ICSID’s website has published an ‘Order of the Secretary-General Taking Note of the Discontinuance of the Proceeding’ dated 10 December 2012 in the ICSID Case No. ARB/12/27, Bidzina Ivanishvili v. Georgia.
According to the Order, on 20 August 2012 ICSID received a request for arbitration from Mr. Ivanishvili for the institution of arbitration proceedings against the Republic of Georgia. The Secretary-General registered the request, as supplemented, on 10 September 2012.
On 30 November 2012, prior to the constitution of an arbitral tribunal, ICSID received a letter from Mr. Ivanishvili requesting the discontinuance of the proceeding pursuant to ICSID Arbitration Rule 44.
By letter of the same date, the Secretary-General requested that Georgia state whether or not it opposed the discontinuance of the proceeding. On 6 December 2012 ICSID received a letter from Georgia stating that it consented to the discontinuance of the proceeding as requested by Mr. Ivanishvili.
As a result, the case is now closed.
What the Order does not tell us is that Mr. Ivanishvili became Prime Minister of Georgia on 25 October 2012 (see http://government.gov.ge/index.php?lang_id=ENG&sec_id=1) and, as a consequence, between 25 October 2012 and 30 November 2012 the Prime Minister of Georgia pursued ICSID arbitration proceedings against the country he is ruling.
It is a widely established principle that a person cannot pursue ICSID arbitration proceedings against a State to which he/she is a national. We understand that Mr. Ivanishvili pursued his claim against Georgia under the France-Georgia BIT (see the Final Notice of Dispute dated 31 July 2012 available at http://www.italaw.com/sites/default/files/case-documents/ita1077.pdf) as his Georgian nationality was allegedly revoked in October 2011 by the previous Government.
It would have been very interesting to see how the arbitral tribunal would have applied Article 25(2)(a) of ICSID Convention in these circumstances.