News In Brief – Winter 2012

Venezuela denounces ICSID Convention
On 14 January 2012, Oil Minister, Rafael Ramirez, announced the intention of Venezuela to withdraw from the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (“ICSID”) and to re-negotiate a number of existing bilateral investment treaties. On 24 January 2012, Venezuela formally denounced the ICSID Convention.

ICSID Revised Schedule of Fees in effect from 1 January 2012
From 1 January 2012, the ICSID administrative fee (in effect since 1 January 2008) has been adjusted upwards to US $32,000 for all new and pending cases. ICSID has, however, eliminated both the cost of hearing rooms for proceedings held at World Bank Group facilities and the fee presently charged to parties for ICSID legal staff to attend hearings away from the seat of the Centre. Both expenses are now covered by the administrative fee.

New International Chamber of Commerce Rules of Arbitration now in force
On 1 January 2012, the International Chamber of Commerce Rules of Arbitration (“new ICC Rules”) entered into force. Arbitration proceedings introduced after 1 January 2012 will now be subject to the new ICC Rules, unless the parties have agreed to submit to the Rules in effect on the date of their arbitration agreement.

Fatou Bensouda to become new Prosecutor of International Criminal Court
On 1 December 2011, it was confirmed that the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (the “Court”) was ready to recommend Ms. Fatou Bensouda of The Gambia as the next prosecutor of the Court. Ms. Bensouda, currently in post as deputy prosecutor, will replace the incumbent, Luis-Moreno Ocampo, and take office on 16 June 2012.

Five members of International Court of Justice elected by United Nations General Assembly and Security Council
Five judges have been elected to the International Court of Justice for a term of office of nine years to commence on 6 February 2012. On 10 November 2011, Judges Hisashi Owada (Japan), Peter Tomka (Slovakia) and Xue Hanqin (China) were re-elected as judges of the Court. Mr. Giorgio Gaja (Italy) was elected as a new judge of the Court. A fifth member of the Court, Ms. Julia Sebutinde (Uganda), was elected by the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council on 13 December 2011.

Election of New President of International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
On 1 October 2011, Judge Shunji Yanai of Japan was elected as President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (“ITLOS”) for the period 2011-2014. President Yanai has served as a member of ITLOS since 2005 and replaces outgoing President, Judge José Luis Jesus.

Palau to seek Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice
On 22 September 2011, President Johnson Toribiong of the Republic of Palau announced in a statement that it (along with the Republic of the Marshall Islands) would call upon the United Nations General Assembly to urgently seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the responsibilities of States under international law to ensure that activities carried out under their jurisdiction or control that emit greenhouse gases do not damage other States.

Firm News

Chambers and Partners have ranked Volterra Fietta in the top tier for their public international law category for 2012.

Volterra Fietta has been named as the winner of the Global Law Experts 2011 UK-ADR Law Firm of the Year Award.