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NICARAGUA VS UNITED STATED 1986

Facts of the Case:


In July 1979 the Government of President Somoza collapsed following an armed
opposition led by the Frente Sandinista de Liberacibn Nacional (FSLN). The new
government installed by FSLN began to meet armed opposition from supporters of the
former Somoza Government and ex-members of the National Guard. The US initially
supportive of the new government changed its attitude when, according to the United
States, it found that Nicaragua was providing logistical support and weapons to guerrillas in
El Salvador. In April 1981 it terminated United States aid to Nicaragua and in September
1981, according to Nicaragua, the United States decided to plan and undertake activities
directed against Nicaragua.
The armed opposition to the new Government was conducted mainly by
(1) Fuerza Democratica Nicaragense (FDN), which operated along the border with
Honduras, and (2) Alianza Revolucionaria Democratica (ARDE), which operated along the
border with Costa Rica, (see map of the region). Initial US support to these groups fighting
against the Nicaraguan Government (called contras) was covert. Later, the United
States officially acknowledged its support (for example: In 1983 budgetary legislation
enacted by the United States Congress made specific provision for funds to be used by
United States intelligence agencies for supporting directly or indirectly military or
paramilitary operations in Nicaragua).
Nicaragua also alleged that the United States is effectively in control of the contras, the
United States devised their strategy and directed their tactics and that they were paid for
and directly controlled by United States personal. Nicaragua also alleged that some attacks
were carried out by United States military with the aim to overthrow the Government of
Nicaragua. Attacks against Nicaragua included the mining of Nicaraguan ports and attacks
on ports, oil installations and a naval base. Nicaragua alleged that aircrafts belonging to the
United States flew over Nicaraguan territory to gather intelligence, supply to the contras in
the field and to intimidate the population.
The United States did not appear before the ICJ at the merit stages, after refusing to accept
the ICJs jurisdiction to decide the case. The United States at the jurisdictional phase of the
hearing, however, stated that it relied on an inherent right of collective self-defence
guaranteed in A. 51 of the UN Charter by providing, upon request, proportionate and
appropriate assistance to Costa Rica, Honduras and El Salvador in response to
Nicaraguas alleged acts aggression against those countries (paras. 126, 128).
Questions before the Court:

Did the United States breach its customary international law obligation not to
intervene in the affairs of another State when it trained, armed, equipped and
financed the contra forces or encouraged, supported and aided the military and
paramilitary activities against Nicaragua?

Did the United States breach its customary international law obligation not to use
force against another State when it directly attacked Nicaragua in 1983 1984 and
when its activities in bullet point 1 above resulted in the use of force?

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If so, can the military and paramilitary activities that the United States undertook in
and against Nicaragua be justified as collective self-defence?

Did the United States breach its customary international law obligation not to
violate the sovereignty of another State when it directed or authorized its aircrafts
to fly over Nicaraguan territory and by acts referred to in bullet point 2 above?

Did the United States breach its customary international law obligations not to
violate the sovereignty of another State, not to intervene in its affairs, not to use
force against another State and not to interrupt peaceful maritime commerce when
it laid mines in the internal waters and the territorial sea of Nicaragua?

ICJ decision: The United States violated customary international law in relation to bullet
points 1, 2, 4 and 5 above. On bullet point 3, the Court found that the United States could
not rely on collective self-defence to justify its use of force against Nicaragua.

NICARAGUA VS UNITED STATES: AN


ANALYSIS OF JURISPRUDENCE ON
CUSTOMARY INTERNATIONAL LAW
Case: Case Concerning the Military and Paramilitary Activities In and Against
Nicaragua (Nicaragua vs United States)
Year of Decision: 1986. Court: ICJ.
NB: This blog post will discuss only the courts deliberations on customary
international law.For a brief summary of the facts and matters on the definition of an
armed attack, use of force, self-defense and intervention, the reader is referred to a
previous post.
Overview: The case involved military and paramilitary activities conducted by, or with the
assistance of, the United States against Nicaragua from 1981 to 1984. Due to a
multilateral treaty reservation of the United States (hereinafter called the
Vandenberg reservation), the Court was compelled to base its findings only on
customary and general principles of international law. As a result, the Nicaragua case
developed significant jurisprudence on clarifying customary international law on the use of
force and non-intervention, elements necessary to form customary international law and the
relationship between the latter and treaty law. Controversial aspects of the decision
included the courts methodology used to determine that the principle of non-intervention
had attained customary law status, the courts reliance on UN resolutions as a source of
opinio juris and the courts reliance on multilateral treaties to determine customary
international law in face of the Vandenberg reservation.

