Proportionality and Human Rights Protection in International Investment Arbitration: What’s Left Hanging in the Balance?

In: Nordic Journal of International Law
Daria Davitti , Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Lund University, Lund, Sweden,

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This article focuses on the proportionality analysis carried out by international investment tribunals when the protection of foreign investment adversely impacts the protection of human rights. International investment arbitrators are increasingly called to adjudicate awards which require a ‘balancing’ between the so-called rights of investors, protected as they are by relevant international investment agreements (iia), and the rights of third parties affected by foreign investment. Such balancing often entails, at its core, a controversial juxtaposition between investment protections and human rights protections. In this article, I argue that a balancing between investors’ rights and human rights is neither possible nor desirable. This argument is crucial to demystify existing assumptions surrounding the use of balancing and proportionality in international investment arbitration as a way of successfully reconciling competing interests as well as conflicting protection obligations vested upon a host State.

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