The A-Bomb Tribunal

The International People’s Tribunal to hold the U.S. accountable

for dropping Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Plaintiffs : Korean Atomic Bomb victims)


Purpose

The A-Bomb Tribunal(2026, New York)  has the primary purpose of restoring the collapsed historical justice by holding the U.S. legally responsible for the atomic bombings of 1945, and restoring the human rights of Korean atomic bomb victims who were affected by Japanese colonial rule and the U.S. atomic bombings.


The A-Bomb Tribunal aims to establish the illegality of the U.S. atomic bombings in 1945 to secure the basis for condemning all nuclear threats and use as illegal today. The fact that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were illegal under the international laws in 1945 means that the use and threat of nuclear weapons today are also illegal.


The A-Bomb Tribunal aims to overcome the nuclear deterrence theory that justifies the use and threat of nuclear weapons by nuclear-weapon states, and contribute to the realization of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and a nuclear-free world. 



Background

The efforts to hold the accountability for the 1945 U.S. atomic bombings began with the appeal from the victims during the 9th NPT Review Conference in April 2015. Shim Jin-tae and Kim Bong-dae (Kim Hyeong-ryul's father), jointly appealed to representatives of peace organizations from various countries to join in holding the U.S. government responsible for the atomic bombings.


Kim Hyeong-ryul dedicated his life to investigating and raising awareness about the long-term effects of atomic bomb exposure on the second generation of A-bomb victims. He played a significant role in advocating for the importance of holding the U.S. accountable, thereby inspring the first-generation victims to take action in seeking accountability from the U.S. government.



Preparation 

The preparations for the People's Tribunal on 1945 US atomic bombings began following the Korean-Japanese Anti-Nuclear Peace Forum held in Seoul in June 2019. Initially Korean A-bomb victims considered filing lawsuits directly in the U.S. but encountered significant legal barriers. Therefore, they decided to first organize a people's tribunal before seeking legal action.


From 2020 to the present, victims participating as plaintiffs, scholars, researchers, and activists have conducted approximately 36 seminars. Currently, 141 individuals and organizations are participating as members of the International People's Tribunal Preparation Committee. As part of the people's tribunal preparations, promotional activities have been carried out to raise awareness of the voices of Korean A-bomb victims, including testimonial sessions and other events.



Timeline

Preliminary international forums are being held for the A-Bomb Tribunal. The purpose of the forums is to establish legal grounds to define the U.S. atomic bombings as illegal acts. This will enable the A-Bomb Tribunal to bring charges based on a solid legal basis and to issue a ruling that the U.S. nuclear bombings of 1945 were illegal.


Under the premise that the international legal basis for condemning the U.S. atomic bombings of 1945 as illegal will be secured through two forums, the A-Bomb Tribunal is aiming to be held in New York in 2026 with Korean atomic bomb victims of the first generation as plaintiffs.

  • The First International Forum : June 2023, Hapcheon, South Korea
  • The Second International Forum : June 2024, Hiroshima, Japan
  • The International People's Tribunal on 1945 US Atomic Bombings : May 2026, New York, USA