Past Event

Is International Investment Law an Obstacle to Decentralized Smart Sanctions in International Law?

November 3, 2014
12:10 PM - 1:00 PM
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Columbia Law School, Jerome Greene Hall, Room 646

CCSI and the Center for International Commercial and Investment Arbitration (CICIA) co-hosted a talk and discussion with Anne van Aaken on “Is International Investment Law an Obstacle to Decentralized Smart Sanctions in International Law?”

The US and the EU are currently implementing smart sanctions against Russian individuals and organizations due to the Ukrainian crisis. Some of those have assets in the US and the EU. For example, a Russian citizen having an account in London and whose account is frozen could sue the UK before international investment tribunals for expropriation under the UK-Russian BIT. If successful, the UK would need to pay damages to the sanctioned individual. This example illustrates a broader problem. Whereas collective sanctions under the UN-Charter would not come into conflict with investment protection, the decentralized smart sanctioning system in international law may come into conflict. Under what circumstances and legal assumptions is that the case? Are countermeasures against individuals allowed as a defense in a treaty claim? And if not, what does this mean for effectuation of international law?

This talk described the problem, highlighted legal junctions and explored which norms in investment treaties may justify sanctioning measures.

Anne van Aaken is Professor for Law and Economics, Legal Theory, Public International Law and European Law at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. She was a Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Research of Collective Goods as well as at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law. She holds a Master in Law and one in Economics, a Doctorate in Law and a habilitation, and is admitted to the bar in Germany. She taught at several universities in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia and was a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study (Wissenschaftskolleg) in Berlin. She was Vice-President of the European Association of Law and Economics (2008-13), is Chair of the Academic Board of the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law and Member of the Executive Board of ESIL and ICon-S as well as a member of the ILA Committee on Non-State Actors. Her main research areas are international law with a special focus on international economic law, (international) legal theory, (behavioural) law and economics as well as corruption and state liability. She has been an expert consultant for the World Bank, OECD and UNCTAD.