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Recommendation: The Nicaragua case contains in-depth discussions on the relationship


between treaty and customary international law. Students may wish to read this post on the
relationship before reading the synopsis of the case.

In the Nicaragua case, the ICJ discussed:

The competence of the ICJ to give its determination based on customary international
law in the face of the Vandenberg reservation of the United States.

The relationship between treaty law and customary international law.

Elements of customary international law.

The prohibition on the use of force as a jus cogens norm.

Customary international law status of the principle of non-intervention.

The competence of the ICJ to give its determination based on customary


international law
1. The United States when accepting the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ (under Article
36(2) of the ICJ Statute) entered into the Vandenberg reservation. This reservation
barred the ICJ from using certain multilateral treaties in the adjudication of the dispute.
2. The United States held that this reservation barred the Court from determining the case
even on the basis of customary and general principles of international law because
customary law provisions, on which Nicaragua relied on, were identical to provisions in
treaties sought to be excluded. Because of the identical content, the United States argued,
treaty provisions supervene and subsume the parallel customary law provision (see below).
3. The Court disagreed. It held that multilateral treaty reservations could not
preclude the Court from determining cases relying customary international law
because the latter exists independently of treaty law.
NB: The United States disagreed with the Courts determination to proceed with the case
and refused to participate further, including at the merits stage (see the declaration made
by the United States in this regard). Although the Court was barred from resorting to
multilateral treaties, it referred to the latter, including the UN Charter, to identify the
existence, nature and scope of various customary law principles. Commentators criticised
the Court for circumventing the multilateral reservation in this manner.

Relationship between treaty law and customary international law


4. As we noted before, the United States argued that when customary international law and
treaty law contain the same content; the treaty law subsumes and supervenes customary
international law. In other words, the existence of principles in the United Nations Charter
precludes the possibility that similar rules might exist independently in customary
international law, either because existing customary rules had been incorporated into the

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Charter, or because the Charter influenced the later adoption of customary rules with a
corresponding content (para 174).
5. In its response, the Court distinguished two situations:
(a)

Situations where the customary law principles were identical to treaty provisions; and

(b)
Situations where customary law and treaty law rights and obligations differed in
respect of the same subject matter.
6. In situations where customary law principles were identical to treaty provisions
(reflected as (a) above), the Court, quite correctly, disagreed with the view of the United
States. It held that even if principles of customary international law are codified into treaties,
the former continues to exist side by side with the latter. For treaty parties, both customary
and treaty law apply and if, for some reason, the treaty ceases to apply the identical
customary law provision continues to apply between them unaffected (see more on para
178).
7. The fact that customary international law exists alongside treaty law was an argument
brought by Norway and Denmark in the North Sea Continental Shelf Cases. In these cases,
the two countries having failed to attribute an obligation under Article 6 of the Geneva
Conventions of 1958 to Germany, sought to bind Germany via customary international law.
In this case the Court determined that Article 6 neither reflected customary law at the time
of the codification, nor had it attained that status at the time of the determination. In
the Nicaragua case, the Court relied on the North Sea Continental Shelf Cases to support the
assertion that principles of customary international law can exist side by side with identical
treaty law provisions and the latter does not supervene the former in a manner where the
former ceases to exist (para 177).
8. The Court also relied on Article 51 of the UN Charter to show that a treaty itself can
recognise the existence of customary international law on the same subject matter. The
term inherent in Article 51 recognised that customary law rights of self-defense existed
alongside treaty provisions.
9. Rules containing the same content could be treated differently in customary international
law and in treaty law. For example, treaty law may contain institutions or mechanisms to
ensure the effective implementation of its provisions, including those that reflect customary
law. One could take the Courts reading of Article 51 as an example. A State that exercises
the right of self-defense under Article 51, according to the UN Charter, has an obligation
to report the use of force immediately to the Security Council . The Court held that this was a
treaty requirement and one that did not exist under customary law. Interestingly, although
the failure to report did not result in a breach of customary international law, the Court
indicated that the United States failure to observe this requirement contradicted her claim
to be acting in self-defense (see paras 200, 235).
10. The Court discussed situations where customary international law and treaty law
provisions were not identical (see point (b) above). For example, the Court referred to the
fact that concepts such and necessity and proportionality, or the definition of what
constitutes an armed attack, are not found under Article 51, or the UN Charter, but in
customary law. The Court concluded that (1) this proves that customary international law
continues to exist alongside treaty law and that (2) areas governed by the two sources of
law do not (always) overlap and the rules do not (always) have the same content.

