpei, Kosrae, Chuuk and Yap. The country is known for palm-shaded beaches, wreck-filled dives and ancient ruins, including Nan Madol, sunken basalt temples and burial vaults that extend out of a lagoon on Pohnpei.

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