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World Court Digest

I. Substantive International Law - First Part
8.3. Treaty Violations

¤ Military and Paramilitary Activities
(Nicaragua/United States of America)
Merits. J. 27.6.1986
I.C.J. Reports 1986, p. 14

[pp. 142-143] The Court considers appropriate the request of Nicaragua for the nature and amount of the reparation due to it to be determined in a subsequent phase of the proceedings. While a certain amount of evidence has been provided, for example, in the testimony of the Nicaraguan Minister of Finance, of pecuniary loss sustained, this was based upon contentions as to the responsibility of the United States which were more far-reaching than the conclusions at which the Court has been able to arrive. The opportunity should be afforded Nicaragua to demonstrate and prove exactly what injury was suffered as a result of each action of the United States which the Court has found contrary to international law. Nor should it be overlooked that, while the United States has chosen not to appear or participate in the present phase of the proceedings, Article 53 of the Statute does not debar it from appearing to present its arguments on the question of reparation if it so wishes. On the contrary, the principle of the equality of the Parties requires that it be given that opportunity. It goes without saying, however, that in the phase of the proceedings devoted to reparation, neither Party may call in question such findings in the present Judgment as have become res judicata.
There remains the request of Nicaragua (paragraph 15 above) for an award, at the present stage of the proceedings, of $ 370,200,000 as the "minimum (and in that sense provisional) valuation of direct damages". There is no provision in the Statute of the Court either specifically empowering the Court to make an interim award of this kind, or indeed debarring it from doing so. In view of the final and binding character of the Court's judgments under Articles 59 and 60 of the Statute, it would however only be appropriate to make an award of this kind, assuming that the Court possesses the power to do so, in exceptional circumstances, and where the entitlement of the State making the claim was already established with certainty and precision. Furthermore, in a case in which the respondent State is not appearing, so that its views on the matter are not known to the Court, the Court should refrain from any unnecessary act which might prove an obstacle to a negotiated settlement. It bears repeating that

"the judicial settlement of international disputes, with a view to which the Court has been established, is simply an alternative to the direct and friendly settlement of such disputes between the Parties; as consequently it is for the Court to facilitate, so far as is compatible with its Statute, such direct and friendly settlement ..." (Free Zones of Upper Savoy and the District of Gex, Order of 19 August 1929, P.C.I.J., Series A, No. 22, p. 13).

Accordingly, the Court does not consider that it can accede at this stage to the request made in the Fourth Submission of Nicaragua.