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Context of '1987: UN Calls on US to Pay Reparations to Nicaragua'

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President Reagan unilaterally withdraws the US from the 1956 Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation Treaty with Nicaragua. He also ends the US’s acceptance of compulsory jurisdiction for disputes heard by the UN International Court of Justice, which had cited the treaty in a ruling against the US over its mining of Nicaraguan harbors. The actions are well beyond any presidential powers granted by the Constitution, but neither Congress nor the media raise any serious objections. (Savage 2007, pp. 354)

Nicaragua appeals to the World Court in The Hague to end US efforts to destabilize its government. The court rules in its favor, ordering America to end its interventionist policy in Nicaragua and to pay massive reparations. (De Ligny 6/27/1986; Keen 1992, pp. 459) The court does not specify an amount; however, Nicaraguan legal experts estimate that reparations, including interest, would be as much as $17.8 billion. (Norsworthy and Barry 1990, pp. 59; Uhlig 9/30/1990; Jones 9/13/2002) America immediately rejects the World Court’s ruling. (Gedda 6/27/1986)

The UN General Assembly calls on the US to comply with the International Court of Justice’s judgment that the US pay Nicaragua reparations (see June 27, 1986). The US continues to ignore the ruling. The UN will repeat its demand the following year. (United Nations 7/27/1986; United Nations 11/12/1987)


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