Nuclear Weapons Challenge the World’s Highest Court

By Ramesh Jaura

BERLIN | THE HAGUE (IDN) - After ten days of public hearings involving teams of eminent international lawyers – some backed by staunch proponents of ‘nuclear zero’ and others clinging to the doctrine of ‘nuclear deterrence’ – the world’s highest court is faced with a challenging task of far-reaching significance.

Not the least because this year marks the twentieth anniversaries of the 1996 ‘advisory opinion’ by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the opening for signature of the CTBT, the treaty banning all nuclear tests everywhere – nuclear tests that are at the heart of nuclear proliferation. [P44] JAPANESE TEXT VERSION PDF | NORWEGIAN

2016 Crucial for Promoting a Nuclear Weapons Free World

By Jamshed Baruah

BERLIN | NEW YORK (IDN) - The 25th anniversary of the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site and the twentieth anniversaries of the opening for signature of the treaty to ban all kinds of nuclear tests as well as of the unanimous advisory by the world’s highest court are three significant hallmarks of the year 2016.

“These historical dates are an important occasion for pooling the efforts of all countries to promote a nuclear-free world," said Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev on March 2 during a meeting in Astana with the heads of foreign diplomatic missions accredited in the republic. JAPANESE TEXT VERSION PDF

World’s Highest Court Addresses Nuclear Disarmament

By Ramesh Jaura

THE HAGUE (IDN) - Aided by a team of eminent international lawyers and backed by staunch proponents of ‘nuclear zero’, the tiny but resolute Pacific Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) wants the International Court of Justice (ICJ), principal judicial organ of the United Nations, to hold the nine nuclear weapons states – U.S., Russia, UK, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea – accountable to their disarmament commitments.

These are the first contentious cases about nuclear disarmament to be brought before the world’s highest court, said Rick Wayman, Director of Programs at the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. JAPANESE TEXT VERSION PDF

Youth Campaign for a Legally Binding Global Ban on Nuclear Tests

By Jamshed Baruah

BERLIN | VIENNA (IDN) - An international group of students and young graduates has decided to campaign for North Korea and seven other hold-out states ratifying a global treaty banning all nuclear tests so that it becomes legally binding for all states.

Since the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was opened for signature twenty years ago, 183 countries have signed it, of which 164 have also ratified it, including three of the nuclear weapon States: France, Russia and the United Kingdom.

But 44 specific nuclear technology holder countries must sign and ratify before the CTBT can enter into force. Of these, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the USA are still missing. In fact, India, North Korea and Pakistan have yet to sign the CTBT.

New Sanctions on North Korea May Prove Counterproductive

By Rodney Reynolds

UNITED NATIONS (IDN | INPS) – After nearly two months of closed-door negotiations, the 15 member UN Security Council (UNSC) decided to impose new sanctions on North Korea penalizing Pyongyang for its fourth nuclear test conducted on January 6.

The resolution, adopted unanimously by the UNSC, imposed some of the toughest sanctions on North Korea calling on all UN member states to inspect cargo destined for – and coming from – Pyongyang, in all airport and sea ports.

The Beginning of the End for Nuclear Weapons?

By Daisaku Ikeda *

TOKYO (IDN | INPS) - Last year’s NPT Review Conference closed without bridging the chasm between the nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states. It was deeply regrettable that no consensus was reached at this significant juncture marking the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Hope still remains, however, thanks to a number of important developments. These include: the growing number of countries endorsing the Humanitarian Pledge, a commitment to work together for the resolution of the nuclear arms issue; the adoption in December 2015 by the UN General Assembly of several ambitious resolutions calling for a breakthrough; and rising calls from civil society for the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons. READ IN JAPANESE

Despite Hurdles Nuclear-Weapons-Free World Not a Lost Cause

 By Jamshed Baruah

GENEVA (IDN) - The stalemate on nuclear weapons disarmament needs to be resolved amid increasing concern about the "prodigious" number of warheads still in circulation, said former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan addressing a Working Group at the UN in Geneva.

But the first session of the Open Ended Working Group on Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations (OEWG) did not come close to breaking the stalemate. The nuclear armed states did not participate in the deliberations February 22-26, though several countries relying on nuclear weapons joined. These included many NATO countries as well as Japan, South Korea and Australia.

Kazakhstan Determined to Achieve a Nuclear-Weapons Free World

By Ramesh Jaura

BERLIN | ASTANA (IDN) - Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov has urged the civil society, social movements and the public at large to support governments in achieving a nuclear-weapons-free world by 2045, when the United Nations will turn 100, and to help in the establishment of a Global Anti-Nuclear Movement,

‘Ratify Treaty to Ban Nuclear Testing Before Fatigue Creeps in’

Interview with CTBTO Chief Dr Lassina Zerbo

CTBTO Chief Lassina Zerbo | Credit: CTBTO

BERLIN | VIENNA (IDN) - Twenty years after it was opened for signature, the CTBT has come to stay as a de facto global treaty banning all nuclear testing – “if we take North Korea outside of the scope” – but Dr Zerbo Lassina wants to see it de jure because he is concerned that the longer it takes for its entry into force, the greater is the risk of a “fatigue” creeping in that could lead to people saying: “Why are we investing in something if we don’t know when the treaty will come into force?”

Rescuing Multilateral Disarmament

By Jayantha Dhanapala*

KANDY, Sri Lanka (IDN) - The International Peace Institute, since its inception as the International Peace Academy in 1970, has focused on strengthening the multilateral process in the conduct of international affairs with the United Nations as its focal point. It is appropriate that in the 70th anniversary year of our indispensable global institution, the UN, an Independent Commission on Multilateralism should be established by the IPI to address 16 topics of relevance to the global agenda.

It is a necessary corollary to the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals that the international community has agreed to pursue. I welcome especially the Commission’s choice of “Weapons of Mass Destruction, Nonproliferation and Disarmament” as one of them.