The United States, charging political misuse of the World Court, today walked out of proceedings on Nicaraguan complaints that Washington was trying to topple the Sandinista government, and the State Department said it will boycott future proceedings in the case.
Nicaragua reacted immediately by branding the Reagan Administration an "international delinquent."
"With great reluctance the United States has decided not to participate in further proceedings in this case," said a statement released by the U.S. Embassy in the Hague.
The case was brought before the court April 9, 1984, by Nicaragua, which charged that the United States was using force to topple the Managua government through its mining of Nicaraguan harbors and backing of anti-Sandinista guerrillas.
"The United States has consistently taken the position that the proceedings initiated by Nicaragua in the International Court of Justice are a misuse of the court for political purposes and that the court lacks jurisdiction and competence over such a case," the U.S. statement said.
"The court's decision of Nov. 26, 1984, finding that it had jurisdiction is contrary to law and fact," the statement added.
"My conclusion is that the new government which is going to be inaugurated in Washington Monday is an outlaw government," said Carlos Arguello, Nicaraguan ambassador to the Netherlands and chief lawyer for the Nicaraguan side.
"The first public decision of the new (U.S.) government is to reaffirm the policy of the Reagan Administration of violating international law, making the government of the United States an international delinquent," Arguello said.
In Washington, a State Department deputy assistant secretary, Alan Romberg, said the Nicaraguan case "presents political questions that are not susceptible to resolution by any court and that under the U.N. charter are specifically not intended for the World Court."
"The broad political, economic, social and security problems of Central America will be solved only by political and diplomatic means--not through a judicial tribunal," he said. "When the United States accepted the court's compulsory jurisdiction in 1946, it certainly never conceived of a role for the court in the case of ongoing armed conflicts."
He emphasized that the United States was only pulling out of the World Court proceedings on the Nicaraguan issue.