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On April 9, 1984, Nicaragua filed suit in the International Court of Justice (I.C.J.) charging the United States with engaging in military and paramilitary activities in and against Nicaragua in violation of the Charters of the United Nations and the Organization of American States, and of general and customary international law. On May 10, 1984, after a hearing at which both states presented evidence and legal arguments, the Court ordered the United States to cease its "covert" war against Nicaragua pending the determination of the case on the merits. The vote was 14-1, with only the U.S. judge dissenting. The Court then held hearings, in which both the United States and Nicaragua participated fully, on the preliminary issues of jurisdiction and admissibility. On November 26, 1984, the Court ruled in Nicaragua's favor on these issues by lopsided margins. Faced with a hearing on the merits of Nicaragua's claims, the United States announced on January 18, 1985, that it would not participate further in the case.

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