CCSI, the Columbia Law Students Human Rights Association, the Columbia Law School Environmental Law Society, and the Columbia International Arbitration Association co-hosted the premiere of "The Tribunal," a short documentary film by Malcolm Rogge in partnership with CCSIon the human rights and access to justice implications of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). The film tracks the experiences of community members in Ecuador who first suffered serious abuses in the course of opposing a mining project on their land, then found themselves unable to make their voices heard in arbitration proceedings between the government and the company involved. Though the government eventually forced the company to abandon its concession, the company was able to circumvent the local courts and drag the government into arbitration in Washington, D.C. to demand compensation. The story provides an interesting microcosm of the inequities pervading the investor-state arbitration system that pervades international investment law and provides a rare look at the immediate, human impact of issues underlying arbitration that are more often discussed as legal abstractions.
Following the screening, we were joined by David Boyd, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, and Professor Joanne Bauer, Cofounder of Rights CoLab and an Adjunct Professor at SIPA, for a discussion of the film and the broader human rights issues surrounding investor-state arbitration, moderated by CCSI Senior Legal Researcher, Ladan Mehranvar.