Courts & Tribunals

[Christoph Schreuer is a Professor at the Department of European, International Law and Comparative Law, University of Vienna]  Michael Goldhaber’s erudite and well-researched article examines an important aspect of the many-sided relationship between domestic courts and investment tribunals. Other facets of this diverse relationship include the review of arbitral awards by domestic courts, anti-suit injunctions by domestic courts, the need to pursue remedies in domestic courts prior to international arbitration, the division of competences under the label of treaty claims and contract claims, fork in the road provisions, interim measures by domestic courts in support of arbitration and enforcement of awards by domestic courts. This complex relationship of courts and tribunals shows elements of competition, of obstruction, of mutual control and of support. It is startling and paradoxical because it defies any notion of a hierarchy of decision makers. Goldhaber’s excellent analysis concentrates on two issues: antisuit injunctions by arbitral tribunals and denial of justice by domestic courts. But the potential for infringements of the international rules on investor protection by domestic courts is much wider. Practically each of the typical standards of protection contained in BITs can be violated by domestic courts and each of these violations is subject to the scrutiny of investment tribunals. From the perspective of international law, an international review of domestic court decisions is neither new nor unusual. International judicial control over State activity has always included courts. The State’s responsibility for all types of the exercise of public authority is uncontested and is reflected in Article 4 of the ILC’s Articles on State responsibility.[1] There are good reasons for not differentiating between the different branches of government when it comes to State responsibility. This lack of differentiation is not merely designed to prevent states from hiding behind ‛independent’ organs. In real life the courts and other elements of the government interact in a way that defies the application of a separation of powers doctrine to questions of State responsibility. For example, court action to the detriment of foreign investors is often mandated by legislation.[2] Decisions of domestic courts are sometimes prompted by executive insinuations.[3]

The Sudan Tribune is reporting that the presiding judge in William Ruto's trial has threatened to have Ruto arrested if he continues to comment publicly on his case: October 2013 (THE HAGUE) – Kenya’s Vice President William Ruto was on Friday warned by the presiding judge in his trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) to desist from making statements about...

[Michael D. Goldhaber serves as Senior International Correspondent and "The Global Lawyer" columnist for The American Lawyer and the ALM media group. His writes widely on human rights and corporate accountability, international arbitration, and global multiforum disputes. His e-book on Chevron will be published next year by Amazon.] The ongoing media circus surrounding the Chevron v. Donziger trial in New York federal court makes it easy to forget that the arbitration between...

Wim Muller, an associate fellow in international law at Chatham House, takes issue with my observation that China's rejection of Annex VII UNCLOS Arbitration may have influenced Russia's similar rejection of UNCLOS proceedings in the Greenpeace arbitration.  Other commenters take issue with my further claim that Russia's rejection is another "body blow" to ITLOS dispute settlement. I offer my ("typically...

[Update below] It looks like China has started a trend. In a surprising statement (at least to me), Russia has announced it will not participate in the ITLOS arbitration brought by the Netherlands related to the detention of Greenpeace activists last month. “The Russian side has informed the Netherlands and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea that it...

China's U.N. Ambassador made a typically anodyne statement recently to the U.N. General Assembly on the Rule of Law at National and International Levels. But there are a few interesting nuggets worth noting that reflect China's skeptical attitude toward international adjudication. Anyone who follows the Chinese government's diplomatic statements will know that it repeatedly stresses the U.N. Charter's obligation on states to seek...

In my previous post on the Taylor appeal, I noted two troubling aspects of the Appeals Chamber's judgment concerning customary international law: (1) its erroneous belief that legal principles that narrow criminal responsibility have to have a customary foundation; and (2) its hypocritical affirmation that recklesness is the mens rea of aiding and abetting (which goes beyond the ICTY and ICTR)...

I'm late to this story, which has already outraged Greenpeace and other supporters worldwide. Greenpeace activists who were seized while protesting against Arctic oil drilling face up to 15 years in a Russian jail after being formally charged with piracy. The 14 charged include four British nationals. Kieron Bryan, a freelance videographer, and the activists Alexandra Harris, Philip Ball and Anthony Perrett were all accused of...

[Judge Howard Morrison is a Judge at the ICTY and the ICC] Dr. Philipp Ambach deals with a topic that is contemporary and contentious. In a world where the globalisation of most aspects of human life and endeavour is readily apparent it cannot be that case that those who engage in commercial, and often highly profitable, enterprises that have an impact upon...

As one commenter to Ken's post on the draft UN Security Council Resolution notes, there will be no Security Council referral to the ICC on Syria. Currently there is one paragraph in the draft resolution expressing the Security Council's "strong conviction that those individuals responsible for the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic should be held accountable;"  That's not...

Wow! I kind of assumed all the posturing and tough talk from U.S. and ICC officials would scare off Sudan's President Bashir from visiting NY next week to address the UN General Assembly.  But it appears he really is coming. Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, wanted by the International Criminal Court on genocide charges, said on Sunday he planned to attend...

Recent commentary on Bashir’s request for a US visa to attend the 68th General Assembly has focused on US obligations to grant Bashir a visa under Section 11 of the UN – US Headquarters Agreement. See Julian's post here. Pursuant to this agreement, there is little doubt that the US must permit his transit to the UN despite the fact that...