US refusal to honor court ruling in Nicaragua case reflects double standards

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/7/14 16:55:52

The US refusal to implement an international court ruling 30 years ago for encroaching on Nicaragua's territorial integrity and sovereignty showed Washington's double standards in international law, experts said.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), based in The Hague, issued a ruling to order the United States in 1986 to pay reparations to Nicaragua for training, arming and financing Contra rebels and mining Nicaraguan ports.


Nicaragua, located in the northern part of Central America, became home to a puppet regime under the US control after Liberal President Jose Santos Zelaya was forced out of office and Juan Jose Estrada became president with the official recognition of the United States in 1910.

In 1979, forces led by the Sandinita National Liberation Front (FSLN) overthrew the dictatorial regime of the pro-American Somoza family, which was founded by Anastasio Somoza in 1936 and fueled by US funds.

The change provoked strong reaction from the United States and the US Central Intelligence Agency began to interfere in Nicaragua's internal affairs by supporting anti-government forces to topple the Sandinista government.

The US interference in Nicaragua was reinforced in 1984. From the beginning of that year, the United States laid mines in several Nicaraguan ports. In more than three months, many merchant ships from the Netherlands, the Soviet Union and Japan were destroyed by the mines and Nicaragua's imports and exports were totally stagnated.

In April 1984, the Nicaraguan government brought the case to the ICJ accusing the United States of interfering in its internal affairs.

On June 27, 1986, the ICJ ruled that the US acts of laying mines in Nicaraguan ports violated U.N. conventions and the United States should stop its illegal acts and pay reparations to Nicaragua. But Washington refused to implement the ruling.


Thirty years have passed, but the United States has never expressed any regret about the crimes it committed in Nicaragua, not to mention paying any reparations.

Jose Figueroa, a senator from the ruling FSLN, told Xinhua recently that the US invasion caused great damage to the Nicaraguan economy and society, and the debt the United States owed Nicaragua always exists.

Miguel D'escoto Brockmann, former president of the U.N. General Assembly, said in a recent statement that the biggest fruit the case yielded was unveiling the US double standards in international law.

Brockmann's viewpoint was echoed by Carlos Garcia, former Nicaraguan ambassador to Mozambique and former president of Nicaragua's state news agency.

If the law conforms to the interests of the United States and its allies, Washington will persuade its allies to bring bilateral contradiction to an international court; if the law is not in their interests, Washington will immediately change its attitude, ignoring any court ruling or arbitral award and putting its code of conduct above international law, Garcia said.

On the South China Sea dispute between China and the Philippines, Garcia said the dispute was actually part of the US policy of rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific, and was "ridiculous and contradictory."

Garcia said China and the Philippines should solve their disputes on the basis of bilateral negotiation and should not let the South China Sea issue become Washington's political bargaining chip.

Noting the slow development of the Nicaraguan economy due to the US interference in Central America in the 1980s, Garcia said the US meddling in the South China Sea issue will only make it more complicate.

"Both the Chinese and the Philippine peoples should not become the victim of the US conspiracy," Garcia said.

Observers said that the arbitration over the South China Sea issue is part of the "lawfare" that the United States has waged against China, by manipulating lawsuits and legal systems to tarnish China's claims and rights.

Although the arbitration was initiated by the Aquino III administration in 2013, US support and abetment were crucial to its being carried forward. The 3,000-page documents that the Philippines handed over to the tribunal were compiled with the help of US legal experts who also participated in the process of deliberations.

The tribunal, The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration, handling the South China Sea case unilaterally initiated by the former Philippine government issued its final award on Tuesday, sweepingly side with the Philippines.

Posted in: Viewpoint

blog comments powered by Disqus