Issues of bribery and corruption are arising more and more frequently in investor-state arbitrations. A preliminary look at the cases involving allegations of corruption suggests that arbitrators face uncertainty as to the most appropriate manner to respond to allegations or other indicia of corruption in accordance with the requirements of international law. Such uncertainty could result in inconsistent decisions and even discourage adoption of anticorruption policies by states or corporations.
The Open Society Justice Initiative (Justice Initiative) and the Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment (VCC) are exploring the possibilities for addressing a possible hole in the fabric of international anticorruption law as applied within the treaty regime for the protection of foreign investments. On June 17, 2009, the Justice Initiative and the VCC organized a workshop with recognized experts to discuss the challenges that arbitrators face when corruption is suspected or alleged in investment cases, as well as what guidance might be most useful for arbitrators and other users of the investment arbitration mechanism.
Based on the results of the workshop, the Justice Initiative and the VCC are working on a conceptual paper to foster further research and debate on this subject among practitioners and academics.