Nuclear Weapons Before the International Court of Justice: A Critque of the Marshall Islands v United Kingdom Decision

45 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2018 Last revised: 5 Jul 2018

See all articles by Devesh Awmee

Devesh Awmee

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni

Date Written: April 4, 2018

Abstract

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) recently gave judgment in Obligations Concerning Negotiations Relating to Cessation of the Nuclear Arms Race and to Nuclear Disarmament. The case concerned three parallel claims brought by the Marshall Islands against India, Pakistan and the United Kingdom for their alleged failure to fulfil obligations concerning negotiations relating to the cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament under Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and customary international law. The Court in all three proceedings dismissed the claims at the preliminary objections phase on the sole ground that a legal dispute did not exist between the parties. In determining whether a legal dispute existed, the Court appears to have deviated from the objective determination taken in its previous jurisprudence by introducing for the first time a new requirement of “awareness”. The Court also failed to address the other preliminary objections brought by the United Kingdom, such as the Monetary Gold principle, which appears to have been a more credible avenue for the Court to dismiss the case. The case also illustrates the failure by the ICJ to yet again confront the issue of nuclear weapons.

Keywords: Nuclear disarmament, nuclear weapons, dispute, awareness, International Court of Justice, jurisdiction, Monetary Gold principle

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Awmee, Devesh, Nuclear Weapons Before the International Court of Justice: A Critque of the Marshall Islands v United Kingdom Decision (April 4, 2018). Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper, Student/Alumni Paper No. 25/2018.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3156083 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3156083

Devesh Awmee (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, Victoria 6140
New Zealand

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