Hélène Ruiz Fabri (Ed.)

International Law and Litigation

A Look into Procedure

1. Edition 2019, ISBN print: 978-3-8487-5742-8, ISBN online: 978-3-8452-9905-1,

Series: Studies of the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law, vol. 15


Bibliographic information
A Look into Procedure International Law and Litigation Hélène Ruiz Fabri (ed.) Studies of the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law 15 Nomos Studies of the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law edited by Prof. Dr. Dres. h.c. Burkhard Hess Prof. Dr. Hélène Ruiz Fabri Volume 15 Hélène Ruiz Fabri (ed.) International Law and Litigation A Look into Procedure Nomos The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at ISBN 978-3-8487-5742-8 (Print) 978-3-8452-9905-1 (ePDF) British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. ISBN 978-3-8487-5742-8 (Print) 978-3-8452-9905-1 (ePDF) Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Ruiz Fabri, Hélène International Law and Litigation A Look into Procedure Hélène Ruiz Fabri (ed.) 724 p. Includes bibliographic references and index. ISBN 978-3-8487-5742-8 (Print) 978-3-8452-9905-1 (ePDF) © Cover picture: Pont Adolphe Luxembourg, by Silk & Burg Published by Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, Baden-Baden, Germany 2019. Printed and bound in Germany. This publication is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial- NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND). Usage and distribution for commercial purposes as well as any distribution of modified material requires written permission. 1st Edition 2019 © 2019 The Authors. No responsibility for loss caused to any individual or organization acting on or refraining from action as a result of the material in this publication can be accepted by Nomos or the editor. Introduction Hélène Ruiz Fabri and Edoardo Stoppioni* This book is aimed at celebrating the beginning of the works of the Department of International Law and Dispute Resolution of the Max Planck Institute (MPI) Luxembourg for Procedural Law and takes its title from an eponymous conference held in Luxembourg in 2015 for the launch of its activities. This volume offers a fresh, integrated, and interdisciplinary approach to this new field of International Law – International Procedural Law – that the Department of International Law and Dispute Resolution is striving to construct epistemically. With contributions from twenty-five scholars, among renowned experts in the field as well as younger researchers working at the MPI, it sets out a research agenda on the topic of the specialty of the Department. The fundamental aim of the volume is to examine the increasingly notable theme of international dispute settlement from an innovative procedural perspective. Indeed, with the jurisdictionalization of international law that has taken place during the last thirty years, scholars, as well as practitioners, have shown an important and growing interest for international law litigation.1 Yet, little attention has been paid to the procedural aspects thereof.2 In building upon scholarship analysing sub-fields of international litigation (general international law analysis, international economic law procedures, human rights or European law mechanisms), it will attempt at providing an up-to-date seminal picture of the evolution of the role of procedure across these domains as well as an overall illustration of the field. * Prof. Hélène Ruiz Fabri is Director of the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law where she leads the Department of International Law and Dispute Resolution. Edoardo Stoppioni is a Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law. 1 L. Boisson de Chazournes, Plurality in the Fabric of International Courts and Tribunals: The Threads of a Managerial Approach, 28(1) European Journal of International Law (2017), 13-72. 2 H. Ruiz Fabri, The WTO Appellate Body or Judicial Power Unleashed: Sketches from the Procedural Side of the Story, 27(4) European Journal of International Law (2016), 1075-1081. 5 Towards a history of international procedural law: six authors in search of a field This preamble sets out to introduce the topic of international procedural law, focusing on the intellectual history of international dispute settlement. The leading idea is to take a picture of the major contributions to the reflection on international procedural law, starting from some milestone works which developed the basic ideas, the epistemic grounds of an international procedural law. It will particularly focus, chronologically, on six fundamental authors: B. Windscheid, M. Huber, N. Politis, G. Morelli, S. Rosenne and E. Lauterpacht. Why six authors? First, the idea draws of course on the novel and play by Luigi Pirandello (Sei personaggi in cerca di autore3), where the novelist changed the perspective and tried to shed light on a different perspective (being the relationship between not only the characters, but also their link to the author and the different actors at play in a theatre). This shift of perspective suits perfectly the project of conceiving and identifying international procedural law: looking at practices, documents, postures that may be well known to international lawyers while unveiling a new perspective, focusing on what procedure actually is and means. Second, as far as the identity of these characters goes, a disclaimer is needed. The first of these authors belongs to a different category from the others, not being an international lawyer. He was nevertheless the first to theorize the distinction between substance and procedure in depth. This differentiation took more time to find its place in international law. As far as this field is concerned, we need to look at those authors who have worked on international dispute settlement to find some reflection on procedure, sociological conflation that gave birth to an assimilation between international procedural law and international dispute settlement that is still largely ongoing but that should be deconstructed. Bernhard Windscheid (1817-1892) Our first author is not an international lawyer. Nevertheless, he is a fundamental mind in the reflection on what procedure is and what its logics are. Indeed, for a long time, reflection on procedure has been focusing on the I. 1. 3 L. Pirandello, ‘Six Characters in Search of an Author’ (1921), available at https://w (last visited 22 November 2018). Introduction 6 idea of action, the instrument that Roman law has conceived in order to give a procedural body to a substantial right. However, substance and procedure have long been tied together intellectually. This was the result of the monist conception of Savigny, deeply rooted in the Roman theory of the actio: the procedural action would be simply the substantial right in motion.4 Windscheid distinguished the two ideas one from the other.5 His dualist position strongly advocated for the autonomy of procedural law, as opposed to the substantial right at stake in the merits. He theorised a Klagerecht, a procedural right that had to be thought in clinical isolation from the substance.6 Starting from the simple idea that there are rights without action (as in the case of natural obligations) and from the opposite assumption that there are actions not ontologically linked to subjective rights (as in criminal law), he started elaborating the self-standing dignity of procedural law. It is rather abrupt to step from Windscheid to international lawyers having contributed to the construction of what we could call the branch of international procedural law. Indeed, procedure and procedural law have been intensively worked upon by legal theory scholars such as Hart,7 Fuller8 and Luhmann.9 Nevertheless, their works have been scarcely used by international lawyers to think their use of procedure. This is one of the main reasons why to date there is no serious theorisation of international procedural law. Max Huber (1874-1960) If we now move to international law, the first lawyer who became actively engaged with procedural issues was almost certainly Max Huber.10 After 2. 4 F. C. Von Savigny, System des heutigen römischen Rechts (1841), vol. V, § 204. 5 B. Windscheid, Zur Lehre von der römischen Actio, dem heutigen Klagerecht, der Litiscontestation und der Singularsuccession in Obligationen (1969). 6 B. Windscheid, Die Actio des römischen Civilrechts, vom Standpunkte des heutigen Rechts (1856), § 23. 7 H. Hart, The Concept of Law (1994), 2nd ed., p. 96. 8 L. Fuller, The Morality of Law (1969), p. 162. 9 N. Luhmann, Legitimation durch Verfahren (1983). 10 O. Diggelmann, ‘Max Huber’, in B. Fassbender and A. Peters (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the History of International Law (2012), p. 1156-1161; E. Stoppioni, ‘Max Huber’, Galerie des internationalistes, available at nternationalistes/huber/ (last visited 22 November 2018). Introduction 7 having been an important academic and worked on sociological perspectives on international law, he dedicated himself – starting from 1920 – to international dispute settlement. An arbitrator before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in several landmark cases, he was judge then president of the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ) between 1922 and 1930. One cannot forget his milestone contribution to the development of international law in the cases he settled as an arbitrator: be it the clarification of the contours of the right of self-determination in the Aaland case of 1920,11 the theory of international responsibility in the 1925 British Claims in Morocco award12 or the idea of sovereignty put forward in the 1928 Island of Palmas case.13 Similarly, his intellectual power profoundly influenced the first years of work of the PCIJ, as shown most notably by his dissenting opinion signed with Judge Anzilotti in the Wimbledon case.14 Simply put, Max Huber showed how international dispute settlement could be used to foster the interests and the identity of international law. Nicholas Politis (1872-1942) Nicholas Politis was one of the first academics to theorise the functioning of international justice.15 After having worked to the construction of the Recueil des arbitrages internationaux with A. de La Pradelle,16 in 1924 Politis published a milestone contribution to the very concept of international justice: La justice internationale.17 3. 11 Aaland Islands Case, Advisory Opinion, International Committee of Jurists, Spec. Supplement 3 League of Nations Official Journal (1920). 12 British Claims in the Spanish Zone of Morocco, 2 RIAA 615 (1925). 13 Island of Palmas Case, Scott, Hague Court Reports 2d 83 (1932) (Perm. Ct. Arb. 1928), 2 U.N. Rep. Intl. Arb. Awards 829. 14 SS Wimbledon Case, Dissenting opinion of Judges Anzilotti and Huber, Publications of the Court, Series A, No. 1, pp. 35-36. 15 M. Papadaki, The ‘Government Intellectuals’: Nicolas Politis – An Intellectual Portrait, 23(1) EJIL (2012), pp. 221-231; R. Kolb, Politis and Sociological Jurisprudence of Inter-War International Law, 23(1) EJIL (2012), pp. 233-241; U. Özsu, Politis and the Limits of Legal Form, 23(1) EJIL (2012), pp. 243-253. 16 A. De la Pradelle and N. Politis, Affaire du canal de Suez et note doctrinale, in A. De la Pradelle and N. Politis, Recueil des Arbitrages Internationaux II, (1856-1872) (1924), 344-386. 17 N. Politis, La justice internationale (1924). Introduction 8 The central idea of the author is simple: there is a particularism of a sovereign subject being held responsible before a court, ie there is a particularism to such an application of the principle of legality at the international level. In order to encourage the international rule of law, the international legal order had to strictly regulate the use of force and to move towards the multiplication of non-judicial and judicial remedies for the application of international law. This would include facilitating the construction of direct means of the individual’s access to international courts and tribunal. One cannot help but see here the prophecy of the evolution of international dispute settlement: based on the principle of consensual justice, transforming its framework with the prohibition of the use of force set out in the Charter and progressively developing towards the flourishing of not only inter-state but also of mixed instruments opposing directly individual to Sovereign States. Gaetano Morelli (1900-1990) The beginning of a reflection on the theory of international litigation from a technical perspective, and therefore of a systematic study of the procedural aspects of international justice is undeniably linked to the name of the Italian Gaetano Morelli.18 Having studied in Rome both with the great international lawyer Dionisio Anzilotti and with the father of Italian civil procedure, Giuseppe Chiovenda, in his works Morelli kept faith with the intellectual influence of these two masters. His career in practice started with a landmark case of international procedural law when he pleaded for Italy in the Monetary Gold case, which still has an enormous impact on the theory of consent and of intervention. Judge at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) between 1961 and 1970, he reflected in his dissenting opinions on fundamental concepts of international dispute settlement such as the notion of dispute in the Northern Ca- 4. 18 E. Cannizzaro, “Morelli, Gaetano”, in Dizionario biografico degli italiani (Treccani) (2012), vol. 76; G. Gaja, “Gaetano Morelli”, Rivista di diritto internazionale (1990), p. 114; E. Stoppioni, ‘Gaetano Morelli’, Galerie des internationalistes, available at (last visited 22 November 2018). Introduction 9 meroon case,19 the regime of preliminary exceptions and of locus standi in his two opinions in the Barcelona Traction case.20 As an academic he profoundly shaped reflection on the law of international procedure. His principal contribution in this sense, his Hague Course La théorie générale du procès international on the concept of international decision21 – seen as a legal fact and not as a legal act –remains a ground-breaking piece of scholarship. Shabtai Rosenne (1917-2010) Another founding father of the reflection on international dispute settlement is Shabtai Rosenne. A statesman who cooperated in the construction of the State of Israel, a diplomat serving at the International Law Commission (ILC) and at the Institut du droit international, he was also a passionate professor and dedicated much of his work to the functioning of the ICJ and of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). The 1997 The Law and Practice of the International Court,22 as well as his 2005 Provisional Measures in International Law: the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea23 and Essays on International Law and Practice of 2007 remain classics that are still used today to teach international dispute settlement and constantly quoted by international courts and tribunals.24 The work of Rosenne was not merely descriptive but aimed at theorising international dispute settlement, as demonstrated by his reflection on the function of the international judge.25 Indeed, his production is really representative of the state of the art in international procedural law. Despite having intensively contributed to the refining and understanding of the categories of international dispute settlement and to the systematisa- 5. 19 Northern Cameroons (Cameroon v. United Kingdom), Judgment, ICJ Reports 1963, Separate Opinion. 20 Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company, Limited (Belgium v. Spain), Preliminary Objections, Judgment, ICJ Reports 1964, Separate Opinion. 21 G. Morelli, La théorie générale du procès international, RCADI (1937), t. 61, pp. 253-373. 22 S. Rosenne, The law and practice of the International Court 1920-1996 (1997). 23 S. Rosenne, Provisional measures in international law: the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (2005). 24 S. Rosenne, Essays on international law and practice (2007). 25 S. Rosenne, Sir Hersch Lauterpacht’s Concept of the Task of the International Judge, 55(4) AJIL (1961), pp. 825-862. Introduction 10 tion of international case law, this impressive work was conducted without stressing directly the idea of dealing with “procedure”. Moreover, at that time the panorama of international courts and tribunals was quite different from the one we know today: the principal international jurisdictions that are considered as being the milestones and references are mainly inter- State courts, be it the ICJ or ITLOS. International procedural law has today gained a much more diversified ontology, its fabric having been considerably shaped by fragmentation. These changes brought about the need to find common trends, to frame the cross-fertilization between these different actors, the reasons for the diversity of solutions but, above all, to understand the functioning of this polymorphism of decision-making. Elihu Lauterpacht (1928-2017) Last in time, but not least, one cannot but mention the contribution of Elihu Lauterpacht to the field. Son of Hersch Lauterpacht and founder of the Lauterpacht Centre at Cambridge University, he was one of the leading figures of litigation before international courts and tribunals. Having begun with the 1953 Nottebohm case (ICJ) and having most notably defended the claim of New Zealand against the French nuclear testing, he was part of the small pool of lawyers appearing regularly before the ICJ and in interstate arbitration.26 As a judge, he strived for a paradigm change in our conception of the system, convinced that we had to recognise that individuals and not States are the “ultimate beneficiaries of the legal system”. As an academic he worked hard to disseminate knowledge on international dispute settlement. Editor of the International Law Reports since 1960, he started the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal Reports in 1983 and the ICSID Reports in 1993. An emblematic figure for international procedural law, by focusing on the nature of decision-making in dispute settlement and international institutional law, he contributed to making international procedural law a field in itself. This is shown most notably in his 1976 book The Development of the Law of International Organizations by the Decisions of International Tribunals27 and in his 1991 Aspects of the Administration of International 6. 26 See ‘Sir Elihu Lauterpacht Obituary’, available at w/2017/feb/10/sir-elihu-lauterpacht-obituary (last visited 22 November 2018). 27 E. Lauterpacht, The development of the law of international organization by the decisions of international tribunals (1976). Introduction 11 Justice.28 Of course, one must mention his Hague Course, delivering one of the first comprehensive conceptualisation of the role of procedure in international law. The present work remains within the more traditional area of international procedural law, questioning mainly the functioning of international dispute settlement. Nevertheless, as it is shown most notably in the works of Elihu Lauterphacht, international procedural law has a wider spectrum: it requires consideration of the phenomenology of decision-making, not only within international courts and tribunals but also in international institutions. It also involves understanding what Luhmann called the duality of procedural law (Verfahrensrecht) and procedure (Verfahren). International Procedural Law: between Unity and Diversity After this journey, one cannot but be puzzled by an oscillation inhabiting the field. Generally, procedure is presented as having the capacity to level the playing field and being stimulated by strong fundamental ideas that are universal. Indeed, on the one hand and from the perspective of sources, it is the domain of election of general principles. On the other hand, from the point of view of the content of procedure, international procedural law is presented as being animated by general and universal ideas (such as due process of law or equality of parties) that seem to rely on a widely-accepted idea of moral symmetry, conceptualized by Kant. This vision certainly needs to be challenged. Indeed, with the anxieties raised by the fragmentation of international law and the proliferation of international courts and tribunals, one may wonder if there is still so much unity in international dispute settlement. Moreover, the way in which the procedural system functions in no way reflects the idea of neutrality and universality that is generally put forward. As well as the general principles, there are indeed different ways of conducting proceedings and those who master these ways have an important advantage within the system. Some today talk of the Americanization of international procedural law, an idea that takes us far away from the concept of universality. This volume has therefore decided to take this schizophrenic attitude of international procedural law seriously. It is divided into two substantive sections, each of which consists of a thematically focused set of essays. As II. 28 E. Lauterpacht, Aspects of the administration of international justice (1991). Introduction 12 the two titles suggest, the aim of the book is to show the diversity that is consubstantially linked to international procedural law. The first part of the volume, entitled “Diverse tools for conceiving international procedural law”, theorizes the very notion of international procedural law in tandem with a host of conceptual tools necessary to construct this epistemic field: the substance vs procedure divide, the decisional outcome, the comparative methodology and history. The diversity here reflects the need for a multiperspective approach towards the topic. The second part, entitled “Diverse fields for international procedural law”, examines at close quarters some of the most significant contexts in which international procedural law has developed. This part is structured thematically. It begins with an analysis of some topical evolutions in international economic law dispute settlement, deals with procedures in international organizations and then finishes with some hot procedural topics concerning justice in Europe (be they relevant for the law of the European Union or the law of the European Convention of Human Rights). Introduction 13 Content Procéduralisation et transformation de l’idée de justice 19 Jean-Marc Sorel Substantive and Procedural Rules in International Adjudication: Exploring their Interaction in Intervention before the International Court of Justice 37 Matina Papadaki The Dual Role of Procedure in International Water Law 65 Tamar Meshel Brief Remarks on the Effect of Judgments on International Law 91 Prof. Yves Daudet Advisory Opinions: An Alternative Means to Avoid the Development of Legal Conflicts? 99 Rüdiger Wolfrum The Use of Ex Curia Experts in International Litigation: Why the WTO Dispute Settlement Cannot Serve to Improve ICJ Practice 107 Andrea Hamann L’accès direct de la personne privée à la juridiction internationale : Une comparaison entre l’arbitrage d’investissement et le contentieux de la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme 147 Edoardo Stoppioni The Procrustean Bed of Colonial Laws: A Case of the British Empire in India 183 Parvathi Menon 15 Evidence Requirements before 19th Century Anti-Slave Trade Jurisdictions and Slavery as a Standard of Treatment 205 Michel Erpelding La qualité étatique accordée par le juge interne : Une reconnaissance procédurale de l’État ? 233 Mehdi Belkahla Cyber Espionage in Inter-State Litigation 271 Marco Benatar La reconnaissance juridictionnelle des monnaies virtuelles 301 Alain Zamaria Parallel and Overlapping Proceedings in International Economic Law: Towards an Ordered Co-existence 331 Laurence Boisson de Chazournes International Investment Law and Arbitration: A Conceptual Framework 363 Rob Howse Consent to Arbitration through Legislation 447 Christoph Schreuer Domestic and Multilateral Forums for the Judicial Review of U.S. Trade Remedy Determinations: Complementary or Conflicting? 479 Henok Birhanu Asmelash Practices and Ways of Doing Things in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Law 513 Gabrielle Marceau & Clément Marquet Quasi-Judicial Bodies as Procedural Innovations: The World Bank Access to Information Appeals Procedure 551 Edouard Fromageau Content 16 Due Process and Procedural Law in Accountability Mechanisms: The Case of the World Bank 569 André Nunes Chaib The Interaction Between the European Court of Justice and National Courts in Preliminary Ruling Proceedings: Some Institutional and Procedural Observations 603 Allan Rosas Distant Strangers and Standing in Polisario 625 Aravind Ganesh Unravelling Attribution, Control and Jurisdiction: Some Reflections on the Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights 659 Remy Jorritsma The Lack of Effective Remedies at the European Court of Human Rights after Opinion 2/13 695 Dalia Palombo Content 17 Procéduralisation et transformation de l’idée de justice Jean-Marc Sorel* « Certains pensent que l’honnêteté est toujours la meilleure attitude. C’est une superstition. A certains moments, l’apparence de l’honnêteté surpasse grandement l’honnêteté elle-même. » Mark Twain – Aphorismes Introduction « Justice must not only be done, but it must also be seen to be done. » Cet adage bien connu sous plusieurs versions (et plusieurs traductions) serait en quelque sorte le creuset de la procéduralisation, ou un de ses aspects. Si la justice est rendue, elle doit l’être dans une apparence de justice, la question centrale étant sans doute lorsque l’apparence supplante le rendu de la justice elle-même, autrement dit lorsque le respect de la forme permet d’oublier l’éventuelle vacuité ou la pauvreté du fond. Il est néanmoins évident que la grande majorité des décisions rendues aujourd’hui par les juridictions internationales allient l’apparence et le rendu d’une décision justifiée au fond. Notre propos n’est donc pas de remettre en cause cette évidence, mais de s’interroger sur une balance qui tend de plus en plus à privilégier le respect de la forme, sans forcément amoindrir le fond, mais, pour le moins, à créer des contraintes qui satisfont l’apparence sans forcément satisfaire toujours la justice. L’arme de la procédure est devenue un enjeu à part entière (et, de plus en plus, un objet d’étude1), gagner un procès sur des arguments de procédure n’est plus une victoire à la Pyrrhus. A cet égard, et pour reprendre l’interrogation centrale de ce panel, on est en droit de s’interroger sur l’importance prise par la procédure – et jusqu’où – dans le règlement des diffé- I. * Professeur à l’Ecole de Droit de la Sorbonne (Université Paris 1). 