The Romanian government has won a trial at World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes against the Swiss-based energy trader Alpiq in a case related to Hidroelectrica insolvency procedure.
Many SEZs have been associated with compressions of land, labour and human rights. Investment treaties protect investments against adverse regulatory change, including in SEZs. To date, investors have brought at least 20 arbitrations to challenge diverse aspects of SEZ regimes.
The “moonlighting” debate echoes another controversial practice: that of “double hatting”, in which individuals wear two “hats” by simultaneously acting as arbitrators and legal counsel in international investment arbitration.
The UNCITRAL process runs a real risk of producing middle-ground solutions that will fail to address the fundamental flaws of the ISDS system and will only further institutionalise and re-legitimise the system.