In yesterday's story on reaction to the World Court's ruling against the United States for intervening in Nicaragua, Robert Leiken, a senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, was quoted incorrectly. He said that the Sandinista government suffered from "increasing perceptions of having close ties to the Soviet Union."
The Reagan administration yesterday dismissed the World Court's ruling that the United States violated international law by supporting rebels fighting the Nicaraguan government.
"Today's opinion demonstrates what we have stated all along: The court is simply not equipped to deal with a case of this nature involving complex facts and intelligence information," State Department spokesman Charles E. Redman said on the basis of a preliminary review of the ruling.
"Nicaragua is engaged in a substantial, unprovoked and unlawful use of force against its neighbors," Redman told reporters. "The United States has assisted the victims' response to Nicaragua's intervention."
White House spokesman Larry Speakes said President Reagan "wouldn't have any comment" on the ruling now, and officials said the State Department had been designated to handle the U.S. response.
On the possibility that the court would order the United States to pay damages to Managua, Redman said, "The court's decisions are not self-enforcing. It doesn't have the power to order anything." Any effort to enforce the ruling would have to go through the U.N. Security Council, where the United States has veto power.
Sen. Charles McC. Mathias Jr. (R-Md.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was quoted as saying, "I view the decision with concern and some sadness. The United States has historically supported the World Court, even helping to create it." He advised Reagan to "read the opinion."
International law experts were divided over whether the ruling cast the United States or the court in a worse light.
"The United States loses ground even if the judges were completely wacko," John Lawrence Hargrove, executive director of the American Society of International Law, told United Press International.
Robert Leiken, a senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, also blamed the court, which he said suffers from the "increasing perception" of having close ties to the Soviet Union.
At the Nicaraguan Embassy yesterday, Ambassador Carlos Tunnermann Bernheim hailed the decision and said it would undermine the administration's efforts to support the rebels, which was reinvigorated this week when the House passed Reagan's $100 million aid package for the rebels, or contras.
"Nicaragua today is a moral power," Tunnermann said at a news conference. The ambassador was joined by two American lawyers who, as part of Nicaragua's legal team, announced Nicaragua would ask for more than $1 billion in damages.
Although the World Court has no power to enforce its decisions, the lawyers, Harvard law professor Abram Chayes and Washington attorney Paul Reichler, said the decision will validate Nicaragua's claim for monetary compensation in addition to forcing Americans to reconsider Reagan's policy in Nicaragua.
"Law is a process, not an event," Chayes said. "And that process has been tipped against the administration's policy . . . . We Americans are not used to thinking of ourselves as the bad guys . . . and it's hard to accept this decision that we've stepped over the line."
Reichler said Nicaragua will seek compensation for deaths and injuries, property destroyed and damage to the economy. "The court sort of schedules these things piece by piece," said Chayes, who expects Nicaragua to file specific damages "within days or weeks."