1 Pour un exemple récent : N. Le Bonniec, La procéduralisation des droits substantiels par la Cour européenne des droits de l'homme, Réflexion sur le contrôle juridictionnel du respect des droits garantis par la Convention européenne des droits de l'homme (2015) [Thèse Montpellier 1, sous la direction de F. Sudre]. 19 rends internationaux. Par procéduralisation, il faut entendre la progression des éléments formels de procédure à l’intérieur d’un procès ou d’une juridiction en général, progression qui permet le constat d’une forme de domination de l’utilisation du cadre procédural au regard du traitement du fond de l’affaire. Il doit être clair que cette progression n’est pas a priori négative car elle participe de l’évolution, de la maturation, d’une juridiction et des éléments qui permettent de la faire entrer dans le cadre d’un état de droit. Ceci doit être précisé puisqu’il s’agira ici, a contrario, plutôt de voir les effets négatifs de cette procéduralisation. En soulignant ces aspects cela ne doit pas signifier qu’ils sont uniques, ni même prédominants. Ceci étant, il ne s’agira nullement, dans ce bref papier, d’une étude de la « procédure » au sens strict, ni de la jurisprudence afférente à la procédure, mais plus d’une modeste réflexion sur ce phénomène.2 En effet, traditionnellement, on prend en compte les règles substantielles dans le règlement des différends et on néglige les normes procédurales considérées comme secondaires ou formelles dans la décision finale. En bref, le fond l’emportait sur la forme. Qu’en est-il désormais ? Plusieurs brèves – et modestes – remarques permettent d’essayer de circonscrire ce phénomène de procéduralisation du contentieux qui ne semble pas toucher uniquement les juridictions internationales, mais qui serait le marqueur d’une certaine idée de la justice aujourd’hui très répandue. A cet égard, les juridictions internationales semblent plus s’inscrire 2 Pour cette raison, nous omettrons les notes techniques ou les références à de multiples études sur le sujet. Et nous renvoyons à différentes études qui ont émaillé notre réflexion, et dans lesquels nous piocherons si nécessaire pour les remarques qui suivent. Voir notamment : J. M. Sorel, International Courts and Tribunals, Procedure, Max Planck Encyclopedia of International Law (2007), disponible à l’adresse : 99231690-e40?rskey=Q6Tzrl&result=1&prd=EPIL (dernière visite le 23 octobre 2018), et version papier (2008), 11; J. M. Sorel, Les premiers pas des juridictions internationales : maladresse, péché de jeunesse ou affirmation ?, in Liber Amicorum Jean-Pierre Cot : Le procès international (2009), 283-308; J. M. Sorel, Le paradigme de la constitutionnalisation vu du droit international : le côté obscur de la force, in S. Hennette-Vauchez & J. M. Sorel (dir.), Les droits de l’homme ont-ils constitutionnalisé le monde ? – Collection de la Convention européenne des droits de l’homme (2011), 217-238; J. M. Sorel, Chapitre 63 : Les tribunaux mixtes ou hybrides, in H. Ascensio et al. (dir.) Droit international pénal (deuxième édition révisée) (2012), 825-843; J. M. Sorel, Les juridictions internationales, in P. Hassner, Les relations internationales, 2ème éd. (2012), 58-63; J. M. Sorel, La justice pénale : un modèle ou une illusion ? in S. Guinchard & J. Buisson (dir.), Les transformations de la justice pénale, cycle de conférences 2013 à la Cour de cassation (2014), 297-309. Jean-Marc Sorel 20 dans l’air du temps que provoquer ce phénomène. Sans épuiser un vaste sujet qui fait l’objet de l’axe directeur de l’Institut Max Planck du Luxembourg sous la houlette d’Hélène Ruiz Fabri, il convient de remarquer l’importance et la généralisation du mouvement de procéduralisation (I), les mille visages de la procédure selon les acteurs du procès (II), la confusion qui en résulte entre procéduralisation et légitimation (de la juridiction et du procès) (III), avant de conclure sur la transformation progressive de l’idée de justice à travers la procéduralisation (IV). La lame de fond du mouvement de procéduralisation Les causes de ce mouvement de procéduralisation sont multiples et, pour la plupart, bien connues. On pourrait, par simplification excessive, se contenter de remarquer la propagation souvent remarquée de la sphère anglo-saxonne sur les autres systèmes juridiques, et sur les juridictions internationales en particulier. En effet, la procédure y tient une place depuis longtemps importante, pour ne pas dire démesurée. Les juridictions internationales pénales en ont été, à cet égard, des révélateurs par la prédominance du système accusatoire de la common law. Mais sans doute faut-il plus pointer du doigt la progression de ce qu’il est convenu de qualifier de théorie des apparences procédurales. Ce mouvement s’appuie sur une soif de légalisation, de juridisme, qui fait passer la forme avant le fond, et qui modifie souvent le sens du procès. L’espoir ne sera pas de gagner le juge à la cause défendue, mais de le faire trébucher sur des arguments formels. On souhaite que la forme soit respectée, et on s’arcboute sur celle-ci, sans se soucier de savoir si le fond en devient – ou en sera – plus impartialement jugé. Un exemple récent et topique en droit interne français On peut en juger dans bien d’autres domaines que les juridictions internationales. Ainsi la bataille des critères d’impartialité devant les autorités administratives indépendantes en France qui fait rage depuis quelques années nous semble un parfait exemple qui a récemment rebondi. En effet, une ju- II. A. Procéduralisation et transformation de l’idée de justice 21 risprudence récente du Conseil d’Etat français peut à cet égard illustrer cette dérive procédurale.3 En effet, le Conseil d’État vient d’accepter d’être saisi de recours en annulation contre des actes de droit souple, tels que des communiqués de presse ou des prises de position d’autorités publiques, alors que de tels actes n’étaient jusqu’alors pas susceptibles de recours juridictionnels dès lors qu’ils n’avaient aucun effet juridique (nous préférerions préciser « aucun effet obligatoire »). Petite révolution donc dans le droit français. Mais quelle révolution ? Les deux affaires jugées par l’assemblée du contentieux montraient l’importance du droit souple dans les nouveaux modes d’action des personnes publiques, comme l’avait souligné l’étude annuelle du Conseil d’État de l’année 2013 consacré au « Droit souple ». Sans véritablement créer d’obligation juridique ni accorder de nouveaux droits aux usagers, l’administration peut utiliser des instruments de communication pour influencer ou dissuader les acteurs, et peut émettre des prises de position ou des recommandations qui n’ont pas de valeur obligatoire mais vont, dans les faits, être écoutées et suivies d’effets. A ce propos, le Conseil d’Etat juge tout d’abord, conformément à une jurisprudence antérieure, qu’il peut être saisi lorsqu’il s’agit d’avis, de recommandations, de mises en garde et de prises de position qui pourraient ensuite justifier des sanctions de la part des autorités. Ensuite, et sur ce point de manière novatrice, il se reconnait compétent lorsque l’acte contesté est de nature à produire des effets notables, notamment de nature économique, ou lorsqu’il a pour objet d’influer de manière significative sur les comportements des personnes auxquelles il s’adresse. Pour examiner la légalité de ces actes, le juge contrôle, en l’espèce, la compétence des personnes publiques pour les édicter, le respect des droits de la défense et, avec une intensité variable selon les actes en cause, l’appréciation portée par l’autorité. Mais c’est bien le respect du cadre procédural qui semble l’épicentre de cette petite révolution en droit français. 9. […] qu’il ressort ainsi des pièces du dossier que la société NC Numericable a pu présenter ses observations préalablement à l’adoption de l’acte attaqué; que, par suite, le moyen tiré de ce que l’Autorité aurait méconnu le principe général des droits de la défense, au motif 3 Société Fairvesta International GMBH et autres, décisions n° 368082, 368083, 368084 : CE, 21 mars 2016; Société NC Numericable,décision n° 390023 : CE, 21 mars 2016. Jean-Marc Sorel 22 qu’elle n’aurait pas consulté la société NC Numericable préalablement à l’adoption de sa délibération, doit être écarté; 10. Considérant, d’autre part, que l’acte attaqué a été, comme il a été dit ci-dessus, délibéré par la commission permanente de l’Autorité de la concurrence; que la lettre du président adressée à la société requérante a pour objet de lui notifier cet acte et de lui en donner les motifs; que, par suite, les moyens tirés de l’incompétence du président de l’Autorité pour prendre un tel acte, de ce qu’il ne procéderait pas d’une délibération collégiale et qu’il serait entaché d’irrégularité en ce qu’il méconnaîtrait le principe de parallélisme des formes et des procédures, ainsi que le principe de parallélisme des compétences, doivent être écartés.4 On observe dans ce domaine, comme dans d’autres, un glissement entre le contrôle substantiel et le contrôle procédural en matière économique, ce qui conduit finalement à préserver une marge de manœuvre aux autorités administratives chargées de réguler des secteurs économiques quant au contenu des choix effectués, tant que ceux-ci sont effectués et régulés conformément à la loi. En réalité, la validité axiologique des choix effectués par le juge, c’est-à-dire la conformité du produit de l’interprétation à des valeurs exogènes, n’a que guère d’importance car il est probable, sauf « erreur manifeste d’appréciation » (elle-même peu probable), que l’interprétation au fond sera conforme à celle édictée par l’autorité professionnelle régulatrice. On peut par ailleurs s’en féliciter pour l’essence même de la régulation économique. Tout au plus, cela peut être un signal vers l’attention qui doit être portée aux avis ou textes souples en cause. La prudence sera de mise dans leur rédaction. L’essentiel résidait bien dans l’apparence du contrôle juridictionnel effectué sur des textes souples, et dans le contrôle avant tout du respect d’une procédure permettant de les invoquer. Mais il en va de même, plus prosaïquement, pour certaines procédures non juridictionnelles. L’universitaire français ne peut que remarquer – et souvent regretter – que les procédures de recrutement au sein de l’université, notamment pour les professeurs, s’assimilent à une véritable parodie procédurale : l’administration va se soucier de vérifier le nombre de jours entre deux réunions, le quorum, la parité au sein des comités, etc, sans se soucier par ailleurs de savoir si le candidat (bien souvent préprogrammé et unique) a vraiment été choisi sur des critères d’excellence. Peu importe 4 Société NC Numericable, supra note 3. Procéduralisation et transformation de l’idée de justice 23 donc si la procédure ne sert qu’à avaliser un candidat pressenti d’une manière absolument pas démocratique. L’apparition du rapprochement de conjoints dans ce cadre permet même désormais de se passer de toute appréciation sur le fond du dossier. Les Universités, effrayées par une menace de recours n’osent plus bouger le petit doigt. C’est dire. Tout est contestable et souvent contesté formellement. Dès lors, on expose tout, sans pour autant que le « rendre compte » (accountabilty) modifie le fond de la question. Ce qui compte, c’est le respect de la forme, et peu importe si le fond est toujours aussi subjectif, voire totalement partial. La procéduralisation devant les juridictions internationales Si nous revenons aux juridictions internationales, partant du constat bien connu que le fondement de la juridiction internationale serait le consentement de l’Etat sur la base de la matrice de la Cour internationale de Justice, on incline rapidement à penser que la procédure est le rempart derrière lequel l’Etat va s’abriter pour que sa volonté soit scrupuleusement respectée. Ce qui revient à admettre que cette procédure est avant tout une forme de droits de la défense – et non d’expression de droits positifs – pour empêcher la frontière bien gardée du consentement d’être contournée. Certes, ceci est logique pour le défendeur devant toute juridiction, mais elle prend ici une dimension particulière puisqu’il faut prima facie constater que le justiciable a bien accepté son juge. Cette posture reste fondamentalement vraie en dépit de la progression de formes de juridiction obligatoire en droit international. Certes, le « monolithe s’effrite »5 mais la place de la Cour internationale de Justice reste centrale, voire supérieure par son ancienneté et son aura, à défaut de posséder une position suprême. A bien des égards donc, la CIJ peut servir de matrice à une réflexion sur le mouvement de procéduralisation. Pour les Etats, la juridiction consentie est une protection et l’on a vu la CIJ s’épuiser dans de longs procès intermédiaires pour prouver ou rejeter sa compétence, ou la recevabilité de la requête. Parfois avec suspicion lorsque ce refus aurait pu être indiqué dès le stade des exceptions préliminaires B. 5 H. Ruiz Fabri & J. M. Sorel, Juridiction obligatoire ? Procédure contraignante ? Et si l’amoindrissement de la liberté des Etats face à leurs juges ne venait pas d’où l’on pense ?, in Justices et droit du procès, du légalisme procédural à l’humanisme processuel, Mélanges en l’honneur de Serge Guinchard (2010), 479-490. Jean-Marc Sorel 24 (Sud-Ouest africain6 ou Barcelona Traction7) mais, quoi qu’il en soit, les arrêts sur la compétence ou la recevabilité ont toujours été considérés comme au moins aussi importants que ceux sur le fond parce qu’ils révèlent des possibilités ou limites de la juridiction internationale. On le sait, la CIJ fonctionne sur la base d’un statut ancien et peu renouvelé, auquel s’adjoint un Règlement de procédure qui est lui évolutif, ne serait-ce que parce que le juge en a cette fois-ci la maîtrise. Les instructions de procédure venant compléter cet ensemble. Il n’empêche qu’une disproportion entre le Statut et le Règlement s’est faite jour rapidement. Les traces de dispositions procédurales sont souvent ténues dans le Statut, alors que le Règlement peut lui accorder toute leur importance. Quoi qu’il en soit, l’équilibre n’est plus respecté entre les quelques allusions statutaires à certaines procédures, et leur utilisation par les Etats. La liaison entre le Statut et le Règlement pourrait être largement améliorée si toutes les procédures y trouvaient une place, et si l’équilibre entre les procédures était respecté dans la rédaction des articles.8 Mais un autre constat peut être opéré. La progression de la juridiction obligatoire entraîne aussi ses effets pervers dont la montée en puissance de la procéduralisation pourrait être un signe. Ce serait, en quelque sorte, le prix à payer pour amoindrir le passage du consentement à l’obligatoire pour les Etats. Une distinction historique est nécessaire entre la CIJ qui a toujours privilégié la procédure en raison de la sensibilité historique des Etats souverains dans le cadre d’une bonne administration de la justice et d’une justice consentie (mais sans l’obsession de l’administration de la preuve qu’elle laisse venir), alors que les nouvelles juridictions privilégient la procédure pour d’autres raisons : prouver que l’on est sérieux, assurer les premiers pas d’une juridiction, s’affirmer face à l’Etat, etc. Le syndrome du débutant en quelque sorte. Mais, en général, pour des raisons différentes, toutes les juridictions sont touchées par ce mouvement qui semble venir d’une forme de 6 Affaires du Sud-Ouest africain (Éthiopie c. Afrique du Sud; Libéria c. Afrique du Sud), Exceptions préliminaires, Arrêt, CIJ Recueil 1962, 319; Affaires du Sud-Ouest africain (Éthiopie c. Afrique du Sud; Libéria c. Afrique du Sud), Deuxième phase, Arrêt, CIJ Recueil 1966, 6. 7 Affaire de la Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company, Limited (Belgique c. Espagne), Mémoires, Plaidoiries et Documents, CIJ Recueil 1962, 2; Affaire de la Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company, Limited (Belgique c. Espagne), Arrêt, CIJ Recueil 1970, 3. 8 J. M. Sorel & F. Poirat, Rapport introductif : Les procédures incidentes devant la Cour internationale de Justice : exercice ou abus de droits ?, Université de Rennes 1 – Journée d'études du 18 mai 2000 : Collection contentieux international (2001), 7, 7-57. Procéduralisation et transformation de l’idée de justice 25 principe général de droit. Et, à cet égard, le principe général du droit selon lequel la juridiction en droit international est consentie parce que, justement, il ne peut être tiré d’un principe général de droit en sens inverse, semble dangereusement vaciller. Le principe se dilue, oscille entre le « commun » et le « général », entre le « de » et le « du », sans que l’on sache désormais dans quel sens la balance penche. Le progrès de la juridiction obligatoire – donc de la juridictionnalisation du droit international – est, on le sait, à la fois quantitatif et qualitatif. Or, dans ce qualitatif, la procédure a un rôle important dont la justice internationale pénale a montré à bien des égards la richesse et les effets pervers. L’arrivée de la procédure pénale en droit international a clairement entraîné une sensibilité accrue aux exigences du procès équitable, même si la propension au contradictoire et à l’égalité des armes était déjà dans les gênes du procès interétatique, confronté à la susceptibilité des clients étatiques. Mais, surtout, ceci a créé une sorte de mouvement de propagation de la sensibilité aux aspects procéduraux, d’autant qu’il existe une claire tendance des juridictions à s’inspirer de ce qui se fait ailleurs pour résoudre les questions procédurales qui pourraient surgir devant elles. Le phénomène fut particulièrement prégnant pour la justice pénale qui, privée de modèle original en droit international, s’est moulée dans les modèles nationaux, parfois à l’excès comme le TPIY pour le modèle anglo-saxon. Mais ce phénomène qui, à l’origine, partait de l’interne vers l’externe, semble désormais subir une influence horizontale entre les juridictions internationales. « Ce fut tout aussi prégnant pour un mécanisme jeune comme le règlement des différends de l’OMC, qui s’est explicitement référé à la jurisprudence d’autres cours et tribunaux pour fonder, et en même temps, légitimer ses solutions, alors même que la procédure était déjà, de façon générale, le domaine où l’on rencontrait les exemples les plus évidents de principes généraux du droit international. De fait, c’est bien ce phénomène qu’on observe, de généralisation de principes de procédure. La convergence ou l’entrelacement de ces deux facteurs favorise une homogénéisation, qui est aussi un facteur de contrainte pour les justiciables mais qui est en même temps, et cela peut rencontrer leur revendication, un facteur de sécurité ».9 On le conçoit aisément, le débat n’est pas simple et le miroir de la procéduralisation est à multiples facettes. On constate ainsi que la progression de la juridiction obligatoire en droit international doit sans doute plus à une procéduralisation contraignante qu’à la progression proprement dite 9 Ruiz Fabri & Sorel, supra note 5, 488. Jean-Marc Sorel 26 du consentement des Etats. Le tout s’ajuste dans un système de vases communicants : la procédure s’affirme par banalisation mais aussi comme bouclier contre l’effritement du facultatif. La procéduralisation apparaît ainsi comme une cause de la progression du caractère obligatoire de la juridiction internationale, mais aussi comme une conséquence de celle-ci. Etant de plus en plus exposé, on se protège de plus en plus. De leur côté, les juridictions internationales, faute d’un ancrage matriciel dans la sphère internationale, faute d’être le point d’équilibre initial entre des pouvoirs constitués, faute d’un pouvoir judiciaire unifié, doivent trouver en elles-mêmes la source de leur autorité et de leur légitimité. Les mille visages de la procédure selon les acteurs du procès La procédure peut être envisagée différemment selon les acteurs d’un procès international : C’est un Janus aux mille visages. Mais, finalement, tout le monde peut y trouver un intérêt, sauf peut-être la justice elle-même. Il existe une différence essentielle entre le client qui, lorsqu’il s’agit d’un Etat, comprend souvent mal les règles de procédure et les estime superfétatoires, et les Conseils dont la mission est notamment de rappeler au client toute l’importance des arguties de procédure. Quant au juge, on pourrait résumer sa philosophie par une forme d’aphorisme : l’utilisation des règles procédurales n’est pas forcément souhaitée (sous-entendue, lorsqu’elles le sont avec excès), mais c’est permis, et donc encore moins interdit. Si la volonté des Etats est encore effective au stade de l’acceptation de la juridiction, elle s’amoindrit dès lors qu’un procès se déroule dans lequel ils sont impliqués. Une fois dans la nasse, on est cerné par la procédure. Alors que la cause paraissait claire pour l’Etat, il s’inquiète souvent des détours de la procédure qui sont, pour lui, autant d’obstacles inutiles vers l’affirmation de sa thèse. A l’inverse, il peut s’en trouver réconforter si, en tant que défendeur, il est conscient que le jugement au fond lui sera probablement défavorable. C’est alors au Conseil d’utiliser au mieux cette procédure, que ce soit dans un sens ou dans l’autre. Qu’on nous permette l’évocation d’une expérience personnelle comme Conseil et avocat du Cambodge dans l’affaire de la Demande en interprétation de l’arrêt du 15 juin 1962 en l’affaire du Temple de Préah Vihéar (Cambodge c. Thaïlande), devant la Cour internationale de Justice (arrêt du 11 III. Procéduralisation et transformation de l’idée de justice 27 novembre 2013).10 Il y avait alors remise en cause de la procédure de 1962 et utilisation de l’actuelle, mais surtout cette procédure s’est révélée un piège pour la Thaïlande 50 ans après l’arrêt initial. En l’espèce, le juge a joué l’application à la lettre de la procédure en répondant à une situation inédite : une demande en interprétation d’un arrêt rendu 50 ans plus tôt. Estimant que la Thaïlande avait donné son consentement à l’affaire initiale (en l’espèce, elle avait alors fait la déclaration facultative de juridiction obligatoire), la Cour, se basant sur la seule interprétation de l’arrêt initial, a estimé que ce consentement était toujours valable, alors même que la Thaïlande n’avait plus de déclaration de l’article 36 para. 2. Au surplus, des mesures conservatoires ont été demandées par le Cambodge (et acceptées par la Cour) après l’introduction de la demande en interprétation. Certes, il ne s’agissait pas d’une première puisque le Mexique avait fait de même en 2009 mais, alors que le Mexique avait introduit une affaire en interprétation au principal pour demander des mesures conservatoires (car il s’agissait alors de l’unique possibilité), son objectif étant uniquement l’obtention de ces dernières,11 le Cambodge avait bien comme finalité l’interprétation de l’arrêt de 1962, ce à quoi la Cour a fait droit en interprétant réellement pour la première fois un de ses arrêts avec des conséquences bien concrètes pour les parties. Si, dans le cas du Mexique, la procédure lui a permis d’atteindre son but (obtenir des mesures conservatoires), tout en voyant logiquement rejeté sa demande au fond, pour le Cambodge, l’utilisation de la procédure n’avait pour objectif que de passer l’obstacle de manière à parvenir au fond. Quoi qu’il en soit, le maniement des possibilités ouvertes par la procédure fut remarquable, ouvrant des perspectives et une souplesse qui n’étaient pas évidentes à la simple lecture du Statut ou même du Règlement. Dans ce cadre, le Conseil de l’Etat se doit d’envisager les possibilités, tout en expliquant à l’Etat les risques de l’utilisation de certaines procédures. Ceci fonctionne comme indiqué supra par défaut : si ce n’est pas interdit, c’est que c’est possible. Encore faut-il bien utiliser cette procédure et envisager toutes les situations où la Cour pourrait, par une ouverture insoupçonnée, rejeter la demande. A l’inverse, lorsque l’affaire est amenée par compromis, le juge se concentre directement sur le fond, ce qui se révèle plus efficace et ren- 10 Affaire du temple de Préah Vihéar (Cambodge c. Thaïlande), Arrêt, CIJ Recueil 1962, 6. 