U.S. Walks Out of World Court Nicaragua Case
The United States Friday walked out of World Court hearings on charges that Washington is trying to overthrow the Nicaraguan government. Nicaragua immediately branded America an “outlaw government.”
“With great reluctance the United States has decided not to participate in further proceedings in this case,” according to a statement released by the U.S. Information Service through the U.S. Embassy in The Hague.
The case was brought before the court April 9 by Nicaragua, which charged that the United States was using force to topple the pro-Cuban Sandinista government through its mining of Nicaraguan harbors and backing of anti-Sandinista guerrillas.
Legal experts at the court said it was the first time in 15 years that a nation had quit the court while proceedings were in progress.
Statement by U.S. “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,” it added.
Carlos Arguello, Nicaraguan ambassador to the Netherlands and the chief lawyer for the Nicaraguan side, immediately denounced the U.S. move.
“My conclusion is that the new government which is going to be inaugurated in Washington Monday is an outlaw government,” he said.
“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.”
Legal experts said that from the U.N.-constituted court’s point of view, the pullout would have little practical effect on the proceedings because they will go ahead whether or not the United States defends itself.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Alan Romberg said the Nicaraguan case “presents political questions that are not susceptible to resolution by any court and that under the United Nations 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.
“When the United States accepted the court’s compulsary jurisidiction in 1946 it certainly never conceived of a role for the court in the case of ongoing armed conflicts,” Romberg said.
He emphasized that the United States is pulling out of the World Court proceedings only on the Nicaraguan issue.
Romberg said the United States has been “one of the foremost supporters” of the World Court and “will remain so where the court acts within its competence.”
The suit by Nicaragua was the first brought by a Third World nation against the United States and marked the first time the court was asked to give judgment on a conflict in progress.