Argentina files lawsuit against US over debt dispute
Argentina has attempted to sue the United States at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, the UN’s highest court, over a debt dispute.
The lawsuit was filed on Thursday after a US judge blocked Argentina from servicing its restructured debt, with Buenos Aires accusing Washington of violating Argentinean sovereignty.
New York District Judge Thomas Griesa has ruled to freeze Argentina’s June debt payment of $539 million in a US bank because two American hedge funds are demanding a full repayment of their money.
The two hedge funds, NML Capital and Aurelius Capital Management, have been described by Argentina as “vulture funds” that are seeking profit out of the country’s financial misery.
“Given that a state is responsible for the conduct of all the branches of its government, these violations have generated a controversy between the Republic of Argentina and the United States, which our country submits to the ICJ for resolution,” President Cristina Kirchner’s office said in a statement.
However, the ICJ declined to take any action, claiming that it is powerless to act “unless and until the United States of America consents to the court’s jurisdiction.”
Argentina’s 2001 economic collapse caused the country to default on more than $100 billion in debt. Argentina is still fighting to deal with the crisis.
Last week, Argentinean Economy Minister Axel Kicillof went to New York to try to resolve the impasse on the eve of his country’s default. There, he slammed the US judge for his ruling.
“A judge in one jurisdiction can’t be allowed to block the debt payments of an entire country,” he said. “There’s something called sovereignty.”