23 Apr 2007

Marshall Islands lawsuit before U.S. Federal Court of Claims

7:53 pm on 23 April 2007

Lawyers for the Marshall Islands atolls of Bikini and Enewetak are to appear in the U.S. Federal Court of Claims tomorrow over their lawsuit pressing for the U.S. to pay up over nuclear compensation.

The U.S. government has filed a motion to dismiss the case which the judge will consider during tiomorrow's hearing.

The trust liaison officer for Bikini Atoll, Jack Niedenthal, says the Marshall Islands Nuclear Claims tribunal awarded the two atolls hundreds of millions of dollars for the nuclear tests the U.S. conducted.

He says the U.S. set up the tribunal so it should be provided with sufficient funds to meet the awards which it has been unable to do.

Mr Niedenthal says they're pinning they're hopes on the judge allowing the lawsuit to proceed.

"If we survive this motion to dismiss and then there may be a motion for summary judgement by the U.S., but if we survive either one of these motions, then the U.S. is going to want to negotiate because I have a feeling they're going to know tbey're going to lose this lawsuit. If we lose and they do dismiss our case, then we're just back to banging the tin cup in front of Congress."

Mr Niedenthal says he expects the decision to be handed down within a couple of months.