11 Demande en interprétation de l’arrêt du 31 mars 2004 en l’affaire Avena et autres ressortissants mexicains (Mexique c. Etats-Unis d’Amérique) (Mexique c. Etats- Unis d’Amérique), Arrêt, CIJ Recueil 2009, 3. Jean-Marc Sorel 28 voie la procédure à ce qu’elle est : une arme aux mains des parties pour empêcher ou retarder le dénouement sur le fond. Cette évolution ne joue pas seulement dans le domaine du contentieux puisque l’on constate également une forme de contentieurisation (on nous pardonnera ce barbarisme) de la procédure consultative. Entre autres exemples, l’affaire dite du Mur en Cisjordanie en 2004 en a été l’illustration.12 La Cour, avant de répondre à la question d’une manière ferme, a été dans l’obligation de se débarrasser de nombreuses exceptions opposées à sa compétence ou à la recevabilité de la question. Est-ce la raison pour laquelle, elle a elle-même dépassé le cadre de l’avis consultatif en posant des injonctions en termes de responsabilité aux Etats qui favoriseraient la perpétuation de ce mur ? Alors même que les Etats ont (re)découvert les biais de procédure qui s’ouvrent à eux, ce décalage pose problème. On songe par exemple au Nigéria qui, dans l’Affaire de la frontière terrestre et maritime13 qui l’opposait au Cameroun a utilisé toute la gamme des procédures incidentes (mesures conservatoires, exceptions préliminaires, interprétation de l’arrêt sur les exceptions préliminaires, intervention, demande reconventionnelle) pour retarder l’inéluctable échéance. Si l’attitude dilatoire ne trompait personne, la Cour a joué le jeu, tout en signifiant dans ses réponses (parfois très courtes) le caractère inapproprié de la demande (par exemple, en répondant par quelques lignes sibyllines à la demande reconventionnelle dans l’arrêt au fond). La Cour n’est donc pas démunie devant l’abus de procédure mais elle ne peut que « signifier » son irritation d’une manière indirecte, à défaut de l’exprimer en la contrecarrant ouvertement. L’attitude des juges vis-à-vis de ces tendances est donc ambivalente. Ils la provoquent parfois par leur attitude, parfois ils en sont le réceptacle obligé. Finalement, ils ont peu de marge de manœuvre en eux-mêmes même s’ils peuvent apprécier différemment les procédures. Et, comme souvent, ils s’en serviront en fonction de ce qu’ils souhaitent répondre sur le fond. A cet égard, on ne peut oublier que la procédure peut être une arme utile au juge qui ne souhaite pas s’encombrer d’une affaire délicate à trancher au fond. Pour le juge international, il existe donc une claire hésitation concernant la question de l’abus de procédure. Non que la procédure ne soit par- 12 Conséquences juridiques de l'édification d'un mur dans le territoire palestinien occupé, Avis Consultatif, CIJ Recueil 2004, 136. 13 Affaire de la Frontière terrestre et maritime entre le Cameroun et le Nigéria (Cameroun c. Nigéria; Guinée équatoriale (intervenant)), Arrêt, CIJ Recueil 2002, 303. Procéduralisation et transformation de l’idée de justice 29 fois prévue. Ainsi, il est possible de se référer à l’article 294 para. 1 de la Convention de Montego Bay sur le droit de la mer (Partie XV, Règlement des différends) qui indique, concernant les procédures préliminaires, que la Cour ou le Tribunal peut décider si une demande est un « abus des voies de droit », à l’image des juridictions internes. Si la réponse est positive, il cesse d’examiner la demande. La solution est sans doute radicale et peut- être guère praticable, mais elle a le mérite de mettre l’accent sur une question trop souvent tabou, et peut-être d’éviter de subir ces abus comme l’exemple de l’affaire entre le Cameroun et le Nigéria l’a prouvé. Mais le juge n’est pas qu’un spectateur impuissant face à la procédure initiée par les parties. En effet, il n’est que de rappeler que plus on donne à un juge l’occasion de se prononcer, plus on lui donne la possibilité de consolider la procédure et de s’affranchir de la volonté des parties. Au surplus, sa compétence d’auto-règlementation lui ouvre toujours la possibilité d’infléchir certaines procédures, de les développer ou de les freiner selon ce qu’il souhaite en faire, et que les parties en fassent. Finalement, la procéduralisation est la rencontre entre le souhait des parties et ceux du juge. Même là où la contrainte procédurale n’existe pas en principe, on a de plus en plus tendance à vouloir l’instaurer, car elle est ressentie comme facteur de sécurité. Ceci signifie que le juge se protège par la procédure autant qu’il pense protéger les parties en s’inscrivant dans la durée par une procédure établie et, si possible, stable. Et ceci joue dans toutes les sphères des juridictions internationales, y compris dans l’arbitrage. Incontestablement, il y a une procéduralisation du processus arbitral, tout comme il y a une forme d’arbitralisation de la procédure juridictionnelle (notamment, mais pas seulement, à travers le phénomène des chambres restreintes ouvertes dans de nombreuses juridictions internationales). La procédure est donc envisagée différemment selon les acteurs d’un procès international. Elle représente une arme (défensive et offensive) pour les parties, elle représente une affirmation et une légitimation pour le juge, mais aussi une défense selon qu’il adopte l’attitude d’un juge spectateur, d’un juge utilisateur de cette procédure comme moyen de défense contre des parties trop entreprenantes, ou d’un simple juge « sécurisant ». Dès lors, on le conçoit aisément, l’arme procédurale est à multiples tranchants pour les acteurs du procès, et aucune simplification excessive de sa vision ne peut convenir. Jean-Marc Sorel 30 La confusion entre la procéduralisation et la légitimation La question la plus délicate, et celle pour laquelle aucune réponse péremptoire n’existe, est celle de la liaison entre la procéduralisation et la légitimation des juridictions. En simplifiant, l’impression est que tout renforcement procédural peut être assimilé à un renforcement de la juridiction, et à sa légitimation, entendu comme un processus qui permet à cette juridiction de s’affirmer en tant qu’organe tiers au regard de ses propres justiciables. Quoiqu’on en dise, les juridictions internationales sont à la recherche d’une affirmation et d’une légitimation. Elles sont souvent fragiles et doivent se consolider pour affronter des justiciables pas tout à fait comme les autres, que ce soient les Etats, les organisations internationales ou les personnes privées alors dans une situation bien particulière. Dès lors, la liaison entre la procéduralisation et la légitimation s’impose. Elle s’impose à la justice internationale permanente, elle s’est imposée au début de la justice internationale pénale construite sur des soubassements fragiles, et elle s’impose de plus en plus – certes dans une moindre mesure – à la justice commerciale de l’OMC. En effet, la procédure est le ciment qui reste quand il y a – comme ce fut le cas au tournant des XXe et XXIe siècles – des juridictions qui apparaissent d’une manière difficile à appréhender : justice pénale (sous trois formes différentes : ad hoc, permanente (CPI) ou internationalisée), commerciale (OMC), en matière de droit de la mer (TIDM plus proche du modèle de la CIJ), arbitrages (CIRDI ou de nouveau le droit de la mer). Consécutivement, l’interétatique se noient dans un ensemble plus vaste avec une variété de justiciables, de types de procès (civil – mutatis mutandis – pénal, commercial, etc.). Y accoler une procédure rigide devient la garantie de son sérieux, mais surtout la source de sa légitimité dans un univers qui ne connait pas de code de procédure unifié, où tout reste à construire, à imposer. Contrairement à la justice interne, le temps de maturation ne peut qu’être court et est soumis à une perpétuelle médiatisation. Même si le débat peut paraître galvaudé, la liaison entre procéduralisation et légitimation est essentielle car, dans ce domaine, les produits du droit international veulent ressembler aux Etats. On connait le danger de l’étato-morphisme, mais il faut reconnaître que le modèle interne imprègne encore largement des juridictions qui, faute d’un pouvoir judiciaire unifié, doivent trouver en elles-mêmes la source de leur autorité et de leur légitimité qui ne leur est pas donnée de l’extérieur. C’est en effet la procédure qui rend légitime et qui va renforcer la juridiction. A défaut, elle paraîtra rendre une justice expéditive et sans fonde- IV. Procéduralisation et transformation de l’idée de justice 31 ments. Ce hiatus est parfois présent quand une juridiction se saisit d’une question dont elle ne peut que difficilement traiter pour des raisons avant tout procédurales. Ainsi dans l’affaire dite du génocide entre la Bosnie et la Serbie devant la CIJ en 2007, ce fut bien la délicate frontière entre le modèle procédural pénal et le modèle procédural pour la responsabilité internationale qui s’avérait fondamentale dans cet arrêt.14 Le ballet procédural de la charge de la preuve en fut le symptôme. Ici, le défendeur niait et n’apportait pas de preuves contraires, et le demandeur était (quasiment) laissé à sa solitude. En ce sens, la Cour internationale de Justice a prouvé qu’elle n’était pas adaptée au procès pénal que contraint l’étude du génocide.15 In fine, c’est la remise en cause d’un modèle juridictionnel au regard d’un certain type de procès qui doit retenir l’attention. L’inadaptation de la Cour à un procès de type pénal surgit alors qu’on lui demande de ne pas juger pénalement parce que ce n’est pas son rôle, et que l’Etat ne peut être pénalement responsable, tout en la priant de prendre position sur une incrimination qui ressort clairement du domaine pénal. Difficile d’affirmer sans doute que la Cour internationale de Justice n’était pas légitime parce qu’inadaptée à ce type de procès, mais le sentiment qu’elle n’était guère à sa place au cœur de cette procédure a été dans beaucoup d’esprits. Quoi qu’il en soit, la procédure participe à la juridictionnalisation car, avec un « processus procédural de plus en plus contraignant et stéréotypé, on aboutit à un filet dont les mailles sont de plus en plus resserrées ».16 D’autant qu’une forte pression sociale joue en faveur d’un règlement juridictionnel des différends auprès des États qui, tout en mesurant les contraintes afférentes à un tel mode de règlement des différends, voient cette contrainte contrebalancée par les avantages qu’ils retirent de leur participation à un ensemble conventionnel leur procurant des avantages supérieurs à ces contraintes. Le cadre de l’OMC est notamment particulièrement représentatif de cette progression Dès lors, la procéduralisation amène non seulement la garantie que des limites ne seront pas dépassées, 14 Voir notre étude : J. M. Sorel, Les multiples lectures d’un arrêt : entre sentiment d’impunité et sentiment de cohérence, une décision à relativiser, 2 RGDIP (2007), 259, 259 – 272 à propos de l’arrêt de la CIJ du 26 février 2007 dans l’affaire dite du Génocide entre la Bosnie-Herzégovine et l’ex-Yougoslavie. 15 Ce que les juges Tomka ou Stotnikov pointaient, tout comme le juge ad hoc Mahiou le suggéraient, en remarquant que la Cour n’aurait pas pu juger sans l’appui des preuves du TPIY. 16 Ruiz Fabri & Sorel, supra note 5. Jean-Marc Sorel 32 mais apparaît surtout comme un moindre mal dans le bilan coût-avantages qu’ils peuvent opérer. Mais surtout, cette liaison procéduralisation-légitimation ressort d’une tendance lourde de la société internationale, comme des ordres internes : celle de la légitimation par le droit, ou ce qui semble en être la représentation, alors que cette légitimation devrait être avant tout politique ou sociale, c’est-à-dire « extra-juridique ». On confond ainsi le lieu (le droit) où s’exprime cette légitimation comme résultat avec ses fondements ou son vecteur. Le droit devient légitimation via la procédure alors qu’il ne devrait en être que le réceptacle ou le vecteur. On inverse ainsi l’évolution naturelle du cadre juridique : créer un carcan donne l’illusion d’un bon droit, alors que le bon droit devrait être la résultante de ce carcan. Comme, au surplus, la procédure est technique, la propension à la scientificité (ou du moins à la technicité) est aux portes de cette procéduralisation. Celui qui consent – que ce soit dans un processus facultatif ou dans un processus obligatoire résultant d’un cadre conventionnel – paraît dépassé par le consentement, surtout à partir du moment où il n’est plus le seul justiciable. Il lui faut donc une bouée, et la procédure représente pour lui cette bouée. Il en ressort cette impression que la légitimation passe par le respect des formes, alors qu’elle devrait passer par la confiance faite en la juridiction, ce qui ne veut pas dire pour autant qu’il faut négliger la procédure. Cela nous amène pour conclure à la question de l’idée de justice qui émerge de ce processus. La transformation progressive de l’idée de justice à travers la procéduralisation La procéduralisation semble être une tendance qui n’est pas isolée et qui gagne tout le droit international en dehors des juridictions. Ce caractère correctif ou invasif des règles de procédure apparait comme une tendance générale du droit international. Paradoxalement, on peut s’interroger sur la perte de confiance dans le droit à son origine, et sur la perte de confiance dans la justice pour le domaine qui nous intéresse. On ressent en effet une forme de transformation progressive de l’idée de justice à travers la procéduralisation. La transparence, les audiences publiques, l’amicus curiae, la place de l’indépendance et l’impartialité, le rôle des experts, le rôle de la preuve, etc., sont autant d’exemples de l’importance de la procéduralisation en droit international. Si les progrès sont indéniables (et loin de nous l’idée de ne voir ce phénomène que négativement), cela semble aussi révéler un malaise V. Procéduralisation et transformation de l’idée de justice 33 plus profond. En effet, paradoxalement, cette procéduralisation marque aussi une perte de confiance dans la justice. La procéduralisation est la marque d’un droit international qui se modifie et quelque part se banalise et remet en cause son identité qui ne s’assimile ni à son statut, ni à son exorbitance publique, mais surtout à sa nécessité. Bien sûr, il y a un droit statutaire, bien sûr il existe un droit institutionnel, bien sûr il y a des exorbitances, mais comme dans cette matière on privilégie les relations horizontales, rien n’est évident, tout doit être construit et il y a peu de donné. C’est un droit fondamentalement fonctionnel, audelà de l’institutionnel ou du matériel.17 En simplifiant et en généralisant, on part d’une situation et on essaie de lui trouver une solution, mais on ne part pas d’un état statutaire auquel s’adapterait la solution hiérarchisée, d’où découlerait une solution qui ruissellerait ensuite sur la pyramide. Dès lors, si modèle procédural il y a, celui-ci doit être original et ne pas se fier à ce qui existe dans un État. Mais surtout, il faut remarquer que la justice est apparue d’une certaine manière dans l’histoire de l’État : elle a émané d’une démarche de séparation des pouvoirs et pour en garantir la stabilité. A l’inverse, en droit international, la justice est apparue comme un élément tiers qu’on mettait à côté, une sorte d’excroissance, que les États ont progressivement acceptée. La transposition de la traditionnelle séparation des pouvoirs ne sert donc pas à grand-chose dans ce cadre,18 même si l’idée qu’il doit exister des juridictions internationales auxquelles les Etats et les individus se soumettent est entrée dans les mœurs.19 Mais, alors même que la greffe est difficile, les juridictions internationales, sous l’effet de la consolidation de la justice internationale pénale, reflètent une tendance qui s’accentue en droit interne : la quête éperdue de la responsabilisation qui inhibe les sociétés modernes. Dans le domaine pénal, la chasse aux responsables a tendance à remplacer la quête des faits ou la quête de la vérité. En un mot : il arrive que le juste prime le vrai parce que le discours politique impose logiquement un devoir de mémoire, mais qu’il double ce devoir d’exigences en termes de responsabilité et de réparations, exigences pas toujours compatibles avec la complexe réalité du 17 Voir nos remarques dans : J. M. Sorel, L’identité du droit international ou la posture du sans papiers heureux, in X. Bioy (dir.), L’identité du droit public (2011), 147 –158. 18 Voir nos remarques dans : J. M. Sorel, Les Tribunaux pénaux internationaux : ombre et lumière d’une récente grande ambition, 1(205) Revue Tiers Monde (2011), 29. 19 Voir nos remarques dans : J. M. Sorel, Les juridictions internationales : un ensemble hétérogène et partiel, 49 Questions internationales (2011), 77. Jean-Marc Sorel 34 conflit.20 Dans ce cadre, la procédure tient une place centrale pour isoler la responsabilité, sans qu’il soit certain que cette même procédure permette d’embrasser la complexité de la vérité des faits. Le procès international semble ainsi, via la procéduralisation, subir une forme d’auto-poïèse. Il s’auto-entretient et renforcer l’échafaudage de la procédure devient une forme d’architecture finale en elle-même. En un mot, le respect de la procédure s’impose parfois plus rapidement que l’idée de justice elle-même et, en droit international, plus rapidement que les juridictions elles-mêmes. Or, sans la jeter en pâture aux tenants d’une justice expéditive et dépourvue de toute garantie, on est en droit de se demander si cette forme de procéduralisation n’est pas une atteinte au caractère fondamentalement fonctionnaliste du droit international. Simple interrogation. Toute réponse péremptoire est à bannir. 20 Ruiz Fabri & Sorel, supra note 5. Procéduralisation et transformation de l’idée de justice 35 Substantive and Procedural Rules in International Adjudication: Exploring their Interaction in Intervention before the International Court of Justice Matina Papadaki* Introduction In this chapter we will follow the thread of the separation of substantive and procedural rules in international adjudication and its importance in international law, using as our example intervention before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). As succinctly put by Judge Weeramantry “intervention affords an example par excellence of the celebrated observation that substantive law is often secreted in the interstices of procedure. The subject is therefore one of special importance, not merely in the sphere of procedure but in the sphere of substantive law as well.”1 We begin our analysis by briefly sketching the origins of this separation, to demonstrate its importance, while noting that boundaries are not only blurred but also permeable. We then turn to examining the history and practice of intervention before the ICJ. More specifically, a typology of interactions shows how procedure can uphold and reflect the values carried by substantive rules and how substantive rules can in turn shape the interpretation of procedural rules. Our goal is to draw an impressionistic picture of the role of intervention through a different and largely under-explored angle of the interaction between substance and procedure. I. * Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law. 1 Sovereignty over Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan (Indonesia/Malaysia), Application for Permission to Intervene, Judgment, ICJ Reports 2001, 575, Separate Opinion of Judge Weeramantry, para. 12, emphasis added. 37 Distinguishing Substantive and Procedural Rules in International Adjudication Our analysis will assume a clear-cut distinction between the two sets of rules of procedure on the one hand and of substance on the other so as to pinpoint their interactions. Consequently, in this chapter procedural rules will refer to the rules and principles regulating the conduct of proceedings of the ICJ and the rights of the States stemming from these, while substantive rules will refer to rights and obligations that exist irrespective of the procedure of adjudication in the ICJ. However, prior to analysing intervention before the ICJ we consider it important to highlight some aspects of the fluidity of this distinction. As per most theoretical distinctions, the relationship between the two components of the binaries is often challenged in theory and practice and is mostly considered as a spectrum with a permeable boundary. This is certainly the case of the differentiation between substantive and procedural rules in international adjudication. What is more, the history of codifying international rules of adjudicative procedure is short. A very rough sketch would go back to 19th century arbitration and the codification efforts of the Institut de Droit International, Project for the Regulation of the International Arbitral Procedure (1875 IDI Project),2 as well as the Hague Conventions for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes.3 The International Court of Justice, inspired by the 1907 Convention, slowly progresses to develop its own autonomous procedure and in turn influence other international jurisdictions4 while more recently it has been argued that we can talk of a “common law of international adjudication”.5 Thus, previously valid exhortations that interna- II. 2 Projet de règlement pour la procédure arbitrale internationale, 1 Annuaire de l’Institut de Droit International (1877), 126. 3 Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, 29 July 1899,187 CTS 410; Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, 18 October 1907, 205 CTS 233. 4 S. Rosenne, The Law and Practice of the International Court of Justice 1920-2005, 4th ed. (2006) vol. III, 1021-1022 [Rosenne, The Law and Practice], who argues that international procedural law in the International Court of Justice drew from the 19th century arbitral practice, which in turn used analogies stemming from domestic procedures. 5 C. Brown, A Common Law of International Adjudication (2007), where the proliferation of international courts and tribunals prompted the author to comparatively examine the procedure and remedies of a wide variety of international judicial fo- Matina Papadaki 38 tional procedural law is the “Antarctica of international law”,6 and that most international law scholars prefer to deal with the decisions and not the procedural “anfractuosities of the route”,7 are no longer true, as proven by the monographs on the issue,8 and the growing interest in this field.9 However, many angles of the topic remain under-explored. Despite this recent increase in interest, a clear distinction between substantive and procedural rules remains elusive and has been diachronically difficult. Indeed, Shabtai Rosenne noted that “a procedural incident which in the conception of internal legal systems is likely to be regarded as procedural, will appear in international law indifferently as one of substance or of procedure” and since, in contrast to the domestic legal systems, judicial dispute settlement is volitional, procedural norms “are indistinguishable, in their creation as in their effect, from those substantive norms through the application of which that dispute will be settled”.10 ra, leading him to the conclusion that their convergences give rise to a common law of adjudication. 6 A. H. Feller, The Mexican Claims Commissions: 1923–34 (1935), vii. 7 H. W. A Thirlway, Procedural law and the International Court of Justice, in V. Lowe and M. Fitzmaurice (eds.), Fifty Years of the International Court of Justice: Essays in honour of Sir Robert Jennings (1996), 389. 8 For general works on international procedure, see for example, inter alia, J. Ralston, The law and procedure of international tribunals: being a résumé of the views of arbitrators upon questions arising under the law of nations and of the procedure and practice of international courts (1926); J.C. Witenberg, L’Organisation Judiciaire: La Procédure et la Sentence Internationales (1937); M. Hudson, Manley Hudson, International Tribunals: Past and Future (1944); M. Bos, Les conditions du procès en droit international public (1957); V. S. Mani, International Adjudication: Procedural Aspects (1980); Brown, supra note 5; G. Biehler, Procedures in International Law, (2008); E. Lauterpacht, Principles of Procedure in International Litigation, 345 Collected Courses of the Hague Academy of International Law (2011); C. T. Kotuby and L. A. Sobota, General Principles of Law and International Due Process: Principles and Norms Applicable in Transnational Disputes (2017). 9 The so called “proliferation” of international courts and tribunals generally boosted academic interest in many aspects of international adjudication. It is also noteworthy that the present volume and the very launch of the Department of International Law and Dispute Resolution within the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg which is dedicated to the study of International and European procedural law further attests to emergence of this interest. 