13 Apr 2006

Nuclear-affected Marshall Islands community expect tough US fight over lawsuit

3:50 pm on 13 April 2006

A community in the Marshall Islands expects its law suit against the US government to be vigorously fought on the grounds of the country's 1985 Compact of Free Association with the US.

60 years after they were moved by the U.S Navy for nuclear weapons testing in their atoll, Bikini Islanders have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims seeking more than 560 million US dollars.

The Bikinians are asking the court to order the U.S. government to pay a nuclear test compensation award approved but unpaid by a Nuclear Claims Tribunal in 2001.

However Bikini liaison Jack Niedenthal says the US are expected to fall back on the 1985 Compact, where the Marshalls government agreed to espouse all such claims out of the US courts.

"We're seeking compensation under the fifth amendment of the US Constitution for the taking of our property and the damages resulting from the US government's failure and refusal to fund the Tribunal. We worked really hard on that and even though I think it's really good it's still going to be a very tough fight."

Bikini liaison Jack Niedenthal.