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“Meždunarodnoe pravosudie” (International Justice) Journal

№3 (23) 2017

Urbaser and CABB v. Argentina case in ICSID: searching for a justified balance between foreign investors and host States

Anna Kozyakova - Ph.D. candidate, Research Assistant, Institute of International and European law, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.

DOI: 10.21128/2226-2059-2017-3-3-18

Abstract. New investment law cases continue to attract the attention of both practitioners and researchers in the field of international investment law. Case law is also considered to be a driving force for the further development in the area of international protection of foreign investments. The Article presents a description and an analysis of one of such cases. On December 8, 2016, the ICSID tribunal rendered an award in Urbaser S.A. (Urbaser) and Consorcio de Aguas Bilbao Bizkaia, Bilbao Biskaia Ur Partzuergoa (CABB) v. The Argentine Republic. Being the first case in which an arbitral tribunal accepted its jurisdiction to hear a host State’s counterclaims on an alleged violation of international standards of human rights by a foreign investor, Urbaser and CABB v. Argentina has already gained much attention. The tribunal found it has jurisdiction to hear a host State’s counterclaims, but dismissed the counterclaims on substance. The author argues that this proceeding that lasted almost ten years is intriguing also with regard to other aspects. In particular, compared to previous ISCID cases, Urbaser and CABB v. Argentina is remarkable for a more balanced approach to the interpretation and differentiation of standards of protection for foreign investments under international law. Further, the way the tribunal elaborated on a requirement of a direct connection between losses of a foreign investor and a violation of international law on the side of a host State deserves appreciation. The Author argues that the case contributes to the search for a justified balance between the positions of foreign investors and host States and thus plays a role in the future development of international investment law.

Keywords: foreign investments; fair and equitable treatment; discriminatory and unjustified measures; expropriation; counterclaim.

Citation: Anna Kozyakova (2017) Delo Urbaser and CABB v. Argentina v mezhduna­rodnom arbitrazhe: poisk spravedlivogo balansa mezhdu inostrannym investorov i prinimayushchim gosudarstvom [Urbaser and CABB v. Argentina case in ICSID: searching for a justified balance between foreign investors and host States]. Mezhdunarodnoe pravosudie, no.3, pp.3–18. (In Russian).

References

Alvarez J.E., Khamsi K. (2009) The Argentine Crisis and Foreign Investors. In: Sauvant K.P. (ed.) The Yearbook on International Law & Policy, 2008–2009, New York: Oxford University Press, pp.379–478.

Douglas Z. (2014) The Plea of Illegality in Investment Treaty Arbitration. ICSID Review, vol.29, no.1, pp.155–186.

Fry J.D. (2007) International Human Rights Law in Investment Arbitration. Duke Journal of Comparative & International Law, vol.18. no.1, pp.77–150.

Guntrip E. (2017) Urbaser v Argentina: The Origins of a Host State Human Rights Counterclaim in ICSID Arbitration? Available at: https://www.ejiltalk.org/urbaser-v-argentina-the-origins-of-a-host-state-human-rights-counterclaim-in-icsid-arbitration/ (accessed: 10.07.2017).

Hepburn J. (2017) In a first, BIT tribunal finds that it has jurisdiction to hear a host state’s counterclaim related to investor’s alleged violation of international human rights obligations. Available at: https://www.iareporter.com/articles/in-a-first-bit-tribunal-finds-that-it-has-
jurisdiction-to-hear-a-host-states-counterclaim-related-to-investors-alleged-violation-of-international-human-rights-obligations/ (accessed: 20.01.2017).

Kriebaum U. (2015) Arbitrary/Unreasonable or Discriminatory Measures. In: Bungenberg M., Griebel J., Hobe S., Reinisch A. (eds.) International Investment Law: A Handbook, Baden Baden: Nomos, pp.790–806.

Rachkov I. (2016) Reforma mezhdunarodno-pravovogo uregulirovaniya sporov mezhdu inostrannymi investorami i gosudarstvami [Reforming international resolution of disputes between foreign investors and host States]. Mezhdunarodnoe pravosudie, no.3, pp.118–136. (In Russian).

Rachkov I. (2017) Voprosy kompetentsii (yurisdiktsii) mezhdunarodnogo investitsionnogo arbitrazha i priemlemosti iska: obzor naibolee pri­mechatel'nykh del za 2014–2015 gody [Issues of competence (jurisdiction) of international investment arbitration tribunals and admissibility of claims: a review of the most notable cases (2014–2015)]. Mezhdu­narodnoe pravosudie, no.2, pp.94–117. (In Russian).

Titi K. (2015) Arbitr kak normotvorets: pravotvorcheskiy protsess v investi­tsionnom arbitrazhe [An Arbitrator as an international norm creator: law-creating process in international investment law]. Mezhdunarodnoe pravosudie, no.2, pp.85–99. (In Russian).

 
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