Human rights and investment law: initiating of the procedure

Available in Russian

Author: Carlo Santulli

DOI: 10.21128/2226-2059-2018-2-123-136

Keywords: functions of international jurisdictions; human rights; international arbitration; investment disputes


International procedures in the areas of human rights protection and investment disputes resolution have much in common. However, there are important divergencies, first of all regarding the initiation of such procedures. This article pays attention to the following important nuances. If the procedure for human rights protection is launched by filing a complaint and, as a rule, the State is acting as a respondent (even in rare cases where a proceeding is initiated by an application lodged by a State against another Contracting Party), then in investment disputes the arbitral tribunal examines a dispute and the State may lodge a complaint against a private investor. The latter also has certain responsibilities before the State which creates a possibility for the State to lodge a counterclaim against a private investor. Further, in the system of human rights protection, the jurisdiction itself is entrusted with the function of filtering applications, whereas in investment arbitration this task is usually fulfilled not by the arbitral tribunal itself but by the administrative bodies of the arbitration institution. Differences also regard the applicant’s right to waive: in the area of human rights protection the applicant possesses this right only to a certain extent and the court may reject such a waiver for the purposes of protecting a more general interest, whereas in the area of international investment disputes the claimant’s right to waive is full and unconditional. Therefore, the main difference regards the function of human rights jurisdictions and jurisdictions dealing with investment disputes: If the former deal with a complaint for a violation of rights (and the applicant’s right to waive this complaint is limited), then the latter resolve the parties’ claims, including counterclaims, that constitute the dispute itself. As a result, they have different missions: If human rights judges fulfill their protective function invested to them by international treaty, then arbitral tribunals do not act as protectors but resolve the dispute between the parties. The author comes to the conclusion that the procedural divergences above disguise the substantive difference in legal philosophy of human rights and investment law that deserves further comprehension and study.

About the author: Carlo Santulli – Professor, Pantheon-Assas University, Director of the Institute of Higher International Studies, Paris, France.

Citation: Santulli C. (2018) Prava cheloveka i investitsionnoe pravo: initsiirovanie protsedury [Human Rights and Investment Law: Initiation of Procedures]. Mezhdunarodnoe pravosudie, vol.8, no.2, pp.123–136. (In Russian).


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