Nicaragua v. United States: Reparations and Abuse of Process


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Nicaragua has revived a claim against the United States for compensation in amounts of $17 billion for reparations in 2017. The International Court of Justice has declared that the country is under and obligation to ensure reparations are made to the Republic of Nicaragua due to injury caused.

Breaches from obligations owed to the country of Nicaragua occurred with the United States that caused an issuance of reparations in monetary value through international law. Because of these breaches, the Court has decided that the type of and amount of reparation will be judged and awarded based on what is found by the Court. However, in 1991 this process was halted when Nicaragua officials discontinued the proceedings. With the renewal of these efforts in 2017, it appears either the same authorities or new persons have determined that reparations should be paid. This falls on newer administration, and finalizing the judgment and awards may be more difficult.

Political negotiations were left open to resolve these reparation matters. However, with no time restrictions in place, the compensation claim may proceed even 30 years after the initial judgment. The Court has explained that the claims may be reopened with validity, and the proceedings may begin again at any time. However, it is possible that a time limit may be fixed for the negotiations in reparations or if these fail. Based on other court cases in the Congo, if a political settlement cannot be finalized, proceedings may be reopened for a resolution to the matter.

Difficulties in Negotiations

Many reparations that are owed to various countries rely on negotiations to ensure that payment or some settlement is provided based on injuries and economic damage that has been sustained. When no time limit has been placed on the case, it is possible for future authorities to bring the issue forward decades later. New communications with different persons of power in the White House and administration may require the negotiations and settlement of the issue to be resolved. If the country has fallen on harder times, the judgment may restore order. Justice is necessary for some officials, and even though numerous years have passed, some feel it is necessary for reparations to be satisfied eventually.

When time constraints are not placed on finalizing these matters, they may last for decades until a court changes this. Sometimes, the need to postpone reparations and judgment for monetary compensation is due to political unrest or complications. However if international law of human rights and of international humanitarian law are grossly violated or broken multiple times, it is important to settle the concern with swift action. There should be a time limitation for negotiating a settlement and resolution of the matter so reparations may be made appropriately. This gives closure to the government and affected individuals harmed through human rights violations.

United States and Nicaragua Judgments

The different government powers may be at odds when attempting to close negotiations for the open judgment still needing reparations to complete the previous decision for Nicaragua. The type of settlement, amount of compensation necessary and any sanctions or other penalties are supplied by the Court in these matters. However, due to the previous discontinuance of the case, the claim may be more complicated than it appears to be. No communication was received by the United States for the 1990 judgment letter, and this led to keeping the matter open until both agencies are able to complete the negotiations.

More complications exist due to the official recording of discontinuance of the court proceedings for Nicaragua in 1991. The language in the communication received from authorities in the country appear to renounce all possible right of action based on the specifics of the case as well as reparations for these human rights violations. The decision to reopen the request for reparations boggles the minds of experts tasked with understanding how these proceedings shall continue. The claim for compensation against the United States may be more difficult to complete. Another judge and lawyer could be necessary for progressing through the current matters of both countries.

Legal Help for Nicaragua

There may be certain stipulations in place for reparations to be paid through compensation owed to Nicaragua for violations of human rights and similar offenses. However, it is important that a lawyer is involved to understand exactly what this entails. The rights of individual citizens are affected by these matters, and legal representation is essential to proceed and resolve this concern.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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