10 Rosenne, The Law and Practice, supra note 4, 1024. Substantive and Procedural Rules in International Adjudication 39 In our view however, even if the creation of substantive and procedural rules could be considered indistinguishable,11 the difference as to their effects can be extremely important. The local remedies rule offers a good example challenging the absolute character of the distinction while showing the important implications of the categorization. The local remedies rule can either be considered as a substantive prerequisite of ‘perfecting’ an internationally wrongful act, or as a procedural bar to international adjudication. In the first situation there will be no internationally wrongful act until local remedies are exhausted, while in the second, where it is classified as procedural, exhaustion will be a matter of admissibility of the claim. There is however a third situation which makes the distinction more nuanced: the nature of the exhaustion of local remedies will be dependent on the rule breached. If the injury to the alien stems from a breach of domestic law, then the internationally wrongful act will arise out of the act or omission constituting denial of justice, in which case the local remedies rule will be substantive. Where the injury instead stems from a breach of international law, international responsibility arises at the moment of the breach and exhaustion of local remedies is procedural in nature, a precondition to bringing the claim before an international court. However, if the rule breached is solely of international law with no counterpart in domestic law, there cannot be a requirement of exhaustion of local remedies.12 11 Even this aspect can be considered contentious since substantive rules are created by States but international adjudicative procedural rules are largely created by the international courts themselves, which are generally masters of their own procedure. This is often explicitly provided for in their Statutes (see for example Article 30 of the ICJ Statute, Article 16 of the ITLOS Statute and Article 17(9) of the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding) which tend to draw from the practice of other tribunals rather than of States to establish customary procedural law. Consequently, doubts have been expressed as to whether sources of international law accurately reflect the sources of international procedural law. As H. Thirlway has noted “[i]t may be supposed that in principle the enumeration in article 38 of the ICJ Statute is broadly valid for international procedural law as part of international law; but is that sufficient?”, supra note 7, 389 (emphasis added); for a recent summary of the debate, see C. Brown, Inherent Powers in International Adjudication, in C. Romano et al. (eds.), Oxford Handbook of International Adjudication (2014), 829, 830-832. The reason however that we maintain that the creation of such rules could still be considered indistinguishable is that court rules are derivatively and secondarily a product of State consent, since the very norms referred to above are laid down by States. 12 See International Law Commission, “Second Report on Diplomatic Protection by Mr. J. Dugard, Special Rapporteur”, UN Doc. A/CN.4/514, 28 February 2001, Matina Papadaki 40 This distinction also becomes readily apparent in cases regarding State immunity and violation of jus cogens rules. In such cases, it is the characterisation of the rules on immunity that determines the outcome. If State immunity is not viewed as a procedural bar to jurisdiction this would mean that the rules on immunity could be displaceable by jus cogens norms if deemed in conflict with them.13 The stance of the Court has been clear; the rules of activation of its jurisdiction are procedural and do not interact with the rules deciding legal rights on the merits of the case. Literature however is not unanimous on the validity of this view or on the value of the substance procedure divide itself.14 While the rules on intervention of third parties in the ICJ are easier to classify as procedural than those of the examples above, the distinction between substantive and procedural rules produces equally outcome-determinative results albeit in a different way. In third party intervention in the ICJ we can trace how the procedural rules embed choices about which inter- 106-114, paras. 32-66, especially para. 33 on the relevance and importance of the distinction; Also J. R. Crawford and T. D. Grant, Local Remedies, Exhaustion of, in R. Wolfrum (ed.), The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, (last updated 2007), available at 0199231690/law-9780199231690-e59 (last visited 30 October 2018), paras. 35-41. 13 See Arrest Warrant Case (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Belgium), Judgment, ICJ Reports 2002, 3, 25, para. 60, and Jurisdictional Immunities of the State (Germany v. Italy, Greece intervening), Judgment, ICJ Reports 2012, 99, 124, para. 58. 14 For an overview of the two sides of the debate and focusing on the proceduralsubstantive divide, see S. Talmon, Jus cogens after Germany v. Italy: Substantive and Procedural Rules Distinguished, 25 LJIL (2012), 979, who agrees with the approach of the ICJ and argues that the substance and procedure divide is both wellestablished in international law despite the absence of predetermined criteria and differences with respect to the classification of some rules, noting that the formalistic and technical nature of the distinction is needed for clarity and predictability of law. He adds that criticisms focus on the undesirability of the outcome in this specific case rather than on the logic of the categories of substance and procedure. Cf., A. Orakhelashvili, The Classification of International Legal Rules: A Reply to Stefan Talmon (2013), 26 LJIL 89, who argues that the distinction between substance and procedural is artificial, that there is no cognizable category of procedural rules in international law and it is used to support political and ideological preferences so as to prevent adjudication of certain classes of actors and claims. In our view however, the category of procedural rules and principles in international adjudication exists and its unqualified denial is at least factually inaccurate. The fact that it expresses political and ideological choices is an important aspect which needs to be researched but which does not negate the existence of a distinction between procedural and substantive rules. Substantive and Procedural Rules in International Adjudication 41 ests are viewed as warranting participation. What is and is not deemed as an admissible request for intervention provides links between the procedural device and the substance of the right vindicated. Consequently, the separation is more nuanced than in cases of norm conflict as in the example of State immunities. It is nonetheless important to note the fluidity of this definition and the importance of categorisation. Having the above definitions and caveats in mind, we will explore whether providing, on a limited scale, a typology of the substance-procedure interaction brings to light useful linkages. Points of Entry to the Interaction Between Substance and Procedure The fact that the boundary between substance and procedure is hazy and movable, as already demonstrated, makes the effort to capture their interaction inherently challenging. However, two entry points into the examination of this interaction can be discerned. The first is to start from the substantive end, choosing a substantive right, or a category of substantive rights, and examine how they are obtained through procedures in international adjudication and the relation between substance and procedure. The second is to start from the procedural part, choosing a procedural institution or rule and trying to uncover the substantive rights it seeks to vindicate and on which levels it interacts with them. The first approach is potentially more ‘measurable’ and less elusive, in that we look for the end result of the judicial protection of a right or a category of rights, the attainment of substantive rights. On the other hand, the second approach may appear counter-intuitive, in that procedural rules are supposed to be mere vehicles through which substance is carried to its end point. The first approach has received attention in international law in the context of the protection of public goods, or common interests.15 This III. 15 On the emergence of community interest and its expression in international law, see generally B. Simma, From Bilateralism to Community Interest in International Law, 250 Collected Courses of the Hague Academy of International Law (1994), 217; S. Villalpando, The Legal Dimension of the International Community: How Community Interests Are Protected in International Law, 21 EJIL (2010), 387. On the particular issue of interface between substance and procedure with relation to common interests, see M. Benzing, Community Interests in the Procedure of International Courts and Tribunals, 5 The Law & Practice of Int'l Court and Tribunals (2006), 369; A. Nollkaemper, International Adjudication Matina Papadaki 42 theoretical engagement can be explained from the fact that in international law, substantive rules do not necessarily grow in tandem with procedural law and remedies.16 There seems to be an asynchronous development that creates tension between new substantive rights or interests, which transcend bilateralism, and adjudicative procedures, designed to cater for bilateral disputes.17 Using this example as an entry to the interplay between substance and procedure in the protection of common interests and public goods, we can trace a clear link between the procedure and remedies. This is so because in order to examine whether protection can be accorded and attained through adjudicative procedures in international law, the issue will necessarily turn to jurisdiction and standing. Though the latter concepts are procedural, they depend on primary norms catering for multilateral or collective interests and their counterpart secondary norms of state responsibility, relating mainly to the conditions of its invocation.18 This relation, even briefly examined, can reveal a feedback loop between the evolution of the law and that of procedure. Conversely, any effort to assess the interrelationship from the procedural end cannot but start from broader, abstract, and goal-oriented underpinof Global Public Goods: The Intersection of Substance and Procedure, 23 EJIL (2012), 269; W. Wolfrum, Interventions in Proceedings before International Courts and Tribunals: to what Extent may Interventions serve the Pursuance of the Community Interests, in N. Boschiero et al. (eds.), International Courts and the Development of International Law: Essays in Honour of Tullio Treves (2013), 219. 16 E. Cannizzaro and B. Bonafé, Of Rights and Remedies: Sovereign Immunity and Fundamental Human Rights, in Ulrich Fastenreth et al. (eds.), From Bilateralism to Community Interest: Essays in Honour of Bruno Simma (2011), 825, arguing that the development of primary rules in the field of human rights is growing faster than and with not corresponding norms of secondary rules of responsibility and especially remedies. See also Benzing, supra note 15, 372-373, and Nollkaemper, supra note 15, 770-771, noting the tension between structurally bilateralist procedures and remedies. 17 Emphasizing the bilateral nature of disputes in the ICJ through an a contrario argument, see L. Fisler Damrosch, Multilateral Disputes in The International Court of Justice, in L. Fisler Damrosch (ed.), The International Court of Justice at a Crossroads (1987), 376. 18 Following the thread of the evolution of the concept of collective legal interests in the law of treaties and its implication for the law of state responsibility in terms of standing, see J. R. Crawford, Multilateral Rights and Obligations in International Law, 319 Collected Courses of the Hague Academy of International Law (2006), 421–451. Substantive and Procedural Rules in International Adjudication 43 nings.19 In this vein, we will start from the premise that the procedural law of any court or tribunal is created and developed with the view to carry out the functions entrusted to it. But it also follows from the above that any observation of the interaction is very context-sensitive, that is, related to the examined tribunal, and content-dependent, related to the procedural rule under examination. For this reason, it would be easier and perhaps more instructive to not examine connections in abstracto, especially in the international plane where the goals of the Court are very different. Thus, by way of experiment to trace this interrelationship from a different angle, we will try to use as an entry point the institution of intervention in contentious proceedings of the ICJ. The choice of the ICJ is for two main reasons.20 First, it is the oldest existing permanent international court, and as the successor of the Permanent Court of International Justice, its procedure21 is a prototype of international adjudicatory procedure while also providing a link to the earliest efforts of regulating international dispute settlement. Second, it is “the only international court of a universal character with general jurisdiction”,22 making it ideal for testing a variety of substantive issues. The choice of the procedural ‘device’ of intervention is made because it challenges the structural underpinnings of this court and the primarily bilateral structure of ICJ litigation.23 The Court has a delicate balance to keep. On the one hand, it cannot unduly emphasise bilateralism. This would be a necessary implication if the Court were overtly reluctant to al- 19 The approach to assess procedural ‘devices’ and rules via the spectrum of attainment of the Court’s goals and mandate draws from the logic but not the specific parameters of: Y. Shany, Assessing the Effectiveness of International Courts (2014). 20 It has to be noted that the two criteria are expressed as objective characteristics of the ICJ rather than as axiologically important. 21 An Informal Inter-Allied Committee (1943–1944), the mandate of which was to examine “the Future of the PCIJ”, posited that: “little change is required in the procedure of the Court, which has worked satisfactorily in practice”, United Nation: Report of the Informal Inter-Allied Committee on the Future of the Permanent Court of International Justice, 39(1) Supp. AJIL (1945), 1, 24, para 77. 22 UNGA, Report of the International Court of Justice for 1 August 2014 until 31 July 2015, UN Doc. A/70/4, 12 November 2015, 12 para. 40. 23 Highlighting the essentially bilateral architecture of the procedures of the Court, see T. D. Gill, Litigation strategy at the International Court: a case study of the Nicaragua v. United States dispute (1989), 91, arguing that such bilateralism is ‘understandable’ given the tradition and history of interstate arbitration which is tied to the formation of the rules of procedure and that litigation strategy is complex enough in the bilateral disputes and thus occurrences of multiparty disputes will remain low. Matina Papadaki 44 low intervention, thus signaling reticence to hear third party rights or interests. Arguably, this would go against its broader role as the “principal judicial organ of the United Nations”,24 which in turn implies supporting the purposes of the UN in the administration of international justice and the pacific settlement of disputes. On the other hand, it has to safeguard party autonomy so as not to deter States from bringing their disputes to the Court.25 Examples of Modes of Interaction Having set the general context and angle, we will try to provide a framework of interaction between substance and procedure in intervention before the ICJ. First, it has to be noted that the narrative chosen in this paper does not focus on the classical perplexities surrounding intervention. The intricacies and importance of many issues are intertwined with this procedural device. This could result in a misrepresentation of a complex image. As a result, the exercise might appear as a very neat picture to those uninitiated in the technicalities of intervention in the ICJ, and in contrast, a very minimalist approach to those that have studied it. Thus, we feel obliged to signal these complexities.26 IV. 24 United Nations, Charter of the United Nations, 24 October 1945, 1 UNTS XVI, Article 92. 25 Arguing for the need to keep a balance between these conflicting interests, see C. Chinkin, Third Parties in International Law (1993), 149. 26 As R. Bilder pertinently noted in his book review of the work of S. Rosenne on the subject: “[T]he procedural question of intervention in interstate proceedings before the ICJ encapsulates many larger leitmotifs of public international law. It goes right to the heart of the matter of the nature of the consent of states to jurisdiction […] the "equality of arms"; the nature of res judicata under Article 59 of the Statute; the role of the ad hoc or national judge; the effect of travaux préparatoires in the interpretation of the Statute of the Court; the role of and powers of chambers of the Court; the nature and effect of the Rules of Court; the relationship between jurisdictional and substantive parts of the proceedings; and the sufficiency of the Court's practice concerning confidentiality of written proceedings… it could be used by an imaginative law professor as the outline and textbook for a general seminar on international procedure, so important and farreaching are many aspects of this subject”, R. Bilder, Book Reviews and Notes: Intervention in the International Court of Justice, 89 AJIL (1995), 650 (emphasis added). Substantive and Procedural Rules in International Adjudication 45 This alternative and experimental narrative uses a tentative taxonomy of the different types of interaction between substance and procedure.27 The first interaction, examined through the prism of the goals of intervention, is procedure as house-keeping meaning that procedure serves to protect foundational and structural rights and general principles of procedural law, which are however, trans-substantive. By trans-substantive, we mean that regardless of the subject matter of the procedure, or the rights claimed, there are some default procedural rules that the Court must apply. These are essentially, the equality of arms and the good administration of justice.28 The second interaction is procedure as transmission of substance meaning how procedure could or could not influence the application of substantive rights and how changes either in the procedural or in the substantive law affect one-another. Intervention in the ICJ – Procedure as House-Keeping The history of this procedural device and how it made its way into the Statute of the Permanent Court of International Justice can help show how A. 27 The categories are inspired from: J. S. Martinez, Process and Substance in the “War on Terror”, 108 Columbia Law Review (2008), 1013. Martinez identifies five categories that are applicable in US “war on terror cases”: “process as avoidance”, where courts use process to avoid answering substantive questions; “process as signaling”, where the court uses procedure to signal a substantive issue without settling it; “process as substance”, when the court’s choice of the applicable procedure is made with explicit reference to substantive rights; “substance disguised as process”, when substantive questions are settled under the guise of application of procedural rules; and finally “procedure as housekeeping” where procedure is used to express more general values like the efficiency of adjudication. 28 Naming these two principles as “structural and constitutional general principles of procedure”, see R. Kolb, General Principles of Procedural Law, in A. Zimmermann et al. (eds.), The Statute of the International Court of Justice: A Commentary, 2nd ed. (2012), 48, 871, paras. 9-28. It is very important to note however that herein these concepts or general principles are not used as referring to sources of international law. Rather, we conceive them as scientific generalizations flowing from the Rules of Procedure and the Statute of the Court; as underpinnings of the positive rules (for a similar argument, see J. Kammerhoffer and A. de Hoogh, All Things to All People? The International Court of Justice and its Commentators, 18 EJIL (2007), 971, 979. Matina Papadaki 46 intervention fulfils the purposes for which it was established and how that leads to different modes of interaction with substance.29 The first attempt at codification of this practice is found in article 16 of the 1875 IDI Project: Ni les parties, ni les arbitres ne peuvent d'office mettre en cause d'autres Etats ou des tierces personnes quelconques, sauf autorisation spéciale exprimée dans le compromis et consentement préalable du tiers. L'intervention spontanée d'un tiers n'est admissible qu'avec le consentement des parties qui ont conclu le compromis. 30 (Original in French) The wording of this article of the Project and the order of its paragraphs makes clear that the main objective was to not prejudice third party rights without their consent. Intervention seems to have been added as the opposite side of the coin, protecting in turn the parties to the dispute from an intervention to which they have not consented. The underlying rationale of the formulation of this article seems to be that decisions would be res inter alios acta for third parties, while parties to the dispute enjoy full autonomy and their consent is necessary for any potential ‘intrusion’. It has to be noted here that there was no qualification regarding the nature of the rights or interests which could constitute a valid ground for intervention. The institution of intervention was addressed in more specific and narrow terms in The Hague Conventions Pacific Settlement of International Disputes of 1899 and 190731 in Articles 5632 and 84 respectively. The latest formulation of 1907 which is, in substance, the same as the previous one, is: The Award is not binding except on the parties in dispute. 29 This analysis is cursory and functional, aiming to lay the groundwork for an understanding of how intervention was introduced. However, the drafting history of intervention abounds with complexities, so a disclaimer is applicable in that this is a rudimentary, but hopefully sufficient account of the evolution of this procedural device. 30 Projet de règlement pour la procédure arbitrale internationale, supra note 2. 31 Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, supra note 3. 32 For a detailed analysis of the introduction and underlying rationale of this Article in 1899, proposed by the Dutch Representative to the Peace Conference, T.M.C Asser, see S. Rosenne, Intervention in the International Court of Justice (1993), 14-18 [Rosenne, Intervention]. Substantive and Procedural Rules in International Adjudication 47 When it concerns the interpretation of a Convention to which Powers other than those in dispute are parties, they shall inform all the Signatory Powers in good time. Each of these Powers is entitled to intervene in the case. If one or more avail themselves of this right, the interpretation contained in the Award is equally binding on them. In these conventions, intervention could be viewed as being added again as an exception, this time relating to the effect of the judgment. The first paragraph of Article 84 embodied the general rule concerning the limited nature of res judicata, as relevant only between the parties. In this context, intervention was not only possible, but a matter of right. This right however applied only in the very specific cases where the dispute concerned the interpretation of a convention to which the third State to the dispute was also a party. Thus, if a State Party to a convention in question chose to exercise this right, then the strict relativity of the binding nature of the judgment would be amplified, since the part of the decision turning on the interpretation of the convention will be equally binding upon it. Two conclusions can be drawn from the above: firstly, that intervention through implicitly recognising the existence of third party interests was only conceptualized as an exceptional means of protecting non-parties against prejudicial effect and of safeguarding party autonomy; secondly, the only goal that was thought of as necessitating protection was the readily identifiable interest a State had in the interpretation of a convention to which it was a party.33 We come now to the Statute of the Permanent Court of International Justice, prepared by the Advisory Committee of Jurists, established by the Council of the League of Nations based on the function entrusted to it under Article 14 of the Covenant of the League of Nations.34 The Advisory Committee kept intervention as of right in relation to multilateral treaties with little discussion and virtually no disagreement.35 33 These conclusions derive from the grammatical meaning of the Articles. The travaux do not shed light as to the actual intentions of their drafters, and as to the intended results of intervention, as Rosenne notes “[i]t is clear from the record that little if any thought was given by the participants in the Conference to the implications of introducing the concept of third-party intervention into inter- State arbitral proceedings, even in the limited form accepted by the Conference.”, ibid., 18. 34 Covenant of the League of Nations, 28 June 1919, 108 LNTS 188. 35 It was acknowledged by the Advisory Committee that this mode of intervention “was borrowed from Mr. Asser and based on Article 84 of the Convention of 1907” Permanent Court of International Justice, Advisory Committee of Jurists, Matina Papadaki 48 The text of Article 63, unsurprisingly not deviating from the previous discussions, reads: 1. Whenever the construction of a convention to which states other than those concerned in the case are parties is in question, the Registrar shall notify all such states forthwith. 