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Broadly speaking, there's a great deal of criticism against the U.S. and its history of foreign policy. Particularly since it rose to become a dominant world power, the U.S. and its actions abroad have come under great scrutiny. There's history of U.S. military-backed coups, aggressive intervention, etc. Here, TestTube News takes a look at one of the few internationally recognized institutions created with global jurisdiction. The International Court of Justice (ICJ), part of the United Nations, presides over international disputes.
However, even when brought before ICJ, the U.S. has managed to more or less get off scot-free. Since the ICJ's establishment in 1946, the U.S. has been named as a respondent in 13 cases. In 1986, Nicaragua filed a suit against the U.S., alleging its military had armed the Contra rebels and planted naval mines in Nicaraguan waters. The ICJ ruled that the U.S. had indeed violated international law and Nicaragua's sovereignty. Although Nicaragua demanded $17 billion in reparations, the U.S. not only refused, but also withdrew support for the ICJ.
There have been other instances in years since, in which the U.S. essentially overlooks the rulings of the ICJ. In 1988, the U.S. military shot down an Iranian passenger plane over Iranian air space, killing all 290 people aboard. It wasn't until 1996 when the two countries reached an agreement: $62 million to the victims' families, absolving the U.S. from any guilt. In 199, two German nationals were executed in the U.S. for a murder committed during a bank robbery in 1982. The Germans were not informed of their right to seek help from their consulate. Germany ultimately brought a case before the ICJ, which ruled against the U.S. Still, there were hardly any repercussions for the U.S.
This is not to isolate the U.S. as the only major power "getting away" with offenses. That's a whole other episode. But, it does underscore the need for an institution like the ICJ-today more than ever.
Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America) (icj-cij.org)
The forgotten story of Iran Air Flight 655 (washingtonpost.com)
"The story of Iran Air 655 begins, like so much of the U.S.-Iran struggle, with the 1979 Islamic revolution."
U.S. Ignored Law in German Case, U.N. Rules (latimes.com)
"U.S. authorities violated international law when they failed to grant consular services to two German brothers put to death in Arizona in 1999 and ignored a U.N. court order to stay one of the executions, the court ruled here Wednesday."
Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America) (icj-cij.org)