9. U.S. REFUSES TO ABIDE BY INTERNATIONAL COURT OF
While the press has well publicized the Third World
debt to United States bankers, it has not similarly covered a multi-billion dollar
debt the United States may owe Nicaragua.
The U.S. faces the possibility of a multi-billion dollar damage award
as a result of its involvement in the contra war in Nicaragua. The World
Court of the United Nations, otherwise known as the International Court
of Justice, passed down a ruling finding the United States in violation
of international law as a result of the Reagan admin-istration's support
of the contra war effort.
As a result, the U.S. may have to pay billions of dollars in reparations
for damages caused in Nicaragua. At the same time, it is suffering the
loss of international credibility because of its noncompliance with
third party adjud-ication by the World Court. New York Congressman Ted
Weiss, speaking in the House of Representatives on October 21, 1988,
tried to warn the nation of the danger of ignoring the court's ruling
when he said "Mr. Speaker, the Reagan administration's decision
to withdraw from the World Court's compulsory jurisdiction violated
a solid policy of support over the past four decades."
crucial significance in the international judicial dispute is Article 94 of the
UN Charter which provides that each member agrees "to comply with the decision
of the International Court in any case to which it is a party."
Meyer, a civil rights historian and former Special Assistant to U.S. Attorney
General Francis Biddle, claims the principle of third party adjudication traditionally
has been upheld by the United States until our diplomatic officers walked out
and refused to negotiate with the Nicaraguan representatives.
In full view
of the world, the U.S. is facing charges of hypocrisy for its failure to uphold
its own most cherished values of adherence to the rule of law.
refusal of Washington to deal constructively with the World Court can only lead
our foreign allies and enemies alike to conclude that America submits itself to
decisions of the world court only when the decisions are in favor of its own national
interest. While the rest of the world may perceive the United States as an "international
outlaw" for its failure to respond to the World Court, the American people
are barely aware of the dispute. As Howard Meyer says "If you know that the
case at the Hague (where the World Court sits) between U.S. and Nicaragua is still
very much alive, it will not be because you read it in or heard it from any of
the media." However, it surely would make headlines if, one day, the protection
ordinarily given vulnerable U.S. assets overseas under "sovereign immunity"
are stripped in order to pay the reparations cited by the World Court.
THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, 9/25/88, "U.S. Snub of World Court Won't Avert Day
of Reckoning," by Howard N. Meyer, Part V, p 5; CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, 10/21/88,
"The World Court," by Hon. Ted Weiss, pp E3691-E3693; OUR RIGHT TO KNOW,
Summer 1988, "The World Court and Nicaragua," by Howard N. Meyers, pp