2. Every state so notified has the right to intervene in the proceedings; but if it uses this right, the construction given by the judgment will be equally binding upon it. However, another form of intervention was added to the Statute. This form of intervention had no known precedent in international arbitration,36 and was largely based on the proposal by the Five Neutral Powers (Denmark, Netherlands Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland).37 Having no international antecedents,38 the motivation behind the adoption of this article could be traced in the discussions of the Advisory Committee, where it was felt that intervention would be “useless if this right were not conceded to wider extent”.39 But the discussions do not shed adequate, if any, light on the specificities of intervention, namely, inter alia, for what purposes it would be permissible, what the requirements are and which procedural rights follow for the intervener. Summing up the debate, Lord Phillimore proposed that a third State could request to intervene “if it consider[ed] that a dispute submitted to the Court affect[ed] its interests”. While agreeing in principle, Mr. Fernandes, wanted the right of intervention to be subject to some condition, for example that it should concern “legitimate interests”. The President of the Committee, Baron Descamps, proposed that a State could request intervention if it “consider[ed] that its rights may be affected by a dispute”. To that, Mr. Adatci proposed changing the word “rights” to “interests”, without however any documented exchange of views on the issue, or any rea- Procès-verbaux of the proceedings of the Committee June 16th-July 24th 1920 (1929), 594 [Procès Verbaux]. 36 Rosenne, Intervention, supra note 32, 20. 37 C. Chinkin, Article 62, in A. Zimmermann et al. (eds.), The Statute of the International Court of Justice, supra note 28, 1529, 1531 para. 3. 38 The broader notion of intervention was of course known to the members of the Advisory Committee through their national systems. The British member, Lord Phillimore and the Dutch M. Loder also brought examples of their domestic system’s intervention procedures (Procès Verbaux, supra note 35, 592). 39 Procès Verbaux, supra note 35, 587, comment by Lord Phillimore 587. Substantive and Procedural Rules in International Adjudication 49 soning.40 Synthesizing the above views, President Descamps proposed the following wording that introduced a new form of discretionary and general intervention: Should a State consider that it has an interest of a legal nature which may be affected by the decision in the case, it may submit a request to the Court to be permitted to intervene. It will be for the Court to decide upon this request.41 The articles were upheld with no substantive changes,42 making their way into the ICJ Statute. Thus, the more general form of intervention encapsulated in Article 62 was loosely inspired by the domestic systems of the members of the Advisory Committee and followed as a logical counterpart of the more specific and narrow right of intervention, embodied in Article 63. However, the precise substantive underpinnings of Article 62 were left to be judged in practice, leaving a wide window open for substance to interact with procedure, since the general and abstract terms provided “a blank cheque” to the judges.43 Despite the relative opacity of the underlying reasons which led to the adoption of the articles on intervention, their inclusion inspired hope for the beginning of a new era in international dispute settlement, different from the ad hoc nature of international arbitration. In an, in hindsight, idealistic tone John Basset Moore noted: Perhaps it may be hoped that the right of intervention given by the Statute may prove to be a means of inducing governments, be they great or small, to come before the Court, thus showing their confi- 40 Ibid., 593; Rosenne aptly noted that the record of the discussion on the issue is “inconclusive and apparently garbled”, Rosenne, Intervention, supra note 32, 23. 41 Procès Verbaux, supra note 35, 594. Note however, that this is the text of the Procés Verbaux. In the English language version of the PCIJ Statute, the phrase “as a third party” was inserted after “to intervene” in the first sentence. This phrase was however not maintained in the ICJ Statute, and this change was not considered as changing the substance of the article, see Documents of the United Nations Conference on International Organization, San Francisco, (1945), Vol. XIV, 676 UNCIO. 42 Ibid., UNCIO. 43 H. Thirlway, The Law and Procedure of the International Court of Justice 1960-1989, Part Thirteen, 74 British Yearbook of International Law (2003), 23, 31. Matina Papadaki 50 dence in it and enlarging its opportunities to perform a service for the world.44 Despite those hopes, the practice has been meagre. In the PCIJ, only one intervention was made by Poland in the Wimbledon case under Article 63.45 In the ICJ there have been 9 cases where requests were made under Article 62 of which only 3 have been granted.46 Under Article 63 there have been 4 declarations of which two were found admissible. Thus, with the role and procedural effects of intervention unclear in the minds of drafters, and with a text having ambiguities and a traditional bi- 44 J. B. Moore, The Organization of the Permanent Court of International Justice, 22 Columbia Law Review (1922), 497, 507. 45 SS 'Wimbledon' (United Kingdom and ors v. Germany), Judgment, PCIJ Series A No 1, Judgment of 28 June 1923 (initially submitted as a request under Article 62). 46 The rejected requests to intervene were the following: Nuclear Tests (Australia v. France), Application to Intervene, Order of 12 July 1973, ICJ Reports 1973, 320; Nuclear Tests Application to Intervene, Order of 12 July 1973, ICJ Reports 1973, 324, in which orders it was decided that the permission to intervene should be addressed in the decision of jurisdiction of the Court and Nuclear Tests (Australia v. France), Application to Intervene, Order of 20 December 1974, ICJ Reports 1974, 530; Nuclear Tests (New Zealand v. France), Application to Intervene, Order of 20 December 1974, ICJ Reports 1974, 535, where after finding the cases moot, the need to address questions on intervention ceased to exist; Continental Shelf (Tunisia/Libyan Arab Jamahiriya), Application to Intervene, Judgment, ICJ Reports 1981, 3, where Malta’s legal interest was found not to be in conformity with the objectives of Article 62 in that it was an interest in legal principles and rules and their development, not specific enough to justify intervention; Continental Shelf (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya/Malta), Application to Intervene, ICJ Reports 1984, 3, where Italy’s intervention was found to assert its rights vis-à-vis the parties to the dispute, which would not be compatible with the purposes of intervention, as it would in fact introduce a new dispute between her and the parties; Request for an Examination of the Situation in Accordance with Paragraph 63 of the Court’s Judgment of 20 December 1974 in the Nuclear Tests (New Zealand v. France) Case, ICJ Reports 1995, 288, where the main case being removed from the General List, the requests by Samoa, Solomon Islands, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia became moot (these states also filed interventions under Article 63); Sovereignty over Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan (Indonesia v. Malaysia), Application for Permission to Intervene, Judgment, ICJ Reports 2001, 575, where the interest of Philippines was found to be too remote from the object of the case, in essence trying to forestall the interpretations of the Court; Territorial and Maritime Dispute (Nicaragua v. Colombia), Application for Permission to Intervene, Judgment, ICJ Reports 2011, 348, 420, where Costa Rica and Honduras respectively failed to show that they had an interest of legal nature Substantive and Procedural Rules in International Adjudication 51 lateralism outlook, the ICJ veered towards securing the classical housekeeping47 values in the first cases regarding intervention.48 In this vein, the limited recourse to intervention that came as a mismatch to the initial hopes for its potential importance can be explained through the house-keeping values applicable to all proceedings before the ICJ. It is more logical than it is novel to argue that courts will uphold the constitutional and structural rules and principles of the system of which they form part. These foundational underpinnings will necessarily be embedded in all rules guiding their proceedings. In the international plane where state sovereignty and state equality leading to the principle of state that might be affected. On the other hand, the cases admitted were the following: Land, Island and Maritime Frontier Dispute (El Salvador/Honduras), Application to Intervene, Judgment, ICJ Reports 1990, 92, where Nicaragua proved its interest of a legal nature since it was along with the main parties one of the riparian States in the Gulf of Fonseca where it was admitted by the parties that there was a “community of interests”; Land and Maritime Boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria, Application to Intervene, Order of 21 October 1999, ICJ Reports 1999, 1029, where the goal of protecting and informing the Court of its legal interests in the Gulf of Guinea was deemed in accordance with the requirements of discretionary intervention; Jurisdictional Immunities of the State (Germany v. Italy), Application for Permission to Intervene, Order of 4 July 2011, ICJ Reports 2011, 494 where the request of Greece was accepted on the grounds that the Court might find it necessary to consider its domestic decisions that were enforced (exequatur) by Italian courts and which were at issue between the parties. 47 The two inadmissible cases were Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America), Declaration of Intervention, Order of 4 October 1984, ICJ Reports 1984, 215, where the request of El Salvador was deemed inadmissible since it related to the merits and not to the jurisdictional phase of the dispute, and the moot interventions by Australia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia in the Request for an Examination, supra note 46. The two admissible requests were: Cuba’s intervention in Haya de la Torre Case, Judgment of 13 June 1951, ICJ Reports 1951, which was found admissible since and to the extent that it concerned the construction of the Havana Convention to which it was a party; New Zealand’s intervention in the Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan), Declaration of Intervention of New Zealand, Order of 6 February 2013, ICJ Reports 2013, 3, relating to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. 48 Kolb, supra note 28, 698, (arguing that the Court emphasized the privacy of the parties and good administration of justice, in the sense of avoiding delays in the process instead of choosing to play a broader role ratione personae solving disputes.). Matina Papadaki 52 consent to jurisdiction are still cardinal,49 procedure and its interpretation will necessarily mirror and uphold these values. From these cardinal principles flows the procedural equality50 which is inherent in all judicial proceedings and has to be upheld in all cases. The difference between ad hoc / arbitral dispute settlement and the permanent jurisdictions is in the larger goal that the permanent jurisdictions have to play, that is, in the good administration of justice. The aim of each institution is different, with non-institutionalised arbitration serving the parties, and the ICJ serving the community of the States.51 And this is where the tension arises. Equality and classical house-keeping principles can collide with the necessary awareness of the systemic effects of a judgment and of multiparty interests at play within most disputes.52 Intervention stands at the crossroads of these two opposing tendencies and underlying values. One characteristic example of the shift in stance of the Court comes with the recognition of the role of State consent to discretionary intervention under Article 62. Intervention, being an incidental procedure of which the Court is master and which is not directly dependent on the will of the parties,53 can be seen as a challenge to the procedural house-keeping 49 For a different view than ours, see A. Cançado Trindade, International law for humankind: towards a new jus gentium (I): general course on public international law, 316 Collected Courses of the Hague Academy of International Law (2005), 91, arguing that principles are not dependent on the consent of the subjects of law; see also Alleged Violations of Sovereign Rights and Maritime Spaces in the Caribbean Sea (Nicaragua v. Colombia), Preliminary Objections, Judgment of 17 March 2016 (unreported), Separate Opinion of Judge Cançado Trindade “state consent… is at most a rule (embodying a prerogative or concession to States) to be observed as the initial act of undertaking an international obligation”, para. 27. 50 For procedural equality as stemming from the structure of the international legal system as opposed to the foundational principles stemming from national jurisdictions (specifically its counterpart audiatur et altera pars), see Mani, supra note 8, 20. 51 See also Kolb, supra note 28, “[T]he ad hoc arbitrator exclusively pursues a utilitas singulorum of the parties electing him as their agent, whereas the ICJ also, and sometimes mainly, pursues a utilitas publica pertaining to the whole community of parties to the Statute.”, 876, para. 7. 52 See on this point S. Forlati, The International Court of Justice: an arbitral tribunal or a judicial body? (2014), 11 (more generally), 13, 173-186 (on intervention). 53 On the compulsory nature of incidental procedures, see H. W. Briggs, The Incidental Jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice as Compulsory Jurisdiction, in F. A. von der Heydte et al. (eds.), Völkerrecht und rechtliches Weltbild (Festschrift für Alfred Verdross) (1960), 87, 93-94; on intervention in particular, see: Substantive and Procedural Rules in International Adjudication 53 principles of state consent, equality of parties and protection of their autonomy, as well as a delay of the proceedings.54 However, the above interpretation given to incidental proceedings as being compulsory, flowing directly from their nature as incidental proceedings was not readily embraced.55 This seems to have changed, along with a more restrictive approach regarding the object of intervention with the first decision where Article 62 intervention was allowed. In the Land, island and maritime frontier dispute the Court rejected the necessity of jurisdictional link when the intervener was not seeking to become a party to the case, “If it were necessary to find a consensual element in such proceedings, it could be found in the fact that by becoming a party to the Statute of the Court a State accepts the institutional or incidental jurisdiction conferred on the Court by that Statute in cases in which the Court has been seized of a dispute involving that State. Even, where the Court’s original title to jurisdiction over the merits rests on terms of a special agreement […] the proceedings can take on the characteristics of compulsory jurisdiction where the Court finds it necessary to invoke its incidental jurisdiction in relation to matters falling outside the scope of the special agreement”. 54 The related Rules of the Court (Articles 81-86) are very instructive if seen from the house-keeping perspective. For example, the filing of the request of intervention ‘as soon as possible or and not later than the closure of the written proceedings’, (Article 81(1)) for the request under Article 62 and a slightly laxer limit for Article 63, namely ‘as soon as possible, and not later than the date fixed for the opening of the oral proceedings’ (Article 82(1)), show that there is care not to delay the procedure whereas the time-limits are different for intervention as of right and for discretionary intervention. Additionally, another facet of the house-keeping interface can be detected in relation to the modalities of written comments submission by the interveners on the pleadings of the parties. While in the case of intervention under Article 62, a further time-limit is fixed for parties to respond, if they so wish, to the written observations of the intervener (Article 85), in the case of intervention under Article 63, this option is not given to the parties (Article 86). This further highlights how in discretionary intervention, where the interest is not presumed, the parties are structurally allowed to play a more active role in safeguarding their autonomy. 55 In fact, interestingly enough this issue was regurgitated by the 1978 amendment of the Rules of the Court. As the then Vice President Sette-Camara in his Dissenting Opinion in the Continental Shelf case (Tunisia/Libyan Arab Jamahiriya), supra note 46, remarked “[w]e see that the more than 60 years of controversy on the problem of whether the intervening State has, or has not, to prove the existence of a jurisdictional link with the principal parties, was resurrected by the revision of the Rule” para 29, emphasis added. Matina Papadaki 54 arguing that intervening and introducing a new case as a party is a “difference in kind”.56 The case law on intervention can be seen from this perspective as a gradual shift of the Court from over-emphasizing the will of the parties, reciprocity, equality and party autonomy embedded in its rules, to then becoming laxer with its approach and trying to strike a better balance between house-keeping of traditional values57 and stepping timidly towards a broader perspective of its role.58 However, inconsistencies remain, and further case law is needed to test the position of the Court. Procedure as Transmission of Substance – The Case of the ‘Legal Interest’ As discussed, despite the general framework of permissible motivations of intervention and their procedural effects not being predefined in their entirety, what is certain is that States attempting to intervene must establish a connection with the main case. This connection, and the admissible motivations, uncovers the transmission of what is herein defined as substance through procedure. In Article 63 this connection is explicitly provided, since being party to a Convention the construction of which is in question B. 56 Land, Island and Maritime Frontier Dispute (El Salvador/Honduras), supra note 46, para 97. 57 It seems that especially in relation to maritime delimitations, which would appear to be within the scope of intervention, the Court has followed a very strict approach, arguing for a very high threshold of proof of the interest that might be affected. The Court stressed that in its settled jurisprudence regarding delimitation, it takes care not to prejudice or decide on third party rights. The latter will remain protected by Article 59 of the Statute. See the latest decisions on the issue, Territorial and Maritime Dispute (Nicaragua v. Colombia), supra note 46, in particular Application by Costa Rica for Permission to Intervene, paras. 87-89. For a criticism of this approach, see B. Bonafé, Interests of a Legal Nature Justifying Intervention Before the ICJ, 25 LJIL (2012), 739, 745-750. 58 In this regard, Judge Cançado Trindade notices a change in the role of the Court, after allowing intervention in the Jurisdictional Immunities case, supra note 46, and the Whaling in the Antarctic case, supra note 47. In his Separate Opinion in the latter case he argues that the institution of intervention has been “resurrected” in a “revitalized way” in that in both cases wider issues and interests of third parties were at stake, so the Court assumed a more important role under Article 92 of the United Nations Charter (paras. 66-67). What does not seem to have been taken into account however is, that in both cases neither party formally objected to intervention. So we respectfully submit that optimistic conclusions remain tentative. Substantive and Procedural Rules in International Adjudication 55 in the main case, suffices to create a right to intervene. In the case of Article 62, however, the ground on which the potential interveners might be permitted to intervene is the “interest of a legal nature” that might be affected by the main case. However, both modes of intervention are based on the existence of an interest.59 The difference between them is that in the case of Article 63, the interest is less general, easily identifiable and, in essence, automatically acknowledged. Viewed from the perspective of transmission of substance through procedure, it is telling that Article 63 is the oldest conceived form of intervention, and second that it is couched in terms of rights. These choices can be instructive in that they demonstrate which substantive rights are transmitted through this article, and are thus deemed sufficient to intrude in the bilateralism of the case. Arguably, drawing from the principle of State sovereignty and equality, States that are Parties to a Convention should be able to be heard in cases concerning its interpretation; their interests in the interpretation of the treaty are equal to those of all State parties to the treaty. This, however, entails two further assumptions. First, that the relativity of res judicata is not enough to protect State Parties to a Convention from an interpretation of the Court that would be considered authoritative; and second, that there is value in the coherent interpretation of treaty rules and in the avoidance of repetitive litigation.60 The question then again turns on the substantive third party interests that can find their way into the consideration of the Court via the device of intervention. If the above assumptions concerning Article 63 are correct, then there has to be a difference in the nature of the interests affected by the interpretation of a treaty rule and that of another rule not embodied in a treaty, which might be interpreted by the decision and affect the intervener. 59 See Rosenne, Intervention, supra note 32, 72-23, arguing that the reason of the “virtually complete unification” of the Rules of Procedure regarding both modes of interventions, flows exactly from the commonality of the basis of both interventions, jurisprudential differences aside. Rosenne posits that, as hinted in the travaux of the PCIJ Rules of Procedure, “intervention under Article 63 is a form of intervention to protect an interest of a legal nature, not which may be affected by the decision in the case but in the more limited sense that it may be affected by the interpretation given by the Court to the multilateral treaty in question”. 60 C. Chinkin, Article 63, in Zimmerman et al. (eds.), The Statute of the International Court of Justice, supra note 28, 1573, 1575 para. 4 (arguing that this is the underlying rationale of the article). Matina Papadaki 56 As aptly put by Judge Oda: If an interpretation of a convention given by the Court is necessarily of concern to a State which is a party to that instrument, though not a party to the case, there seems to be no convincing reason why the Court's interpretation of the principles and rules of international law should be of less concern to a State… therefore, … it may be asked why the interpretation of the principles and rules of international law should exclude a third State from intervening in a case. 61 The difference between the two modes of intervention is that the generally formulated interest poses a challenge to the system, potentially opening up the bilateral dispute to “more diffused and less tangible third party legal interests”.62 Thus, the interpretation of interests of a legal nature offers an entry point to the evolution of substantive rights that can be protected through intervention. On that level, the definitions of interests and the progressive development of substantive law which relates to the interpretation of interests of a legal nature63 becomes a direct connector between substance and procedure. On a second level however, there are inherent limits where intervention as an incidental procedure cannot be affected by changes in the substantive law. In these cases, if a mismatch of the evolution of the substantive interests and the functions of the procedure is created, then interpretation can reach its limits and the procedure might have to be changed to accommodate qualitative changes in interests. The interest of a legal nature has long been discussed as being very difficult to define,64 particularly due to the marriage of two words that did not, at least when coined, correspond to any terminus technicus.65 A consistent thread of what is a legal interest begins to appear through the decided cas- 61 Continental Shelf (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya/Malta), supra note 46, Dissenting Opinion of Judge Oda, para. 15. 62 Kolb, supra note 28, 696. 63 See also supra note 58 and the accompanying text. 64 Focusing specifically on the interest of a legal nature, see E. Doussis, Intérêt juridique et intervention devant la Cour internationale de justice (2001), 105 RGDIP, 55; S. Forlati, ‘Interesse di natura giuridica’ ed effetti per gli stati terzi delle sentenze della Corte internazionale di giustizia, 85 Rivista di diritto internazionale (2002), 99; Bonafé, supra note 57; Wolfrum, supra note 15. 