ICSID unveils 2011 award in M. Meerapfel Söhne AG v. Central African Republic (ICSID Case No. ARB/07/10), by José Ángel Rueda

Pursuant to Rule 48(4) of its current Arbitration Rules, ICSID has just published excerpts of the final award (in French) dispatched to the parties on 12 May 2011 in M. Meerapfel Söhne AG v. Central African Republic (ICSID Case No. ARB/07/10).[1]

The dispositive part of the award states that the arbitral tribunal upheld ICSID’s jurisdiction to hear the claim submitted by Meerapfel, a Swiss corporation, and declared that the Central African Republic breached the Protocole d’Accord signed with the Claimant on 12 April 2006 which was, at the same time, the basis for ICSID’s jurisdiction and a source of material obligations for the Central African Republic vis-à-vis the Claimant. On the merits the tribunal found that the Central African Republic had indirectly expropriated Claimant’s investment in that country through the adoption of a series of measures.[2] The 1973 BIT between Switzerland and the Central African Republic was not applicable to this case.[3]

The arbitral tribunal was composed of Professor Azzedine Kettani (Moroccan, chairman appointed by the Chairman of the Administrative Council of ICSID), Dr François T’Kint (Belgian, appointed by the Claimant) and Judge Marie-Madeleine Mborantsuo (Gabonese, appointed by the Chairman of the Administrative Council of ICSID).

It is noticeable that ICSID omitted the amounts of money (in euros) the Central African Republic was ordered to pay to the Claimant by the arbitral tribunal.[4] We do not know whether the award has already been honoured by the Respondent. In addition, this award has been unveiled in a moment in which the Central African Republic is witnessing a military uprising by an alliance of rebel groups called Séléka against President François Bozizé that is allegedly a serious threat for the government.[5] This circumstance, in our opinion, is a strong argument for the full publication of the award in order to assess its impact on the country’s budget.

We hereby invite anyone interested in investment arbitration to send us a summary of the award for its publication in this blog (in English). 

[1] See ICSID’s website at http://icsid.worldbank.org.

[2] See Award, ¶ 318 et seq.

[3] See Award, ¶ 298.

[4] See Award, ¶ 456(3).

[5] See an update of the situation in the Central African Republic at http://allafrica.com/stories/201301160217.html (15 January 2013).