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the Charter, having itself recognized the existence of this right (inherent customary law
right of self-defense under A. 51 of the UN Charter), does not go on to regulate directly all
aspects of its content. For example, it does not contain any specific rule whereby s elfdefense would warrant only measures which are proportional to the armed attack and
necessary to respond to it, a rule well established in customary international law. Moreover,
a definition of the armed attack which, if found to exist, authorizes the exercise of the
inherent right of self-defense, is not provided in the Charter, and is not part of treaty law.
It cannot therefore be held that Article 51 is a provision which subsumes and
supervenes customary international law.
11. In case of a divergence between treaty law and customary international law, for the
parties to the treaty, amongst themselves, the treaty provisions apply as lex specialis. (Lex
specialis is a Latin phrase which means law governing a specific subject matter. It comes from
the legal maxim lex specialis derogat legi generali The doctrine states that a law governing a specific
subject matter overrides a law that only governs general matters.) The courts support for this

principle can be found in paras 180 and 181. The Court, in conclusion, explained the
relationship between the UN Charter and customary international law in the following
manner:
However, so far from having constituted a marked departure from a customary
international law which still exists unmodified, the Charter gave expression in this field (on
the use of force and self-defense) to principles already present in customary international
law, and that law has in the subsequent four decades developed under the influence of the
Charter, to such an extent that a number of rules contained in the Charter have acquired a
status independent of it. The essential consideration is that both the Charter and the
customary international law flow from a common fundamental principle outlawing the use of
force in international relations. The differences which may exist between the specific content
of each are not, in the Courts view, such as to cause a judgment confined to the field of
customary international law to be ineffective or inappropriate (to the parties of the Charter
who are bound by the Charter) (text in brackets added)(para 181).

The relationship between customary international law and jus cogens


13. The court cited material presented by Nicaragua, the United States and the International
Law Commission to argue that the prohibition on the use of force contained in Article 2(4) of
the UN Charter has attained the status of a jus cogens norm. The Court found this to be A
further confirmation of the validity as customary international law of the principle of the
prohibition of the use of force expressed in Article 2, paragraph 4, of the Charter of the
United Nations (para 190).

The necessary elements to determine the existence of customary


international law
14. The Court, similar to the North Sea Continental Shelf Case, considered both the
subjective element (opinio juris) and the objective element (State practice) as essential prerequisites to the formation and elucidation of a customary international law norm (para 207).
The jurisprudence of the Nicaragua case contained an important clarification inconsistent
State practice does not affect the formation or continued existence of a
customary principle so long as the inconsistency is justified as a breach of the rule.
It is not to be expected that in the practice of States the application of the rules in question
should have been perfect, in the sense that States should have refrained, with complete
consistency, from the use of force or from intervention in each others internal affairs.

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The Court does not consider that, for a rule to be established as customary, the
corresponding practice must be in absolutely rigorous conformity with the rule. In order to
deduce the existence of customary rules, the Court deems it sufficient that the conduct of
States should, in general, be consistent with such rules, and that instances of
State conduct inconsistent with a given rule should generally have been treated
as breaches of that rule, not as indications of the recognition of a new rule.
If a State acts in a way prima facie incompatible with a recognized rule, but defends its
conduct by appealing to exceptions or justifications contained within the rule itself, then
whether or not the States conduct is in fact justifiable on that basis, the significance of that
attitude is to confirm rather than to weaken the rule. (para 186)
15. The Nicaragua jurisprudence explained how one could deduct opinio juris from acts of
State. The Court held that opinio juris could be deduced from:
the attitude of States towards certain General Assembly resolutions. For example, the
Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations (hereafter
called the Declaration on Friendly Relations). The Court held that:
The effect of consent to the text of such resolutions cannot be understood as merely that of
a reiteration or elucidation of the treaty commitment undertaken in the Charter. On the
contrary, it may be understood as an acceptance of the validity of the rule or set of rules
declared by the resolution by themselvesIt would therefore seem apparent that the
attitude referred to expresses an opinio juris respecting such rule (or set of rules), to be
thenceforth treated separately from the provisions, especially those of an institutional kind,
to which it is subject on the treaty-law plane of the Charter
Statements by State representatives.
Obligations undertaken by participating States in international forums (the Court provided
the example of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, Helsinki)
The International Law Commissions findings that a concept amounts to a customary law
principle.
Multilateral conventions.
NB: The fact that the Court relied on resolutions of the United Nations to deduct opinio juris
was subject to criticism. As you know, opinio juris is the subjective element necessary to
form customary law. Opinio juris is reflected in instances where the State undertakes a
particular practice because it believes that it is legally bound to do so. Voting patterns in the
United Nations are often guided by policy considerations over legal merits. The General
Assemblys subject matter is more policy oriented than legal (for which we have the 6th
Committee). For example, when the United States voted for the Friendly Relations
Declaration it stated on record its belief that the Declaration was only a statement of
political intention and not an expression of the law. This is not to say that provisions on
General Assembly Resolutions that guide the international community to act in a certain
way may not eventually become binding international law (either by attaining customary
law status or becoming codified into treaty law). It can, if there is adequate State practice
and opinio juris. The argument is that opinio juris cannot be said to exist based merely on a
vote in favour of a non-binding resolution in the absence of an examination of subsequent
consistent and general State practice (which, in turn, reflects or confirms opinio juris).