65 It is noteworthy that the first authors writing on the intervention before the PCIJ characterised the interest of a legal nature as a “monstre presque indéfinissable”, W. M. Farag, L’intervention devant la Cour permanente de Justice internationale (articles 62 et 63 du Statut de la Cour) (1927), 59, while Bastid notes “on sait ce Substantive and Procedural Rules in International Adjudication 57 es, despite the fact that the judges have to interpret this requirement on an ad hoc basis. One way to examine the connection between the definitions in substantive law and their interaction with the procedure is to approach the definition of the term ‘interest of a legal nature’ in relation to two other contiguous concepts. The first is whether interests of a legal nature are different than rights. The second is whether legal interests in the sense of Article 62 are influenced by the progressively changing requirements of standing before the Court. Both approaches serve to show how interpretation of substance limits or broadens the ambit of permissible intervention. In the first approach, if legal interests are equated with rights,66 then the requirement of showing a legal interest would be clearer in terms of what the intervener should prove. But, rights, when defined as entitlements flowing from positive international law, are more narrow and specific than interests. So, the interpretative equation of rights with interests of legal nature would have as a result to limit the acceptable ambit of intervention and would require a greater burden of proof on the part of the intervener.67 In this case, a two-part approach was used, based on the nature of the interest on the one hand, and on the connection with the main case, on the other. First that the interest should be real, concrete and based on law, as qu'est un droit, on sait ce qu'est un intérêt, mais on ne sait pas ce que peut être un intérêt-droit ou un droit-intérêt”, P. Bastid, L’intervention devant les juridictions internationales, 36 Revue politique et parlementaire (1929), 100, 103. 66 Defending this minority opinion, see Dissenting Opinion of Judge Ago, Continental Shelf (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya/Malta), supra note 46, 124, para 16 (“an interest of a legal nature being nothing other than a right”); Declarations of Judges Al-Khasawneh, Territorial and Maritime Dispute (Nicaragua v. Colombia), Application by Costa Rica for Permission to Intervene, supra note 46 (paras. 18-29); Ibid., Declaration of Judge Keith, devoting the entirety of his opinion to examine the differences between rights and interests of a legal nature and all the related case law, concluding that the concepts are in practice used interchangeably, so that even if there is a difference in the meaning of terms, the distinction is not useful. In the same case, cf. Dissenting Opinion of Judge Abraham “It is well known and well recognized, both in doctrine and in jurisprudence, that an “interest” should not be confused with a “right”; while it is not always easy to define the dividing line between the two categories, it is certainly not permissible to confuse them” para. 6. See also Kolb, supra note 28, 706-707, who argues that the difference is well known in municipal law, but that international law has not yet reached a point where it can differentiate between these legal facets. 67 The Court supported this view in the first case where it defined the interest of a legal nature Territorial and Maritime Dispute (Nicaragua v. Colombia), Application by Honduras for Permission to Intervene supra note 43, para 26. Matina Papadaki 58 opposed to interests of another nature, such as political, economic or strategic. Second that it should be potentially affected by the decision.68 More generally, it seems that a permissible interest of a legal nature for the purposes of intervention has slowly started to consolidate and could be defined as part of a more general spectrum of rights and interests related to the Court’s mainline and incidental jurisdiction.69 On one end of the spectrum stand the rights which form the very essence of the case. Without the participation of the States whose rights form the very subject matter of the case, the case cannot continue even with the consent of other states that also have claims related to the dispute.70 On the other end stand either general, non-individuated71 legal interests,72 or interests which are not connected to the dispute.73 Going back to the evolution of interests based on law, and the impact they can have on procedure, Judge Weeramantry’s Opinion in the Pulau Li- 68 Ibid. (emphasis added). 69 See Bonafé, supra note 57. This author identified four types of interests which justify intervention: Interests that are the very subject matter of the decision, directly affected interests, interests affected by implication and generalized interests. It is worth noting that the category of interests affected by implication relates only to the interests claimed by Greece in its intervention in the Jurisdictional Immunities case, supra note 43. This being the latest decision of the Court on a request for intervention, it can be seen as a further loosening of the criteria of legal interest. On the other hand, in accordance with the above identified house-keeping goals the fact that none of the parties formally objected to the intervention, should be taken into account. 70 The principle, that where a third party is indispensable the dispute cannot be adjudicated without its presence, was established in the Monetary Gold Removed from Rome in 1943 (Italy v. France, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and United States of America), Preliminary Question, Judgment, ICJ Reports 1954, 19. The principle was applied again in the case of East Timor (Portugal v. Australia), Judgment, ICJ Reports 1995, 90, (see in particular paras. 28, 35). 71 The interest should be “personnel et concret” and not “impersonnel et théorique”, K. Mbaye, L'intérêt pour agir devant la Cour Internationale de Justice, 209 Collected Courses of the Hague Academy of International Law (1988/II), 223, 292. 72 Continental Shelf (Tunisia/Libyan Arab Jamahiriya), supra note 46, para. 19 (“[t]he interest of a legal nature invoked by Malta does not relate to any legal interest of its own directly in issue as between Tunisia and Libya in the present proceedings […] [i]t concerns rather the potential implications of reasons”); Island and Maritime Frontier Dispute (El Salvador/Honduras), supra note 46, para. 76, where the Court explicitly ruled out interests “in the general legal rules and principles likely to be applied by the decision”. 73 Sovereignty over Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan, supra note 1, para. 82. Substantive and Procedural Rules in International Adjudication 59 tigan and Pulua Sipadan case74 is very relevant in this regard, and his approach merits citing at length: It enhances the importance of this subject to note that although it may on first impression appear to relate to a merely procedural and incidental matter, it is closely intertwined with substantive law and its development. This was well illustrated in the first case to come before the Court under Article 62, the case of Fiji's attempted intervention in the case between Australia and France relating to nuclear testing. Doubts were expressed at that time on the question whether atmospheric damage through nuclear testing constituted an interest of a legal nature. International environmental law has progressed so far since then as to render incontestable that this is an interest of a legal nature, thus effecting a change in procedural consequences through a change in substantive law. This observation clearly raises the question of obligations erga omnes.75 The shift in defining what is a legal interest stems from the famous obiter dictum in the Barcelona Traction case, where it was recognized for the first time that there are obligations which, due to their importance, are owed “to the international community as a whole” and thus “all States can be held to have a legal interest in their protection”.76 This is in turn related to recognition of secondary norms of State responsibility to protect these interests.77 74 Ibid., Separate Opinion of Judge Weeramantry, para. 11. 75 It should be noted that collective interests stemming from a Convention, creating obligations erga omnes partes, are clearly within the ambit of intervention under Article 63, which does not differentiate between the nature of obligations created by treaties. This is exemplified in the Whaling case, supra note 47, where despite New Zealand’s claims that the “[c]ontracting governments have a collective interest” in the performance of rights established by the Whaling Convention, the Order of the Court did not mention the nature of the rights established under the treaty (Declaration of Intervention of New Zealand, para. 23 available at http://w, last visited 10 August 2017). Thus, in this respect, a clear distinction should be drawn between the importance of interests erga omnes partes for reasons of intervention and for reasons of admissibility as in the case of Questions relating to the Obligation to Prosecute or Extradite (Belgium v. Senegal), Judgment, ICJ Reports 2012, 422, para 68. 76 Barcelona Traction Light and Power Company Limited (Belgium v. Spain), Judgment, ICJ Reports 1970, 3, para 33. 77 See ILC, Commentary to the Articles on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts (ASR), YbILC, 2001, A/CN.4/SER.A/2001/Add.1 (Part 2), 20, establishing that both specially affected and non-injured states have a legal interest and can invoke the breach of an obligation owed to the international Matina Papadaki 60 However, changes in the primary and secondary norms do not automatically translate into changes in the interpretation of procedural norms. The requirements of invocation of responsibility, standing and admissibility of a claim are different in kind than those of intervention.78 Nonetheless, it would be paradoxical to claim that if the requirements for invocation of responsibility and standing are fulfilled then, the less stringent requirements under article 62 will not be,79 and it has been argued that these interests are sufficient and not “improper” for the purposes of intervention.80 Moreover, as a matter of legal policy, a consistent interpretation of these different interests will be beneficial.81 A further question arises then, linking back to the house-keeping values identified above. When interpreting interests of a legal nature, we should consider whether generalised interests and interests owed to the international community as a whole, will be considered as an actio popularis through the backdoor of intervention82 or will water down the procedure of intervention, transforming it into a kind of amicus curiae participation,83 intruding upon party autonomy and thus potentially eroding the confidence of States in the Court. In our opinion, the Court should strive to strike a balance between discouraging State consent to its jurisdiction and fulfilling its role in the adcommunity as a whole (see Article 42(b) 118-119, paras. 11-12 and Article 48(1) (b), 127, paras. 8-9). 78 Chinkin, supra note 25, 160. 79 G. Gaja, The Protection of General Interests in the International Community, 364 Collected Courses of the Hague Academy of International Law (2013), 119. 80 Arguing that obligations erga omnes can create interests of a legal nature in the sense of Article 62, see R. Bernhardt (Rapporteur), Report – Final Version. Judicial and Arbitral Settlement of International Disputes Involving More than Two States”, 68-I Annuaire de l’Institut de droit international (1999), 60,120; S. Forlati, Azioni dinanzi alla Corte internazionale di giustizia rispetto a violazioni di obblighi erga omnes, 84 Rivista di Diritto Internazionale (2001), 69,108; Bonafé supra note 57, 755-756 (but limiting it in the case of a specially affected third state, in the sense of Article 42 of the ASR). 81 Benzing, supra note 15, 399. 82 For the impermissibility of introducing an actio popularis through intervention, see E. Jimenez de Arechaga, Intervention under Article 62 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice, in R. Bernhardt et al. (eds.), Völkerrecht Als Rechtsordnung, Internationale Gerichtsbarkeit, Menschenrechte: Festschrift für Hermann Mosler (1983), 453, 461. 83 Suggesting the introduction of a new procedure for more generalised interests, see Chinkin, supra note 25, 286, 287; P. Palchetti, Opening the International Court of Justice to Third States: Intervention and Beyond, 6 Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law (2002), 139, 174-179. Substantive and Procedural Rules in International Adjudication 61 ministration of justice in the international community. But the latter cannot happen through either narrow or expansive interpretations of its procedural law. The permeability of the substance-procedure boundary has its limits. To facilitate and reflect changes in the substantive law, but also, and perhaps more importantly, to accommodate shifts towards systemic values, the text of Rules of the Court should be changed. As put by Jenks half a century ago: In every legal system law and procedure constantly react upon each other. Changes in the substantive law call for new procedures and remedies; new procedures and remedies make possible changes in the substantive law. So it is in international law; if we wish so to develop the law as to respond to the challenge of our times our procedures and remedies must be sufficiently varied and flexible for the purpose. We cannot be content to inherit; we must also create.84 Conclusions The division between substance and procedure is one of the binaries which make sense both from a normative and an analytical perspective. Despite theoretical complexities, having a working definition, specific to a legal system or a Court, is not a matter of theoretical enquiry but of practical importance, as demonstrated above with the examples of local remedies rules and immunities. However, the categorization of norms will not be clear-cut and legal concepts will often straddle the line. The underpinnings of norms and institutions that stand behind the categories of substance and procedure, work in tandem to produce decisions. In this contribution we tried to show how this interaction between fluid categories can help gain a different perspective of the application of law. On the one hand, we have shown that the Court has to perform a housekeeping function, upholding the values of the system, good administration of justice and state consent. On the other, as the only international court with general jurisdiction, it should take into account the systemic effects of its judgments and try to transmit the changes in substantive law through a harmonious interpretation of its procedure, taking into consideration, at the same time, the inherent limits to intervention as an incidental procedure. V. 84 C. W. Jenks, The Prospects of International Adjudication (1964), 184 (emphasis added). Matina Papadaki 62 To conclude, the dividing line between substance and procedure continues to carry explanatory force, uncovering important implicit assumptions which play out in the context of intervention before the ICJ as evinced in our analysis. The examination of third party intervention before the International Court of Justice showed how a procedure with uncertain goals in a bilateralist system can provide an entry point to the accommodation of third party interests as well as emerging community interests. However, to do so, the Court has to use intervention and its procedure in the manner of a balancing act. Moreover, whether it intends to accommodate such interests remains to be seen, as further case law is needed to reach more definite conclusions. On a more general note, theoretical explorations and taxonomies of the interface between substantive and procedural rules can prove to be a very fertile ground for international legal research due to their potential to deepen our awareness of the connection between institutional design of procedures and underlying choices regarding substantive protection of rights. Substantive and Procedural Rules in International Adjudication 63 The Dual Role of Procedure in International Water Law Tamar Meshel* Introduction Of the total amount of water on Earth, only 2.5% is fresh water and only around 30% of this water is available for human use.1 The rising demand for this finite resource, fuelled by population growth, industrial development, and increasing scarcity, may well result in a global water crisis. Moreover, competing transboundary fresh water demands may lead to interstate disputes over ownership, allocation, and quality of fresh water.2 This is particularly so because transboundary fresh water has “[c]haracteristics that make [its] conservation and management particularly challenging, the most notable of which is the tendency for regional politics to regularly exacerbate the already difficult task of understanding and managing complex natural systems.”3 I. * Assistant Professor, University of Alberta Faculty of Law. This chapter is current to July 2017. 1 E. B. Weiss, The Coming Water Crisis: A Common Concern of Humankind, 1(1) Transnational Environmental Law (2012), 153-154. 2 L. Boisson de Chazournes, C. Leb & M. Tignino, Introduction, in L. Boisson de Chazournes et al. (eds.), International Law and Freshwater: The Multiple Challenges (2013), 1-2. 3 A. Grzybowski et al, Beyond International Water Law: Successfully Negotiating Mutual Gains Agreements for International Watercourses, 22 Pac. McGeorge Global Bus & Dev. L. J. (2010), 1, 139-140, cited in R. K. Paisley & T. W. Henshaw, ‘If You Can’t Measure it, You Can’t Manage it’: Transboundary Waters, Good Governance and Data & Information Sharing & Exchange, 24 Ind. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. (2014), 1, 203-206. 65 It is generally agreed, therefore, that cooperation among states sharing fresh water resources4 is required both to manage these resources effectively and to prevent and resolve disputes.5 However, such cooperation may prove difficult to elicit as most shared fresh water resources are not governed by either a bilateral or a multilateral treaty that addresses issues of water quantity, quality, or use,6 while “the concern to maximize individual benefits provides a powerful incentive to exploit resources unilaterally”.7 “Even under favourable circumstance”, therefore, “states may shy away from cooperating, when they can afford to” and “the challenge in international river basins remains the achievement of cooperative solutions to the provision of a common property resource”.8 International water law,9 which has developed since the beginning of the 20th century to govern non-navigational uses of fresh water resources, aims to achieve precisely this goal of interstate cooperation in the management of such resources by providing states with ‘substantive’ and ‘procedural’ principles to guide their behaviour and interaction. While a distinction between the substantive principles, namely equitable and reasonable utilization and no significant harm, and the procedural principles of international water law has been widely accepted, the distinction is not clear-cut and should not be strictly applied.10 This is so since “substance typically frames the circumstances in which procedure operates, and the purposes that it is to serve. In turn, procedure has the potential to reinforce and de- 4 The term ‘shared fresh water resources’ used herein is intended to encompass ‘international drainage basins’, used in the Helsinki Rules on the Uses of Waters of international Rivers, and ‘international watercourses’, used in the UN Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses, G.A. Res. 51/229 of 21 May 1997. 5 P. Wouters, ‘Dynamic cooperation’ – The evolution of transboundary water cooperation, in M. Kidd et al. (eds.), Water and the Law: Towards Sustainability (2014), 14. 6 S. M. A. Salman, Mediation of international water disputes – the Indus, the Jordan, and the Nile Basins interventions, in L. Boisson de Chazournes, et al. (eds.), International Law and Freshwater: The Multiple Challenges (2013), 360-361. 7 M. R. Lowi, Water and Power: The Politics of a Scarce Resource in the Jordan River Basin (1995), 1. 8 Ibid., 1-2. 9 To be distinguished from the body of international law governing navigation, maritime issues, and the High Seas. 10 C. Leb, Cooperation in the Law of Transboundary Water Resources (2013), 107. Tamar Meshel 66 velop, and to give concrete meaning and effect to, substance”.11 Thus, “procedural obligations are interlaced with substantive content”12 and have become increasingly significant both as a tool for the implementation of states’ related substantive obligations and for the cooperative management of shared fresh water resources. This chapter will discuss this dual role of states’ procedural obligations under international water law: first, to facilitate compliance with their substantive obligations and, second, to elicit interstate cooperation in the management of shared fresh water resources. The chapter will first describe the content and status of the main procedural principles of international water law, both under customary international law and as treaty obligations in regional and global legal instruments. It will then address the dual role of these procedural obligations in the implementation and execution of international water law by states sharing fresh water resources. In this regard, the chapter will first provide an overview of international water law’s substantive principles of equitable and reasonable utilization and no significant harm and examine the way in which procedural obligations facilitate state compliance with these principles. It will then turn to states’ duty of cooperation under general international law, how the procedural principles of international water law interact with this duty, and how this interaction has facilitated the cooperative management of shared fresh water resources as reflected in treaty practice and in the prevention of water-related disputes. The Procedural Principles of International Water Law Procedural obligations under international water law can be found in numerous multilateral and bilateral water-sharing agreements, some of which are also said to have gained customary international law status. These include, inter alia, the duty to protect and develop shared fresh water resources13 through the conclusion of “watercourse agreements”14 and “joint II. 11 J. Brunnée, International Environmental Law and Community Interests: Procedural Aspects, in E. Benvenisti and G. Nolte (eds.), Community Obligations in International Law (2017), 5, available at t_id=2784701 (last visited 6 December 2018). 12 Leb, supra note 10,109. 13 E.g. United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses (UNWC), GA Res. 51/229 of 21 May 1997, Article 5(2). 14 E.g. ibid., Article 3. The Dual Role of Procedure in International Water Law 67 mechanisms or commissions”;15 the duty to exchange information, consult, and notify of the possible adverse effects of planned measures;16 the duty to cooperate on the regulation of the flow of the waters of an international watercourse;17 the duty to develop harmonized policies, programmes and strategies aimed at the prevention of transboundary impact;18 the duty to conduct research on transboundary impact;19 and the duty to establish joint programmes for monitoring the conditions of transboundary waters.20 The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has highlighted the “cascading nature” of some of these procedural obligations, from the general duty of states to cooperate, through the duty of prior notification of planned projects likely to adversely impact co-riparian states, to the requirement to conduct some form of environmental impact assessment that takes account of such impact. Moreover, these procedural duties are said to create legally binding obligations on states in their own right, even though the ICJ has suggested that breach of such obligations might not be considered very serious in the absence of actual transboundary harm.21 A fundamental procedural principle of international water law is the obligation to notify, which has been codified in the 1997 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses (UNWC)22 and also recognized as part of customary international law.23 Its objective is to give affected states the opportunity to assess the risk of harm with respect to their own interests and rights. Therefore, announc- 15 E.g. ibid., Articles 8(2), 24. Although the Convention has been criticized for leaving “the determination of details, particularly the functions of a joint institution, to the parties to any future watercourse agreement”, J. Brunnée & S. J. Toope, Environmental Security and Freshwater Resources: Ecosystem Regime Building, 91(1) American Journal of International Law (1997), 26, 54. 16 E.g. UNWC, supra note 13, Articles 11-19. 17 E.g. ibid., Article 25. 18 E.g. Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (UNECE), of 17 March 1992, Article 2(6). 19 E.g. ibid., Article 5. 