Gobierno de Reconciliación y Unidad Nacional
Unida Nicaragua Triunfa
Managua, June 26, 2023
Mr. António Guterres
of the United Nations Organization
I have the honour to write to you regarding the judgment handed down by the International Court of Justice on 27 June 1986.
The Government of Reconciliation and National Unity of the Republic of Nicaragua requests the Secretary-General of the United Nations to circulate the attached Note with Nicaragua's position as an official document to all Member States.
Daniel Ortega Saavedra
THE OBLIGATION OF THE UNITED STATES
TO COMPENSATE NICARAGUA
Currently, when the United Nations and other forums are discussing the well-deserved reparations that should be established to compensate for the damages caused by slavery and climate change, among others, Nicaragua takes this opportunity to recall that there is a historical debt to the Nicaraguan people which 37 years later has not been paid by the United States. It is not an obligation waiting to be established or one subject to an advisory opinion of a judicial body. It is an obligation clearly established in a final judgment of the highest international judicial authority, the International Court of Justice.
On June 27th 1986, the International Court of Justice issued a judgment condemning the United States of America to compensate Nicaragua for all damages caused as a result of military and paramilitary activities against Nicaragua. Although the Court recognized that in a situation of armed aggression such as the one carried out by the United States, no type of reparation – neither economic nor moral - could compensate for the devastation of the country, the loss of human lives and the physical and psychological injuries of the Nicaraguan people, the Court decided that the United States had a legal obligation to financially compensate Nicaragua for all the damages caused.
The list of direct damages includes human damages, direct material damages, defense expenses, losses caused by the embargo. Also other damages such as social losses in education, health, work, social security, as well as losses of the potential for development and for production. From all points of view, the nation's right to development was irreparably affected. The economy underwent a total reorganization in order to allow the population to survive under the conditions of aggression to which it was subjected by the United States in all aspects of the economic and social life of the country, in addition to the military and paramilitary aggressions.
The estimated value of the damages in March 1988, the date on which the Report was submitted along with all the supporting documentation, was estimated at 12 billion dollars. This amount does not reflect damages after that date, the consequences of which are currently verifiable. For example, to this day the country's social security system continues to pay pensions to war disabled and their relatives, including those who were part of the counterrevolutionary forces illegally financed by the United States, which never assumed the social cost of such illegalities.
In addition, the damages for which Nicaragua sought compensation did not reflect the totality of the actual damages, but were limited to the acts over which the Court had jurisdiction. The calculation of the damages suffered by Nicaragua, presented to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), had the support and endorsement of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC).
The compensation due to Nicaragua remains unpaid. Nicaragua discontinued the procedure before the Court to determine the amount owed, but at no time did it renounce the payment of the debt, that is, the right to receive its compensation. Nicaragua has never received anything to which it was not entitled (such as the right not to be assaulted) in exchange for discontinuing the trial before the Court. Instead of receiving compensation as morally and legally required, Nicaragua continues to be the object of a new form of aggression.
It is in this context, in which Nicaragua has once again been the victim of aggressions, now euphemistically called sanctions, and the victim of an attempted coup d'état, that the people of Nicaragua remember the historic judgment of the International Court of Justice.
Nicaragua has been a party to 15 principal cases brought before the International Court of Justice and is the third country with the most cases decided by that Court. All the sentences handed down by the Court have been complied with by Nicaragua. It is with that moral authority that Nicaragua makes this reminder 37 years after a sentence,studied and respected in most of the world, has been handed down.
Nicaragua takes this opportunity to recall that the judgments of the International Court of Justice are final and of inescapable compliance, and therefore the United States has the legal obligation to comply with the reparations ordered by the judgment of June 27th 1986.