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Customary international law relating to principles of non-intervention


16. The Court held that Principles such as those of the non-use of force (para 191), nonintervention (para 192), respect for the independence and territorial integrity of States, right
of collective self-defense (para 193) and the freedom of navigation, continue to be binding
as part of customary international law, despite the operation of provisions of conventional
law in which they have been incorporated (text in brackets added).
17. The Courts finding that principle of non-intervention formed a part of customary
international law invited criticism from commentators, partly because they disagreed that
the principle formed customary international law and partly because of the Courts own
contradictions in coming to its conclusions and inadequacy of analysis (see below). The
Courts contradiction stems from this statement: The principle of non-intervention involves
the right of every sovereign State to conduct its affairs without outside interference;
though examples of trespass against this principle are not infrequent, the
Court considers that it is part and parcel of customary international
law(emphasis added. Para 202).
18. The Court began its analysis with two questions: Notwithstanding the multiplicity of
declarations by States accepting the principle of non-intervention, there remain two
questions: first, what is the exact content of the principle so accepted, and secondly, is the
practice sufficiently in conformity with it for this to be a rule of customary
international law? The first question was discussed in a previous post and will not be
discussed here.
18. Although the question seemed to direct the Court towards identifying an existing
custom, in its response the Court seemed to have already determined that the customary
law prohibition of non-intervention existed. In the following passage the Court deliberates if,
in contrast, a customary law right to intervention had evolved.
There have been in recent years a number of instances of foreign intervention for the
benefit of forces opposed to the government of another State. The Court is not here
concerned with the process of decolonisation It has to consider whether there might be
indications of a practice illustrative of belief in a kind of general right for States to intervene,
directly or indirectly, with or without armed force, in support of an internal opposition in
another State, whose cause appeared particularly worthy by reason of the political and
moral values with which it was identified. For such a general right to come into existence
would involve a fundamental modification of the customary law principle of nonintervention. (paras 206, 207).
19. The Court went on to hold, as before, that for a new customary rule to be formed, not
only must the acts concerned amount to a settled practice, but they must be accompanied
by the opinio juris sive necessitates.
The significance for the Court of cases of State conduct prima facie inconsistent with the
principle of non-intervention lies in the nature of the ground offered as justification. Reliance
by a State on a novel right or an unprecedented exception to the principle might, if shared in
principle by other States, tend towards a modification of customary international law. In fact
however the Court finds that States have not justified their conduct by reference to a new
right of intervention or a new exception to the principle of its prohibition. The United States
authorities have on some occasions clearly stated their grounds for intervening in the affairs
of a foreign State for reasons connected with, for example, the domestic policies of that
country, its ideology, the level of its armaments, or the direction of its foreign policy. But

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these were statements of international policy, and not an assertion of rules of existing
international law.
20. The Court also noted that the United States has not sought to justify its intervention in
Nicaragua on legal grounds, but had only justified it at a political level. The United States
had not asserted for itself legal right of intervention in these circumstances. The Court,
without further analysis into State practice, almost immediately proceeded to find that no
such general right of intervention, in support of an opposition within another State, exists in
contemporary international law. The Court concludes that acts constituting a breach of the
customary principle of non-intervention will also, if they directly or indirectly involve the use
of force, constitute a breach of the principle of non-use of force in international relations
(para 209).