20 E.g. ibid., Article 11. 21 Case Concerning the Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay, Judgment, ICJ Reports 2010, available at (last visited 6 December 2018). O. McIntyre, The contribution of procedural rules to the environmental protection of transboundary rivers in light of recent ICJ case law, in L. Boisson de Chazournes et al. (eds.), International Law and Freshwater: The Multiple Challenges (2013), 240. 22 UNWC, supra note 13, Part III. 23 Leb, supra note 10, 118, 130; S. C. McCaffrey, The Law of International Watercourses: Non-navigational Uses (2007), 473. Tamar Meshel 68 ing to potentially affected states that a project is planned on a shared water system must be “timely”24 and accompanied by adequate technical data that will allow affected states to carry out their own assessments regarding the impact of the planned measure.25 The related obligation to conduct an environmental impact assessment when there is a risk of significant adverse transboundary impact of planned measures has similarly developed into an essential procedural principle of international water law and a general requirement under customary international law.26 It entails “a national procedure for evaluating the likely impact of proposed activity on the environment”,27 although the scope and content of such an assessment has not been specifically defined by the ICJ and is left to be determined by each state individually on a case-by-case basis. Nonetheless, it has been considered the criterion for achieving “a balance between the use of the waters and the protection of the river”,28 and plays a “pivotal role in facilitating realization of many of the procedural rights and duties arising under the rubric of the duty to cooperate in good faith, including the duty to notify, consult and, if necessary, enter into negotiations with states likely to be affected”.29 In addition, the ICJ has recently clarified and consolidated the specific requirements, minimum standards, and best practices of transboundary environmental impact assessments.30 This duty has been considered by some as purely procedural in nature31 and the ICJ in the Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay case acknowledged its close link to the obligation to notify of planned measures, which it also considered to be procedural.32 24 UNWC, supra note 13, Article 12. 25 Leb, supra note 10, 110. 26 McIntyre, supra note 21, 240. The requirement to undertake a transboundary environmental impact assessment is also provided in international instruments such as the UNCLOS, the 1992 Espoo Convention, and the International Law Commission’s 2001 Draft Articles on Transboundary Harm, and has been said to form part of customary international law, U. Beyerlin & T. Marauhn, International Environmental Law (2011), 231. 27 Beyerlin & Marauhn, ibid., 230. 28 Pulp Mills, supra note 21, para. 177. 29 McIntyre, supra note 21, 260-261. 30 Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua), Proceedings joined with Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica), Judgment, ICJ Reports 2015, paras. 104, 153-155, 159, 161, 168; Separate Opinion of Judge Bhandari, paras. 41-46. 31 E.g. P. N. Okowa, Procedural Obligations in International Environmental Agreements, 67(1) British Yearbook of International Law (1996), 291, cited in Leb, supra note 10, 110. 32 Pulp Mills, supra note 21, para. 119. The Dual Role of Procedure in International Water Law 69 However, the Court discussed the duty to undertake an environmental impact assessment primarily in the section addressing substantive obligations in light of its relationship with the obligation to prevent transboundary environmental harm.33 Moreover, in the more recent dispute between Nicaragua and Costa Rica some of the ICJ judges have treated the obligation to undertake an environmental impact assessment as an independent obligation, finding that the threshold for triggering it “is not the high standard for determining whether significant transboundary harm has been caused but the lower standard of risk assessment”.34 Another aspect of the duty to notify of planned measures is the duty to consult. Consultation is “the process that ensues in case of a response by the notified State claiming significant adverse effect”.35 This corollary duty aims to achieve the underlying objective of notification, namely to ensure that the interests of the notified state are considered. The consultation process is one of information exchange that carries with it a legal consequence, namely the duty to take into account the information obtained throughout this process.36 Whereas the obligation of consultation resulting from notification of planned measures that might cause significant harm has emerged as a norm of customary law, other consultation obligations may be constituted by treaty instruments, for instance with respect to coordination in managing shared water resources,37 and thus the obligation to consult is also considered one of general applicability.38 The UNWC, for instance, refers to states’ obligation to consult in connection with many of its provisions, including the conclusion of watercourse agreements, the application of equitable utilization, the elimination or mitigation of harm, and the prevention of pollution.39 Such consultations are said to be “practically essential” to ensuring that a fair balance between states’ respective uses of a shared fresh water resource is maintained.40 A related procedural duty is states’ duty to exchange data and information regularly, which has been said to “maximize securitization by building trust, which translates to unified and adaptive governance of transbound- 33 Ibid., paras. 203-219, cited in Leb, supra note 10, 111. 34 Costa Rica v. Nicaragua, supra note 30, Separate Opinion of Judge Dugard, para. 10 (emphasis in original). 35 Leb, supra note 10, 139. 36 Ibid., 140. 37 Ibid. 38 McCaffrey, supra note 23, 476. 39 Ibid., 476-477. 40 Ibid., 477. Tamar Meshel 70 ary waters”.41 Although this duty does not constitute universal practice or customary law,42 it clearly exemplifies the dual role of procedure in this context since it is essential for the cooperative administration and sustainable development of rivers as well as for the achievement of equitable and reasonable utilization and the avoidance of significant harm.43 This is so since “without data and information from co-riparian states concerning the condition of the watercourse, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for a state not only to regulate uses and provide protection […] within its territory, but also to ensure that its utilization is equitable and reasonable vis-à-vis other states sharing the watercourse”.44 Regular data exchange generally takes place on the basis of international agreements or other arrangements,45 and states have frequently acknowledged the necessity of such exchange in international water treaties,46 ministerial declarations from international waters conferences,47 and international resolutions.48 Furthermore, inherent in the obligation of regular data and information exchange are the obligations to collect data and to monitor water quality and system conditions.49 These procedural obligations under international water law have also been supplemented with a requirement that state parties develop cooperative machinery for their execution. Such machinery entails institutional arrangements such as joint river basin commissions and other joint bodies. The proper functioning of these cooperative institutions not only enables 41 Paisley & Henshaw, supra note 3, 203. 42 Leb, supra note 10, 118. 43 Ibid., 115. 44 McCaffrey, supra note 23, 478. 45 Leb, supra note 10, 118. 46 E.g. UNWC, supra note 13, Article 9. An analysis of water treaties since 1900 showed that about 39% of the agreements evaluated include a clause on regular information sharing. While the content of these provisions varies, the basic obligation common to all of them is the mutual and regular exchange of data with the objective of informing the process of state interaction on shared water resources. Leb, ibid., 117. 47 E.g. The Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment; the Dublin Statement of the International Conference on Water and the Environment; and the Kyoto Ministerial Declaration of the 3rd World Water Forum; Paisley & Henshaw, supra note 3, 208. 48 E.g. The Institut de Droit International Resolution on the Pollution of Rivers and Lakes and International Law, article VII; the International Law Association New York Resolution, article 3; and the International Law Association, Helsinki Rules, article XXIX; Paisley & Henshaw, ibid., 208-209. 49 Leb, supra note 10, 121. The Dual Role of Procedure in International Water Law 71 states to carry out their procedural obligations, but has been linked to the effective fulfilment of their substantive obligations.50 The significant role of institutional arrangements in ensuring effective procedural cooperation between states has also been emphasized by the ICJ.51 The Court has recognized the authority of river basin organizations as: [g]overned by the ‘principle of speciality’, that is to say, they are invested by the States which create them with powers, the limits of which are a function of the common interests whose promotion those States entrust to them.52 While early institutions were often limited in focus or scope, since the 1950s the tendency has been toward the creation of cross-sectoral basin institutions with authority over multiple issues, and the number of such institutions has increased dramatically.53 The functions carried out by these institutions vary, and may include problem identification and assessment; information collection, monitoring, dissemination and exchange; coordination of activities; norms and rule-making; supervision and enforcement; operational activities; and dispute resolution.54 Procedures for the resolution of fresh water disputes have also been addressed in some international instruments such as the 1966 Helsinki Rules, which provided for bilateral negotiations by way of permanent joint commissions, as well as mediation, good offices, and conciliation.55 The UNWC provides that where negotiations fail, the parties “may jointly seek the good offices of, or request mediation or conciliation by, a third party, or make use, as appropriate, of any joint watercourse institutions that may have been established by them or agree to submit the dispute to arbitration or to the International Court of Justice.”56 The UNWC further provides that if after six months the parties have not been able to settle their dispute through such means, it “shall be submitted, at the request of any of the parties to the dispute, to impartial factfinding […] unless the parties otherwise agree.”57 50 Pulp Mills, supra note 21, paras. 173, 176; McIntyre, supra note 21, 246-247. 51 McIntyre, ibid., 254. 52 Pulp Mills, supra note 21, para. 89. 53 E. B. Weiss, International Law for a Water-Scarce World (2013), 166. 54 Ibid., 170-171. 55 Helsinki Rules on the Uses of the Waters of International Rivers, supra note 4, 486, 488. 56 UNWC, supra note 13, Article 33(2). 57 Ibid., Article 33(3). Tamar Meshel 72 Therefore, the UNWC includes a so-called “compulsory system”58 of dispute resolution through a default option of “impartial fact-finding” that is intended to provide disputing parties with “recommendations […] for an equitable solution of the dispute, which the parties concerned shall consider in good faith”.59 Given the heavy reliance in transboundary fresh water disputes on “expert recommendations concerning technical matters and the fact that all international water disputes are inevitably very fact-sensitive”,60 inquiry and fact-finding may be particularly useful in eliciting cooperation among disputing states. Many water-related international instruments61 also provide for the resolution of disputes by way of international adjudication, which has traditionally encompassed both judicial settlement and arbitration. The UNWC, however, puts priority on the non-binding dispute resolution means detailed above rather than adjudication, does not require the submission of disputes to the ICJ, and does not allow for this option to be used unilaterally.62 The Dual Role of Procedural Obligations under International Water Law Facilitation of compliance with the substantive principles of equitable and reasonable utilization and no significant harm The first role of the procedural principles of international water law is to facilitate state compliance with its core substantive principles of equitable and reasonable utilization and no significant harm. These principles constitute the foundation of the prevailing legal theory governing the use of shared fresh water resources, namely ‘limited territorial sovereignty’. This theory lies midway between the more extreme theories of ‘absolute territorial sovereignty’ (the ‘Harmon Doctrine’), according to which a state is enti- III. A. 58 L. Caflisch, “Judicial Means for Settling Water Disputes,” in International Bureau of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (ed.), Resolution of international water disputes: papers emanating from the Sixth PCA International Law Seminar (2003), 236. 59 UNWC, supra note 13, Article 33(8). 60 E. Kristjánsdóttir, Resolution of Water Disputes: Lessons from the Middle East, in PCA (ed.), Resolution of International Water Disputes (2003), 357. 61 See, e.g. 1961 Salzburg Resolution, Article 8; 1966 Helsinki Rules, Article XXXIV. 62 UNWC, supra note 13, Article. 33; A. S. Al-Khasawneh, Do judicial decisions settle water-related disputes?, in L. Boisson de Chazournes et al. (eds.), International Law and Freshwater: The Multiple Challenges (2013), 344. The Dual Role of Procedure in International Water Law 73 tled to do as it pleases with waters within its boundaries without regard to the interests of other states sharing those waters, and ‘absolute territorial integrity’, according to which no state sharing a water resource may make any changes to it that restrict the supply of water to another state. ‘Limited territorial sovereignty’ is intended to serve as a “mutual limitation of sovereign rights”63 and facilitate cooperation between states sharing water resources through the two core principles of equitable and reasonable utilization and no significant harm. These principles have been codified in the UNWC and other international instruments and are also considered to have customary status. They have been said to pivot around the concept of cooperation, which is seen as a “necessary catalyst for the[ir] concrete case-by-case operation”.64 Moreover, these principles have been said to promote cooperation among riparian states both in the negotiation of water agreements and in the resolution of water disputes65 by providing “a broad framework for identifying the shared values of States that underpin and give direction” to such efforts.66 At the same time, the equitable and reasonable utilization and no significant harm principles have also been criticized for being “nebulous”67 and too general, while shared fresh water resources and their management are specific.68 Since “no two rivers present the same economic, social, political or hydrological facts”69 and in light of the “bewildering complexity and uncertainty inherent” in these general legal principles,70 their use by states may prove to be a tall order absent facilitative procedural principles. The equitable and reasonable utilization principle, considered by some as the overarching principle governing the use of shared fresh water re- 63 J. Brunnée & S. J. Toope, The Nile Basin Regime: A Role For Law?, in A. S. Alsharhan & W. W. Wood (eds.), Water Resources Perspectives: Evaluation, Management and Policy (2003), 106. 64 A. Tanzi, Regional contributions to international water cooperation: the UNECE contribution, in M. Kidd et al. (eds.), Water and the Law: Towards Sustainability (2014), 159-160. 65 S. C. McCaffrey, The Codification of universal norms: a means to promote cooperation and equity?, in M. Kidd et al., ibid.,133. 66 McIntyre, supra note 21, 239. 67 Ibid. 68 H. Alebachew, International legal perspectives on the utilization of trans-boundary rivers: the case of the Ethiopian Renaissance (Nile) Dam, in M. Kidd et al, supra note 64, 84. 69 M. S. Helal, Sharing Blue Gold: The 1997 UN Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses Ten Years On, 18(2) Colo. J. Int’l Envtl. L. & Poly (2007), 337,347. 70 McIntyre, supra note 21, 239. Tamar Meshel 74 sources, is rooted in the sovereign equality of states71 and entitles each basin state to a reasonable and equitable share of water resources for beneficial uses within its own territory.72 Accordingly, each state sharing a fresh water resource has “an equal right to an equitable share of the uses and benefits” of that resource73 and is under an obligation to “use the watercourse in a manner that is equitable and reasonable vis-à-vis”74 other states sharing the resource. The ICJ has also endorsed the equitable and reasonable utilization principle as a governing principle of international water law.75 It was incorporated into Article 5 of the UNWC as follows: Equitable and reasonable utilization and participation 1. Watercourse States shall in their respective territories utilize an international watercourse in an equitable and reasonable manner. In particular, an international watercourse shall be used and developed by watercourse States with a view to attaining optimal and sustainable utilization thereof and benefits therefrom, taking into account the interests of the watercourse States concerned, consistent with adequate protection of the watercourse. 2. Watercourse States shall participate in the use, development and protection of an international watercourse in an equitable and reasonable manner. Such participation includes both the right to utilize the watercourse and the duty to cooperate in the protection and development thereof, as provided in the present Convention. As the equitable and reasonable utilization principle is designed to promote cooperation between states sharing fresh water resources,76 Article 6 of the UNWC sets out a list of factors to be taken into account by states in the application of the principle in order to facilitate such cooperation, including social, economic, cultural, and historic considerations. However, this article does not prioritize among these factors, and the practical challenge of determining what constitutes each state’s “fair share” and what 71 Helal, supra note 69, 342. 72 M. M. Rahaman, Principles of international water law: creating effective transboundary water resources management, 1(3) International Journal of sustainable Society (2009), 207,210. 73 McCaffrey, supra note 23, 391-392. 74 McCaffrey, The Law of International Watercourses: Present Problems, Future Trends, in W. E. Burhenne et al. (eds.), A Law for the Environment (1994), 114. 75 Case Concerning the Gabčikovo-Nagymaros Project (Hungary/Slovakia), Judgment, ICJ Reports 1997, para. 85. 76 I. Kaya, Equitable Utilization: The Law of Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (2003), 7. The Dual Role of Procedure in International Water Law 75 conduct or use should be considered “equitable and reasonable” has yet to be overcome.77 Furthermore, since the equitable and reasonable utilization principle is “normatively vague, flexible and commonly misunderstood”, it has been suggested that it should be perceived as an “inter-State process” of cooperation rather than “a clear normative rule that dictates a particular outcome”.78 Viewed this way, the equitable and reasonable utilization principle “offers insufficient guidance to States on how they may proceed to give effect to these norms”, but its shortcomings “may be offset to some extent by a body of procedural law”.79 The no significant harm principle has its roots in states’ general obligation under international law not to use their territory in such a way as to cause harm to another state,80 and has also been linked to the principle of good neighbourliness81 and the cooperation rationale which underlies it.82 The no significant harm principle prohibits a state sharing a fresh water resource from using the waters in its territory in a way that would cause significant harm to other basin states or to their environment.83 In the context of international environmental law the obligation not to cause significant transboundary harm is considered to constitute customary international law.84 It was articulated in the following terms in the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development: States have [...] the sovereign right to exploit their own resources pursuant to their own environmental and developmental policies, and the responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or con- 77 H. Elver, Peaceful Uses of International Rivers: The Euphrates and Tigers Rivers Dispute (2002), 136-137. 78 McIntyre, supra note 21, 247. 79 Leb, supra note 10, 108, citing Bourne. 80 Also known as the maxim sic utere tuo ut alienum no laedas. 81 This principle is an expression of the idea that sovereignty over a territory comes not only with rights but also with duties, including the duty not to prejudice the rights of others. Some view these two concepts as identical, while others distinguish their origins and argue that the good neighbourliness principle is rooted in sovereignty whereas the no significant harm concept has its source in the principle of good faith, Leb, supra note 10, 97. 82 Tanzi, supra note 64, 160. 83 Ibid., 211. 84 As confirmed by the ICJ in its 1996 on The Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, Advisory Opinion, ICJ Reports 1996, 226, 241-242. Tamar Meshel 76 trol do not cause damage to the environment of other states or of areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.85 The no significant harm principle has also been prominent in state practice in the international water law field. Particularly in the sense of protecting prior uses, it has been frequently included in water agreements86 in order to protect the “legitimate expectations of [first users to] security” since “subsequent users cannot claim surprise when prior uses are protected”.87 It was articulated into Article 7 of the UNWC in the following terms: Obligation not to cause significant harm 1. Watercourse States shall, in utilizing an international watercourse in their territories, take all appropriate measures to prevent the causing of significant harm to other watercourse States. 2. Where significant harm nevertheless is caused to another watercourse State, the States whose use causes such harm shall, in the absence of agreement to such use, take all appropriate measures, having due regard for the provisions of articles 5 and 6, in consultation with the affected State, to eliminate or mitigate such harm and, where appropriate, to discuss the question of compensation. Both in international water law and in general international law, the no significant harm principle is founded on a due diligence obligation.88 The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) Seabed Disputes Chamber89 has defined states’ due diligence obligation as “an obligation to deploy adequate means, to exercise best possible efforts, to do the utmost, to obtain [a] result”. In other words, “this obligation may be characterized as an obligation ‘of conduct’ and not ‘of result’”.90 The ITLOS Chamber further linked this obligation to the precautionary principle, finding that 85 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (1992), Principle 2, available at (last visited 13 December 2018); see also Trail smelter Arbitration (USA v.Canada), 3 UN Rep. Int’l Arb. Awards, 1911. 86 M. A. Giordano & A. T. Wolf, Transboundary Freshwater Treaties, in M. Nakayama (ed.), International Waters in southern Africa (2003), 76-77. 87 D. Tarlock, The Law of Equitable Apportionment Revisited, Updated, and Restated, 56 U. Colo. L. Rev (1985), 381, 396. 88 Ibid., 443-445. 89 Responsibilities and Obligations of states sponsoring Person and Entities with Respect to Activities in the Area (Advisory Opinion), ITLOS Case No. 17 (1 February 2011), para. 135. 90 Ibid., para. 110. The Dual Role of Procedure in International Water Law 77 “the precautionary approach is also an integral part of the general obligation of due diligence” of states, which requires them “to take all appropriate measures to prevent damage [… and] applies in situations where scientific evidence concerning the scope and potential negative impact of the activity in question is insufficient but where there are plausible indications of potential risks”.91 Therefore, a state “would not meet its obligation of due diligence if it disregarded those risks”.92 In the fresh water context, this precautionary principle was incorporated in the 1992 UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (UNECE), the 2008 Draft Articles on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers,93 and the 2004 Berlin Rules on Water Resources,94 and was referenced in the Pulp Mills case, in which the ICJ noted that “a precautionary approach may be relevant in the interpretation and application of the provisions of the statute”.95 Moreover, the ICJ in this case found that the due diligence requirement underlying the no significant harm principle, and the duty of vigilance and prevention that it implies, includes the obligation to carry out an environmental impact assessment prior to the implementation of a project that might cause transboundary harm,96 and “once operations have started and, where necessary, throughout the life of the project, continuous monitoring of its effects on the environment shall be undertaken”.97 Therefore, it is becoming increasingly clear when and how harmful activities 91 Ibid., para.131. 