News In Brief – Summer 2013

Sao Tome and Principe ratifies the ICSID Convention
On 20 May 2013, Sao Tome and Principe deposited an instrument of ratification of the Convention with the World Bank. This follows Sao Tome and Principe’s signature of the ICSID Convention fourteen years earlier, on 1 October 1999. In accordance with Article 68(2), the Convention entered into force for Sao Tome and Principe on 19 June 2013.

Government of the Union of the Comoros refers Mavi Marmara incident of May 2010 to the International Criminal Court
On 14 May 2013, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (“ICC“) received a referral from “the Union of Comoros with respect to the 31 May 2010 Israeli raid of the Humanitarian Aid Flotilla bound for Gaza Strip”. The Mavi Marmara vessel was registered in Comoros, which also deposited an instrument of ratification of the Rome Statute with the ICC on 18 August 2006. The Rome Statute entered into force in Comoros on 1 November 2006. The Office of the Prosecutor is now conducting a preliminary examination in order to determine whether the opening of an investigation is warranted. The full referral is available here.

President of arbitral panel initially appointed by ITLOS resigns in South China Sea dispute between China and the Philippines
On 24 April 2013, the President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (“ITLOS“), Judge Shunji Yanai, appointed three arbitrators to serve as members of the arbitral tribunal constituted under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (“UNCLOS“) in respect of a dispute between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of the Philippines. The three arbitrators were Jean-Pierre Cot (France), Chris Pinto (Sri Lanka) and Alfred Soons (Netherlands). Judge Yanai appointed Chris Pinto as the president of the arbitral tribunal. The ITLOS press release is available here. However, on 21 May 2013, Judge Pinto resigned from his position as president of the tribunal following objections raised by the Philippines on the basis of his wife’s Filipino nationality. On 21 June 2013, Judge Yanai appointed Mr. Thomas Mensah, a former president of ITLOS, as the replacement president of the arbitral tribunal. The ITLOS press release is available here.

Bolivia institutes proceedings against Chile before the International Court of Justice
On 24 April 2013, the Plurinational State of Bolivia instituted proceedings against the Republic of Chile before the International Court of Justice (the “ICJ“). The dispute relates to “Chile’s obligation to negotiate in good faith and effectively with Bolivia in order to reach an agreement granting Bolivia a fully sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean”. The ICJ’s press release is available here.

Firm News

2013 report, The American Lawyer ranked Volterra Fietta as one of the top 10 arbitration firms in the world.
The firm is pleased to announce that Chris Holland joined the firm as an associate on 1 June 2013.

The firm is pleased to announce that Graham Coop joined the firm as a partner on 15 May 2013. Graham is qualified as a barrister and solicitor in New Zealand and as a solicitor in England and Wales. He brings over 20 years of experience in international dispute resolution and public international law, both in private practice and as General Counsel to the Energy Charter Secretariat.

On 10 May 2013, Robert Volterra chaired a panel on “The Litigation of Public Law Concepts in Investor-State Arbitration: Practical and Theoretical Considerations” at the Twentieth Public Meeting of the Investment Treaty Forum held at Goodenough College, London.
On 30 April 2013, Stephen Fietta spoke at the inaugural Arthur Watts Public International Law seminar, entitled “Public International Law in the courts of the United Kingdom”. The event was hosted by the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) and sponsored by Volterra Fietta.

On 18-19 April 2013, Volterra Fietta, in conjunction with King’s College London and the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office, hosted the inaugural London International Boundary Conference at the Royal Geographic Society. The conference offered a unique and interdisciplinary insight into the complex world of international boundary and sovereign disputes and was attended by some of the world’s leading experts and practitioners in the effective resolution of territorial disputes.

The firm is pleased to announce that Patricio Grané Labat joined the firm as a partner on 15 April 2013. Patricio is both civil and common law-trained. He is admitted to practice in New York and Washington, DC. Patricio has extensive experience representing States and private entities in international dispute resolution proceedings, as well as in non-contentious matters under public international law.

Chambers and Partners Global 2013 ranked Robert Volterra and Stephen Fietta in the first and second tier for Public International Law, respectively.