On June 27, 1986, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the United Stlates had violated international laws against the aggressive use of force in that it trained, armed, and supported the contras against Nicaragua. The U.S. had litigated the issue of the ICJ’s jurisdiction in that forum, but after the court ruled that it had jurisdiction, the U.S. announced that it would not abide by the court’s decision on the merits despite a prior commitment to the contrary.
Shortly after the ICJ decision, Congress appropriated $100 million in aid to the contras. The CCR brought suit on behalf of U.S. citizens living in Nicaragua who asserted that their lives were endangered by the influx of U.S. support to the contras. The plaintiffs argue that U.S. aid openly violates a binding order of the ICJ and its provision contravenes due process of law.
The district court dismissed the case as a “political question” in February 1987. An appeal to the District of Columbia Circuit wasfiled. In April, Benjamin Linder, one of the plaintiffs who had alleged that his life was in danger, was killed by the contras. The appeal is pending.
Michael Ratner; David Cole, with CCR cooperating attorney Jules Lobel