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Posted by on Jun 15, 2015 in General News

Nuclear Zero Lawsuits Update from Rick Wayman, NAPF Director of Programs


As many of you know, the recent Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference ended on May 22 without a final consensus outcome document. The language about nuclear disarmament that was in the draft final document was disappointing and weak, to the chagrin of many non-nuclear weapon states.

Throughout the four-week Review Conference, the P5 nations (United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France and China) made it clear that they plan to continue to rely on nuclear weapons into the indefinite future. Some of these countries also argued that their programs to “modernize” their nuclear arsenals are in fact completely in line with their obligations under Article VI of the NPT.

The disingenuous behavior of the P5 reinforces the importance of the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits. With your continued support, the lawsuits against the United States in U.S. Federal Court and against the United Kingdom, India and Pakistan at the International Court of Justice will proceed, and the Marshall Islands will continue fighting for complete nuclear disarmament.

There are a few updates that I wanted to share with you today.

  1. The Marshall Islands and the NPT in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Robert Alvarez recently published a strong article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists about the Marshall Islands’ experiences with U.S. nuclear testing and their current efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament through the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits.

You can read the full article here.


  1. Tony de Brum’s Speech at the NPT Review Conference

Tony de Brum, Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands, spoke on the opening day of the NPT Review Conference. He said, “There may be different avenues towards on achieving a world without nuclear weapons — but our worst fear is merely continuing the status quo – seeing no meaningful answer at all. Perpetuating the status quo, patting ourselves on the back and expecting accolades for making zero progress at this NPT Review Conference is totally unacceptable to all peoples and all nations. Surely we can, and must do better.”

To read his full speech, click here.


  1. Schedule for the U.S. Lawsuit

The Marshall Islands and their legal team are working diligently on the brief to be filed on July 13 in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. They are appealing the February decision of a lower court to dismiss the lawsuit.

The United States will then have one month to reply. After the U.S. brief is filed, the Marshall Islands will then have two weeks to file a reply brief. If the timeline goes according to the current schedule, all briefs will be filed by the end of August.

We will be in touch in the coming weeks with some ideas of what your organization can do to help promote the case as things progress in the Ninth Circuit. In the meantime, some allied organizations are working to prepare amicus curiae briefs in support of the Marshall Islands’ case, which are due on July 20. If you are interested in pursuing this opportunity, please contact me directly at It is a challenging task, but one that can be very rewarding.


  1. General Lee Butler

While this item does not relate directly to the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits, I think that it really helps to illustrate why this work is so important. General Lee Butler was head of United States Strategic Command from 1991-94. Soon after his retirement in 1994, he began speaking out for nuclear weapons abolition. He has been largely silent on the issue for the past decade, until now.

Earlier this year, NAPF volunteer Robert Kazel met with Lee Butler to conduct an in-depth interview. To read the interview in its entirety, click here.


Rick Wayman NAPF Director of Programs