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Committee of U.S. Citizens Living in Nicaragua v. Reagan

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
859 F.2d 929 (1988)


In 1986, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued an opinion holding that the United States government support of the Contras in the fight against Nicaragua violated customary international law, as well as an existing treaty. The ICJ ruled that the United States was required to cease financial support. However, prior to the issuance of the decision, the United States had withdrawn from ICJ jurisdiction, and President Reagan cooperated with Congress to allow for continued aid to the Contras, even after the official ICJ judgment. Organizations and individuals who opposed this policy (plaintiffs) brought suit, seeking to put a stop to continued U.S. government support for the Contras, arguing that it violated Article 94 of the United Nations Charter, customary international law, rules of jus cogens, and their Fifth Amendment due process rights. The district court dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaint on political question grounds, and the plaintiffs appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Mikva, J.)

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