1. Background of the Case One of the main purposes of the United Nations is disarmament. The General Assembly , Security Council and the Military Staff Committee are responsible for the efforts of disarmament respectively. The Marshall Islands have been a place for nuclear weapon tests from 1946 to 1958. On 22 December 1990, the Security Council terminated the Trusteeship Agreement and by 17 September 1991, the Marshall Islands joined the United Nations.
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons’ (hereinafter; NPT) goal is to preclude the improvement and use of nuclear weapons and technology. In contrast with this, the traty promotes the use of nuclear energy in peaceful means. The Treaty entered into force by 5 March 1970.
On 11 May 1995, the treaty was extended to an indefinite measure of time. 191 states have ratified the treaty, exceptionally, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea withdrew from the treaty on 10 January 2003. The United Kingdom of Britain and Northern Ireland (hereinafter; UK) is one of the founding members of the United Nations and one of the 3 governments which are depository to NPT. The UK is also one of the nuclear-weapon states along with French Republic, Russian Federaiton, the United States of America and People’s Republic of China. 2.
Proceedings Brought Before the Court On 24 April 2014, except the UK, the Marshall Islands filed against 8 states which are supposed to be having nuclear weapons. India, Pakistan and the UK cases were entered in the General List of the Court . The UK has objected to the jurisdiction and the admissibility of the application. In the first objection, the Marshall Islands failed to state a dispute between party states. Second and third objections were the ones which the UK stated that jurisdiction is prevented by reservations regarding the Article 36, Paragraph 2 of the Statute of International Court of Justice. The Marshall Islands, requested the Court to reject the objections and decide to that application is admissible whereas the UK insists on inadmissibility.
Therefore, the UK gave emphasis on a principle of costomary international law which is that a state must give notice (sanction) to other states, for there can be an existence of a dispute between them. This principle is defined in International Law Commission’s Articles on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts (Art. 43, para.
1) . As the UK claims, those requirements have not been satisfied in this case. Furthermore, as the UK alleged, the statement made by Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Marshall Islands didn’t specifically mention the UK when using the term “nuclear-weapon states” about the intensification of efforts leading to effective disarmament. In response to this, the Marshall Islands insists that there is no a principle, i.e.
a state must notify another state before applying to the adjudicatory body of International Court of Justice. Thus, Article 43 of ILC Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongfull Acts, in spite of the way the UK claims so, is irrelevant, insofar it doesn’t comprise the proceedings before an international court. Moreover, according to Article 44 of the same convention, the Marshall Islands suggests, ICL is not concerned with the admissibility of cases.
Besides, the Marshall Islands stresses out that the Court has denied the existence of a basic requirement of prior notice in other cases before.3. Decision of the CourtAlthough the Marshall Islands’ statement on 13 February 2014 at the Nayarit Conference (where it warned all states that the efforts made in favour of nuclear disarmament are insufficient and needed to be increased) was; “states possessing nuclear arsenals are failing to fulfil their legal obligations” under Article 6 of NPT and customary international law, this statement neither did adress the UK specifically nor the UK was present at that conference.
If this statement aimed to invoke the international responsibility, such adressing should have been made to the UK, directly. As a whole, there is no existence of a dispute to be discussed. In all circumstances, the UK was not aware or couldn’t have been unaware that it was in violation of its obligations as a state. Out of scope, the UK voted against the resolution, in multilateral fora (December 5^th 2013) on nuclear disarmament, whereas the Marshall Islands voted in favour. Inferring from all these contents, the conduct of the UK does not provide a basis to find a dispute between two parties. The Court, hence, decides that the first preliminary objection made by the UK must be upheld (acknowledged). The Court, thereafter doesn’t have jurisdiction under Art.
36, para. 2 of its Statute as well. So, it is unnecessary for other objections given by the UK to be dealt with. For these reasons, the Court; by eight votes to eight (unanimously), by the President’s casting vote, upholds the first preliminary objection to jurisdiction which was raised by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, based on the absence of a dispute between parties.
And the Court anew; by nine votes to seven, finds that it cannot proceed to the merits of the case.