Odious Debt and Jus Post Bellum

In: The Journal of World Investment & Trade
James Gallen Dublin City University, Ireland

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Odious debt concerns the repudiation and cancellation of debt accrued by a State for ‘odious’ purposes. This article argues that odious debt can play a role in jus post bellum in lessening the financial burden placed on States who experience conflict and generate a clear standard for investors who seek to enforce a State’s obligations to repay its debts and other financial obligations after conflict. This article highlights several challenges inhibiting the translation of the proposal of odious debt into an international legal principle. It offers a conception of odious debt that seeks to resolve these challenges by aligning with other areas of public international law which operate concurrently. This article considers how international human rights law could give clear meaning to the contested term ‘odious’, how to conceive of the appropriate standard of care for creditors and examines potential institutions for debt resolution and potential incentives of relevant actors.

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