In June 1986 the international Court of Justice (ICJ) rule d that the United States had violated international laws against the aggressive use of force, in that it trained, armed, and supported the contras against Nicaragua. The U.S. appeared in the forum to contest the ICJ ‘s jurisdiction, 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 , all prior commitments to the contrary.
Shortly after the ICJ decision, Congress appropriated $100 million in aid to the contras. The CCR brought suit on behalf of the Committee of U.S. Citizens Living in Nicaragua (CUSCLIN), asserting that their lives were endangered by the influx of such support. Plaintiffs argued that U.S. aid openly violated a binding order of the lCJ and contravened due process of law. The district court dismissed the case as a “political question” in February 1987. On appeal, the court of appeals affirmed, but stated that some violations of international law by Congress and the President might be actionable.
David Cole, Michael Ratner, with CCR cooperating attorney Jules Lobel