The US Intervention in Nicaragua (1981–8)
Tom Ruys, Olivier Corten (eds), International Law on the Use of Force: A Case Based Approach (Oxford: Oxford University Press, Forthcoming)
18 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2017
Date Written: June 8, 2017
This is a case study of the US intervention in Nicaragua from 1981 to approximately 1988, as a contribution to the state practice on the law on the use of force and the right to self-defence under both UN Charter and customary law. As it is a chapter in Corten and Ruys’ forthcoming book ‘International Law on the Use of Force’, it follows the structure of that volume: Section 1 gives an overview of the background of the so-called ‘Contra War’ and provides the salient facts regarding the US intervention in that conflict. Section 2 discusses the positions of the two parties on the facts and law, and notes the reaction of the international community, in this case focussing on the debates at the UN.
Section 3 discusses the legality of the operation. The paramount importance of the ICJ’s 1986 judgment on the merits in ‘Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua’ means that a discussion of the Court’s holdings forms the backbone of the discussion there, while taking note of dissent and comment both inside and outside the Court. Section 4 concludes by discussing the precedential value and effect of this conflict, and of the ICJ case.
Keywords: ICJ, Nicaragua, use of force, self-defence, Article 51, Article 2(4), United States, armed attack, Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua, Schwebel, Jennings
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