Development of a parallel customary international law?


In addition to the comments made above in italics, another interesting aspect of the
judgment is that it sought to divorce customary international law obligation from the
identical treaty obligation because of the jurisdictional bar to consider multilateral treaties.
In its consideration of customary international law it developed certain principles
independently of the treaty. For example, Article 2(4) of the UN Charter prohibits the threat
or use of force against another State. The Court held that the same prohibition on the use of
force could be found under customary international law and as a jus cogens norm. The Court
then went on to categorize the use of force under customary law as either a grave use of
force (i.e. use of force amounting to an armed attack) or a less grave use of force (i.e. use
of force that falls short of an armed attack for example, the threat to use force). The Court,
then, restricted the right of self-defense to a situation where there had been a grave use of
force (or an armed attack, as defined by the Court). If one were to hold that the relevant
Charter principles were clear, precise and unambiguous, one could say this divorced
interpretation could result in customary law developing in a manner that is not in line with
the Charter and thereby creating separate rights/ regimes of law that govern the same
subject matter. This is because, then, the two regimes would be irreconcilable. However, the
fact remains that the Charter does leave room for interpretation for example, on the
definition of an armed attack or on the use of force. In cases of ambiguity, Article 31 of the
Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties directs us to look at, inter alia, subsequent
practice and any relevant rules of international law that maybe applicable. In other words, a
treaty can be interpreted with the assistance of customary and general principles of
international law. In this case, the development of customary law would also mean a
potential development of ambiguous treaty law and a reconciliation of treaty and
customary law provisions.

Material on the Nicaragua case


The following contains a list of scholarly articles and other material that discuss the
Nicaragua case. If you would like to add to the list, please note your suggestions in the
comment box.
The judgment including separate opinions of individual judges and summaries of the
judgment and orders
The World Court and Jus Cogens, 81 AMJIL 93, Gorden A. Christenson. Christenson argues
that an independent development of the customary law right divorced from the treaty can
have wider consequences:

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We have then a double irony. The Court uses the United States position accepting the treaty
norm against the threat or use of force also as a customary norm possibly having jus cogens
quality, in part, to justify taking jurisdiction as a matter quite independent of the norm that
otherwise falls under the multilateral treaty reservation. Since there are two separate
sources of the law, the choice of the one source rather than the other means that the norm
relied upon survives the jurisdictional bar to the use of the other. Yet the two norms are not
different enough to undermine completely the content of the Charter norm. This formalism
simply masks the more interesting question of the Courts institutional claim, given the
ineffectiveness of the UN Security system, to develop an international public order case by
case, by breaking away form the strictures of the Charter and treaty norms. The Court untied
the treaty norms from their constraints within the United Nations or regional collective
security systems, a potentially destabilizing decision, one whose consequences are
unforeseen. The decision based on the validity of an autonomous norm of customary
international law free from the Charter is a constitutive one of potential great significance
(81 AMJIL 100, 1987).
Trashing customary international law, Antony DAmato, 81 AMJIL 102 (1987) (full text):
(DAmato discusses the paucity of State practice examined by the international court of
justice before concluding that the principle non-intervention formed part of customary
international law. He argues that the acceptance of General Assembly resolutions do not
manifest opinio juris. He states that the Court failed to consider that Article 2(4) continued to
evolve through the years.)
The World Courts Achievement, Richard Falk, 81 AMJIL 106 (Falk takes a generally positive
approach to the judgment, gives a good overview of the case and Judge Shwebels dissent)
Drawing the right line, Tom J. Farer, 81 AMJIL 112 (Farer takes a cold-war contextual
approach to the judgment and supports the Courts narrow view of an armed attack and self
defence).
Some observations on the ICJs procedural and substantive innovations, Thomas M. Franck,
81 AMJIL 116 (criticizes the determination of relevant State practice in relation to nonintervention and the reliance on UN resolutions to illicit opinio juris (it alleges that the Court
sought to harden soft law prematurely). Frank points out that the interventions falling short
of armed attacks would not allow States to target rebel groups in another States territory
even if the insurgency is planned, trained, armed and directed from that territory).
Protecting the Courts institutional interests: Why not the Marbury approach? Michael J.
Glennon, 81 AMJIL 121 (discusses reservations before the ICJ and the Courts prerogative to
determine its own jurisdiction)
Discretion to decline to exercise jurisdiction, Edward Gorden, 81 AMJIL 129 (discusses the
discretionary power of the court to decline to exercise its jurisdiction at the merit stages).
The Nicaragua judgment and the future of the law of force and self-defense, John Lawrence
Hargrove 81AMJIL 135 (Hargrove criticizes the ICJs construction of the notion of collective
self defense, armed attack and forcible countermeasures).
Somber reflections on the compulsory jurisdiction of the international court, Mark Weston
Janis, 81 AMJIL 144
Custom on a sliding scale, Frederic L. Kirgis 81 AMJIL 146 (Kirgis discusses the relationship
between State practice and opinio juris, criticizes the methods (or lack thereof) of the Court

