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Part 1 The Cold War Era (1945–89), 29 The US Intervention in Nicaragua—1981–88

Jörg Kammerhofer

From: The Use of Force in International Law: A Case-Based Approach

Edited By: Tom Ruys, Olivier Corten, Alexandra Hofer

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 22 May 2024

Self-defence — Precedent — Armed conflict — International organizations — UN Charter — Customary international law

This chapter focuses on the US intervention in Nicaragua from 1981 to 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. After an overview of the background of the so-called ‘contra war’ and of the salient facts regarding the US intervention in that conflict, it discusses the positions of the two parties on the facts and law, and takes note of the reaction of the international community, focusing on the debates at the UN. The next section focuses on the legality of the operation; the ICJ’s holdings in its 1986 Nicaragua judgment form the backbone of that discussion, while taking note of dissent and comment both inside and outside the Court. The contribution concludes by discussing the precedential value and effect of this conflict, and of the ICJ case.

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