How to sue a country
ISDS is a means of resolving disputes through arbitration, a sort of privatized court. Investors can seek arbitration if they feel they have been treated unfairly by a host state. But how does ISDS work exactly?
In other words: what and whom do you need to sue a country?
Western European countries sue developing countries
A lot of things are said on investment arbitration, or ISDS, by both proponents and opponents. But a clear overview of all the claims that are filed, and what kind of awards are awarded, is almost impossible to get. That is why we started this research project. Our goal: mapping the world of ISDS, in both numbers and stories. We chose to highlight a few cases in Indonesia, Uganda and Venezuela to find out what ISDS means for developing countries.
The project was supported by the Innovation in Development Reporting Grant program from the European Journalism Centre. The media partners are OneWorld, De Groene Amsterdammer and Inter Press Service. Read more about our research project.
The research was done by journalists Frank Mulder and Eva Schram. Data research by Adriana Homolova. Additional field research by Edward Ronald Sekyewa in Uganda and Mitchell van de Klundert in Geneva.
The list with arbitration cases is based on a list by UNCTAD (end of 2014), supplemented with cases that were revealed by IAReporter after that time (until August 2015). Details on all the cases were acquired from different sources: UNCTAD, Gus van Harten, The American Lawyer, Italaw, IAReporter and media reports. In addition, we have spent four months talking to arbitrators, lawyers, third party funders, academics and civil servants, including from the countries that feel disadvantaged by ISDS, including Venezuela, South-Africa and Indonesia.
Our articles have been published De Groene Amsterdammer, Oneworld, Inter Press Service, and Der Spiegel, among others, in different languages. For a complete list of publications, see here.