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in determining the customary law nature of Article 2(4) of the Charter. Points out that actual
State practice on intervention did not support the Courts findings).
The International Court lives unto its name, Herbert W. Briggs, 81 AMJIL 78.
Determining US responsibility for contra operations under international law, Francis V. Boyle
Customary international law in the Nicaragua Case, Rijpkema. (Abstract: On 27 June 1986
the International Court of Justice passed judgment in the case concerning military and
paramilitary activities in and against Nicaragua. Because of a reservation that the United
States had made when it accepted the jurisdiction of the Court, the Court could not
pronounce a decision regarding the dispute insofar as it concerned multilateral convertions.
As a resuld of this, the Court was compelled to base its judgment largely on rules of
customary international law and general principles of law. The rules of customary law which
were relevant for the judgment corresponded to a significant extent, as regards their
content, to the rules of treaty law which the Court was unable to apply, such as the
prohibition on the use of force of Article 2, paragraph 4 of the Charter of the United Nations.
This led the Court to indicate in precise terms how rules of treaty law and rules of customary
law which have a corressponding content can co-exist and how the existence of rules of
customary international law can be established in general. In addition, the Court examined
in some detail the existence and content of certain specific rules of customary international
law.)
Le peuple, cest moi!The world court and human rights, 81 AMJIL 173
LJIL Symposium: Discussion of the ICJ Nicaragua Judgment
The Impact of the Nicaragua Case on the Court and Its Role: Harmful, Helpful, or In
Between?, Lori Fisler Damrosch (Abstract: At the time the United States withdrew from
participation in the Nicaragua case at the International Court of Justice, the US government
expressed concern that the course on which the Court may now be embarked could do
enormous harm to it as an institution and to the cause of international law. This essay
examines whether or to what extent the anticipated negative effects came to pass. It
concludes that dire predictions of harm to the Court were overstated. Twenty-five years
later, the rate at which states accept the Courts jurisdiction has held steady. Only a few
states have added jurisdictional reservations concerning military activities. The mix of cases
being brought to the Court has shifted towards a more representative distribution. States are
generally complying with the Courts decisions, though some compliance problems remain.
The most serious negative impact has been on the willingness of the United States (still the
Courts most active litigant) to participate fully in international dispute settlement.)
LJIL Symposium: The Nicaragua Case: Its Impact, John Dugard
LJIL Symposium: Response of Lori F. Damrosch to Comments by John Dugard, Lori F.
Damrosch
The Principle of Non-Intervention 25 Years after the Nicaragua Judgment, by Marcelo
Kohen(Abstract: This article focuses on the analysis by the International Court of Justice of
the principle of non-intervention in domestic affairs in its judgment of 27 June 1986 in the
case concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua and contrasts it
with the evolution of international law and practice in this field. It is proposed that the
Courts 1986 analysis not only remains of actuality today, but also constitutes a precursor to
legal developments that have since taken place. This is particularly the case with regard to

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the relationship between the protection of human rights on the one hand and the safeguard
of state sovereignty and the collective security regime on the other. The 1986 judgment
helped to clarify the content of humanitarian assistance. It constituted the starting point for
the development of this concept in a series of GA resolutions that were subsequently
adopted. The controversial doctrine of humanitarian intervention, as well as state practice
in violation of this principle, in no way led to modifying existing international law. Similarly,
the new concept of responsibility to protect, which places emphasis on collective security
and discounts unilateral action, has not led to the disappearance of the principle of nonintervention either.)
LJIL Symposium: From Nicaragua to R2P: Continuity and Change, Andr Nollkaemper

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Gunaratne
and
Public
International
Law
at https://ruwanthikagunaratne.wordpress.com, 2008 present. Unauthorized use and/or
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