92 Ibid. 93 Report of the International Law Commission on the Work of its 60th session, UN Doc. A/63/ 10, (5 May–6 June and 7 July–8 August 2008), Article 12. 94 Berlin Rules on Water Resources International Law Association, Report of the 71st Conference, 71 ILA 337, 385 (2004), Article 2, (Berlin Rules). 95 Pulp Mills, supra note 21, para. 164. 96 Ibid., paras. 204-205; Costa Rica v. Nicaragua, supra note 30, para. 104. However, Judge Donoghue, for instance, expressed doubt that state practice and opinio juris support the existence of a specific obligation to undertake an environmental impact assessment where there is a risk of significant transboundary environmental harm. Nonetheless, she acknowledged that “[i]f a proposed activity poses a risk of significant transboundary environmental harm, a State of origin would be hard pressed to explain a decision to undertake that activity without prior assessment of the risk of transboundary environmental harm”, Separate Opinion of Judge Donoghue, para. 13. 97 Ibid. Tamar Meshel 78 will be allowed under the no significant harm principle and the due diligence obligations of states in this regard.98 The substantive principles of equitable and reasonable utilization and no significant harm are crucial since, where such standards exist, “the contours of the procedural framework will likely be better defined and any process more goal-oriented”.99 However, their generality, i.e., the concept of ‘equity’ underlying the equitable and reasonable utilization principle and the ‘due diligence’ requirement underlying the no significant harm principle, requires them to “be made normatively operational” by means of procedural requirements.100 In other words, since “...agreement on substantive obligations, however desirable, cannot be pulled out of thin air but must be cultivated, procedural requirements play important facilitating and bridging roles”.101 Therefore, states’ implementation of these substantive principles should be viewed as interlinked with their observance of the procedural obligations of international water law. This link is crucial for implementing the equitable and reasonable utilization principle and for facilitating the no significant harm principle. The flexibility and non-specificity of the equitable and reasonable utilization principle as formulated in the UNWC makes its implementation dependent on a particular state’s judgment of what ‘equitable’ and ‘reasonable’ use entails, which it may be unable to exercise in an objective way without cooperating with other co-riparian states through information exchange and consultation.102 Therefore: Procedural requirements should be regarded as essential to the equitable sharing of water resources. They have particular importance because of the breadth and flexibility of the formulae for equitable use and appropriation. In the absence of hard and precise rules for allocation, there is a relatively greater need for specifying requirements for advance notice, consultation, and decision procedures. Such requirements are, in fact, commonly found in agreements by neighbouring States concerning common lakes and rivers.103 98 The obligation to conduct an environmental impact assessment has also been said to exist as a separate legal obligation from due diligence, Costa Rica v. Nicaragua, supra note 30, Separate Opinion of Judge Dugard, para. 11. 99 Brunnée & Toope, supra note 15, 57-58. 100 McIntyre, supra note 21, 245-246. 101 Brunnée, supra note 11, 34. 102 Leb, supra note 10, 151-152. 103 O. Schachter, Sharing the World’s Resources (1977), 69, cited in McCaffrey, supra note 23, 465. The Dual Role of Procedure in International Water Law 79 While the no significant harm principle can be implemented by states unilaterally, cooperation achieved through compliance with procedural obligations can nonetheless facilitate states’ ability to avoid significant transboundary harm through the obligation to notify potentially affected states of planned measures that may have significant adverse impact, and to consult or negotiate concerning such measures. Under the UNWC, this obligation is triggered not where the state planning the measure believes it may result in significant harm to other riparian states but rather when the planning state has reason to believe that the measure may have a “significant adverse effect” upon other states. This lower threshold is designed to advance the goal of prevention of harm by requiring notification even before there is an indication that legally significant harm may result.104 The ICJ has also recognised the impact of procedure on the achievement of the substantive requirements of international water law, namely the achievement of an equitable balancing of states’ interests and their due diligence duty to prevent significant transboundary environmental harm.105 In the Pulp Mills case the Court stated that the parties’ obligation to inform the joint body responsible for management of their shared river “allows for the initiation of cooperation between the Parties which is necessary in order to fulfil the obligation of prevention”,106 and that utilizations which might affect water quality and/or the regime of a watercourse “could not be considered to be equitable and reasonable if the interests of the other riparian State in the shared resource and the environmental protection of the latter were not taken into account”.107 Accordingly, consultation and information exchange also form part of the implementation process of the equitable and reasonable utilization and no significant harm principles. Ultimately, the Court found that states must comply with these procedural obligations both independently and as part of their compliance with the substantive duties of international water law.108 The procedural obligations of international water law are therefore designed to facilitate observance of its substantive principles, as well as establish independent 104 McCaffrey, supra note 23, 473. 105 Pulp Mills, supra note 21, paras. 75-77. The Court reiterated this position in Costa Rica v. Nicaragua, Judgment, supra note 30, paras. 104, 106; McIntyre, supra note 21, 241, 244. 106 Pulp Mills, supra note 21, para. 102. 107 Ibid., para. 177. 108 McIntyre, supra note 21, 249. Tamar Meshel 80 obligations in and of themselves.109 The ICJ’s treatment of these procedural and substantive obligations also suggests that: States must ensure compliance with procedural obligations per se even where no actual harm occurs but, where harm does occur, breach of procedural rules will constitute a key element in establishing a failure to meet the due diligence standards required under the customary duty to prevent significant transboundary harm.110 Eliciting cooperation between states in the management of shared fresh water resources The second role of the procedural principles of international water law is to elicit cooperation between states in the management of shared fresh water resources. This section will discuss states’ duty of cooperation under general international law; how the procedural principles of international water law interact with this duty; and how this interaction has facilitated the cooperative management of shared fresh water resources as reflected in treaty practice and in the prevention of water-related disputes. Interstate cooperation has been defined as: [t]he process by which states take coordination to a level where they work together to achieve a common purpose that produces mutual benefits that would not be available to them with unilateral action alone.111 “International law evolved, and continues to evolve, around the elastic concept of cooperation”,112 and in the past century a ‘paradigm shift’ in international law has been observed from a ‘law of co-existence’ to a ‘law of cooperation’,113 evidenced by an increasing imposition of obligations to cooperate on states.114 B. 109 Leb, supra note 10, 109; McIntyre, ibid., 240. 110 McIntyre, ibid., 249. 111 C. Leb, One step at a time: international law and the duty to cooperate in the management of shared water resources, 40(1) Water International (2014), 21, 22. 112 Wouters, supra note 5, 63. 113 W. G. Friedmann, The Changing Structure of International Law (1964), cited in E. Franckx & M. Benatar, The ‘Duty’ to Co-Operate for States Bordering Enclosed or Semi-Enclosed Seas, in Y-J Ma (ed.), Chinese (Taiwan) Yearbook of International Law and Affairs (2013), 67. 114 Franckx & Benatar, ibid. The Dual Role of Procedure in International Water Law 81 The law of co-existence was composed of rules of abstention aimed at identifying limits to state sovereignty, and was linked to the obligation to omit interference in the sphere of sovereignty of others. The law of cooperation, on the other hand, is composed of positive obligations of assistance reflected, inter alia, in the establishment of the League of Nations and its successor the United Nations.115 Indeed, one objective of the United Nations Charter is to “achieve international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character…”.116 Furthermore, Articles 2, 55, and 56 of the Charter are commonly considered to be the primary treaty source from which the general principles of cooperation can be derived, and have solidified it as a customary principle of international law.117 Article 56 imposes on Member States two sets of obligations in relation to the principle: to cooperate with each other for the achievement of the purposes of international cooperation, and to cooperate with the United Nations itself for the attainment of these purposes.118 Many post-Charter instruments also reflect states’ general duty to cooperate,119 further contributing to its development. Cooperation among states has therefore constituted the lynchpin of international law since its inception as well as the foundation for the resolution of interstate disputes,120 and states’ general duty to cooperate with one another has become “one of the most significant norms of contemporary international law, and also one of the fundamental rules of peaceful coexistence”.121 A large body of norms of cooperation has also developed in the context of international environmental law as a result of “the common interest of states in the protection of the natural environment and the realization that a number of related issues can be resolved only at the universal level”.122 115 Leb, supra note 10, 33. 116 UN Charter, Article 1(3). 117 Leb, supra note 10, 34. 118 The UN Special Committee on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States, Official Records of the General Assembly, Twenty-First Session, Annexes, agenda item 87, document A/6230, para. 435. 119 E.g. the Charter of the Organization of American States, the Charter of the Organization of African Unity, the Declaration of Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States, and the 1974 Declaration on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order. 120 Wouters, supra note 5, 17. 121 Official Records of the General Assembly, supra note 118, para. 420. 122 Leb, supra note 10, 34. Tamar Meshel 82 This body of norms is reflected in many international instruments123 and has been reinforced by international judicial and arbitral decisions such as the Trail Smelter arbitration, the North Sea Continental Shelf ICJ cases, the Fisheries Jurisdiction ICJ case, and the Mox Plant (Provisional Measures) IT- LOS case.124 In the context of rights over shared or common resources, the 1974 Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States provided that “[i]n the exploitation of natural resources shared by two or more countries, each State must co-operate on the basis of a system of information and prior consultations in order to achieve optimum use of such resources without causing damage to the legitimate interest of others”.125 In the specific context of managing shared fresh water resources, moreover, cooperation among states has also become “progressively more formalized” as a result of hydrologic interdependence, culminating in a “general duty to cooperate”126 universally recognized as one of the “cornerstone principles of international water law”127 that has even been viewed by some as an obligation erga omnes imposable on all states.128 The evolution of this duty to cooperate in international water law began with the 1911 Madrid Declaration,129 which recommended the establishment of permanent joint commissions for the purpose of interstate cooperation on transboundary water issues. The 1961 Salzburg Resolution on the Utilization of Non-Maritime International Waters130 and the 1966 Helsinki Rules set out further norms of cooperation among basin states, including procedural rules for notification, consultation, and negotiation for states that want to utilise shared waters in a manner that seriously affects the pos- 123 E.g. the Stockholm Declaration, Principle 24; the Rio Declaration, Principle 27; UNCLOS, Articles. 123 and 197; 1992 Biodiversity Convention, Article 5, Philippe Sands et al, Principles of International Environmental Law, 3rd (ed.), (2012), 203-204. 124 Kaya, supra note 76, 125; Sands et al, ibid., 204-205. 125 Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States, GA Res 3281 (XXIX), UN GAOR, 29th Sess, Supp No 30, UN Doc. A/9030 (1974), 50, Article 3. 126 Leb, supra note 10, 42, 68-69. 127 C. Leb, The UN Watercourses Convention: the éminence grise behind cooperation on transboundary water resources [The UN], 38(2) Water International (2013), 146-147. 128 P. Wouters & D. Tarlock, The Third Wavy of Normativity in Global Water Law, 23 Water law (2013), 51. 129 Declaration of Madrid, 20 April 1911, available at 5/W9549E/w9549e08.htm#bm08.1.2 (last visisted 6 December 2018). 130 Resolution on the Use of International Non-Maritime Waters, Salzburg, 11 September 1961, available at htm (last visisted 6 December 2018). The Dual Role of Procedure in International Water Law 83 sibility of use by other states.131 A general duty to cooperate was first introduced in the 1972 International Law Association Supplementary Rules Applicable to Flood Control, stipulating that: [b]asin States shall cooperate in measures of flood control in a spirit of good neighbourliness, having due regard to their interests and well-being as co-basin States.132 Such a general duty was then recognized with respect to pollution of rivers and lakes in the 1979 Athens Resolution. This resolution identified specific measures for the implementation of this general duty, including regular exchange of data, coordination of research and monitoring programs, and provision of technical and financial aid to developing countries.133 Similarly, the 1982 Montreal Rules on Water Pollution in an International Drainage Basin further confirmed the existence of a general duty to cooperate with regard to pollution of transboundary fresh water. Article 4 of the Montreal Rules provided that “[i]n order to give full effect to the provisions of these Articles, States shall cooperate with the other States concerned”. In the commentary to this article, the ILA justified the inclusion of this general duty to cooperate by arguing that it was considered “generally accepted as a fundamental principle”.134 The 1992 UNECE, the 1997 UNWC, and the 2004 Berlin Rules also include a general duty to cooperate that applies to all aspects of the management of fresh waters and these instruments thus solidify its status as a guiding norm of international water law.135 Furthermore, arbitral and judicial decisions such as those in the Lake Lanoux,136 Gabčikovo-Nagimaros,137 and Pulp Mills138 disputes have also confirmed the existence of an obligation to cooperate in the transboundary fresh water context. State practice similarly indicates an overall increase in the inclusion of obligations to cooperate in international water treaties from 1900-2010.139 This trend has been viewed 131 Leb, supra note 10, 75-76; Leb, The UN, supra note 127, 148-149. 132 1972 International Law Association Supplementary Rules Applicable to Flood Control, Article 2; Leb, The UN, supra note 127, 149. 133 Leb, supra note 10, 76. 134 International Law Association, Report of the Sixtieth Conference, Montreal 1982 (London: ILA, 1982), 535–548, cited in Leb, ibid., 77. 135 UNECE, supra note 18, Article 9; UNWC, supra note 13,Article 8; Berlin Rules, supra note 94, Article 11; Leb, The UN, supra note 127, 146-147, 149. 136 Lake Lanoux (France v. Spain), Final Award, (1974) Y.B. Int’l L. Comm’n, vol. 2. 137 Case Concerning the Gabčikovo-Nagymaros Project, supra note 75. 138 Pulp Mills, supra note 21. 139 Leb, The UN, supra note 127, 146-147. Tamar Meshel 84 as evidence that states increasingly regard cooperation on shared water resources as a general duty.140 The evolution of the International Law Commission’s work on the Draft Articles Concerning the Law of Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (Draft Articles),141 which formed the basis for the UNWC, particularly illustrates the progressive recognition of cooperation as a general principle of international water law.142 In 1981, the second Special Rapporteur working on this topic, Stephen Schwebel, proposed the concept of ‘equitable participation’ to reflect that: [c]onditions and expectations have tended to move the international community to a position of affirmative promotion of cooperation and collaboration with respect to shared water resources.143 According to this view, as a corollary to the duty to participate, basin states have a right to the cooperation of other states sharing a transboundary water system.144 In contrast to the 1966 Helsinki Rules, which included no particular procedural provisions, Schwebel thus introduced procedural components of cooperation by stipulating a duty to participate. Jens Evensen, the following Special Rapporteur, was the first to include an article explicitly defining the general principle of cooperation in this context.145 He introduced a new Chapter on ‘Cooperation and Management in Regard to International Watercourse Systems’, which stipulated specific cooperation obligations and rights, including consultation, negotiation and prior notification of planned measures, and provided two reasons for this. First, he argued that it follows from the nature of watercourses as “indivisible units” that cooperation among states is essential for effect- 140 Ibid., 146, 148. 141 1994 Draft Articles on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses and Commentaries thereto and Resolution on Transboundary Confined Groundwater, available at ies_on_Draft_UNWC.pdf (last visited 6 December 2018). 142 Leb, supra note 10, 77-78. 143 International Law Commission, “Third Report on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses, by S. M. Schwebel, Special Rapporteur” (1982) II(1) YBILC 85, para. 85, cited in Leb, ibid., 78. 144 Leb, ibid. 145 Article 10, General Principles of Cooperation and Management, International Law Commission, “Second Report on the Law of Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses, J. Evensen, Special Rapporteur” (1982) II(1) YBILC 113, para. 64, cited in Leb, ibid. The Dual Role of Procedure in International Water Law 85 ive management and optimal utilisation, as well as for reasonable and equitable sharing in this utilization. Second, this inclusion would echo the conclusions of the 1977 United Nations Mar del Plata Conference on Water and the 1981 Interregional Meeting of International River Organizations of Dakar, both of which stressed the importance of state cooperation in this context.146 This political commitment to cooperation on shared fresh water was further reaffirmed in 1992 with the adoption of Agenda 21 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, in which states committed to the implementation of integrated approaches and protection of the quality and supply of the world’s fresh water resources through both national and international cooperation.147 The Draft Articles therefore reflected the increasing acceptance of cooperation not only as a “necessary political paradigm” but also as a “principle of international water law”.148 Nonetheless, a debate persists on whether the general duty to cooperate “is a principle of international law that gives rise to more specific obligations but is not in itself an independent obligation or whether it represents an autonomous legal obligation and, if so, of what nature”.149 It seems reasonable to conclude in this regard that this principle constitutes both an autonomous obligation and one that gives rise to more specific obligations, and that “cooperation duties can be used to facilitate observance of other rights as well as the creation of new rights; however, they also comprise a substantive obligation in and of itself”.150 In any event, for present purposes suffice it to say that the legal nature of the general duty to cooperate “[r]esides somewhere in the grey zone between definitions of the concepts of ‘specific obligation’ and ‘legal principle’; it is neither one nor the other but rather includes elements of both. The general duty to cooperate is a general obligation with a legal nature of its own: it has all of the attributes of a legal principle and yet is an obligation of general nature.”151 146 International Law Commission, “First Report on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses, by. J. Evensen, Special Rapporteur” (1983) II(1) YBILC 173f., paras. 103–106, cited in Leb, ibid. 147 Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, 12 August 1992, UN Doc. A/CONF.151/26/REV.1, cited in Leb, ibid, 78-79. 148 Leb, ibid. 79. 149 Ibid., 80. 150 Ibid., 109. 151 Ibid., 81. Tamar Meshel 86 This “general obligation” to cooperate in the use of shared fresh water resources is most notably set out in Article 8(1) of the UNWC:152 General obligation to cooperate 1. Watercourse States shall cooperate on the basis of sovereign equality, territorial integrity, mutual benefit and good faith in order to attain optimal utilization and adequate protection of an international watercourse... This general duty to cooperate has been viewed as “a bridge between substantive and procedural rules” since specific cooperation obligations include both substantive and procedural content.153 Several procedural obligations under international water law, discussed in section I above, also aim to facilitate and enhance cooperation among states sharing freshwater resources. One such obligation, for instance, is for states to exchange and share information. This obligation is said to serve several purposes: [t]o inform about the general status of a water system; to improve development and management planning capacity; and to prevent harm by notifying other States of imminent danger or of planned activities that might negatively impact the water system or another State’s territory. Specific procedural obligations concerning information include “regular exchange of data and information, notification of natural emergencies and those caused by human activity, and notification of planned measures”.154 The detailed procedural requirements linked to states’ obligation to cooperate with respect to shared fresh water resources can no doubt lead to successful management of such resources and to the avoidance of disputes since they function to “formalize and to give specific meaning to the general duty to cooperate”155 in order to attain “optimal utilization and adequate protection of the watercourse”.156 Where cooperation on fresh water is achieved it is said to produce four types of benefits: ecological benefits to a river if riparian states join together to maintain a healthy aquatic environ- 152 A similar provision was also included in the 2008 International Law Commission Draft Articles on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers, Article 7(1), GA Rep A/63/10; and the Berlin Rules, supra note 94, Article 11; as well as in regional water agreements such as the Nile Cooperative Framework Agreement, Article 3. 153 Leb, supra note 10, 110. 154 Ibid., 114. 155 McIntyre, supra note 21, 243-244. 156 Ibid., 245. The Dual Role of Procedure in International Water Law 87 ment in the river basin; increase economic benefits that can be reaped from the river; the reduction of costs that arise because of the river, such as political conflict; and benefits beyond the river that occur as a follow-on effect of cooperation in the transboundary water system.157 Such benefits, moreover, may reduce the likelihood, frequency, and intensity of water-related disputes since through the “procedural law of cooperation” “[c]onflict can better be avoided by talking and sharing information”.158 Despite the potential for such benefits, however, states do not always interact cooperatively with one another on shared fresh water issues and state relations are more frequently in a state of “cooperative coexistence” than in a state of cooperation, as sovereignty remains a primordial concept.159 This is partially because states’ decision to cooperate, on any matter, is driven by a variety of considerations including historical, political, economic, and social factors.160 In the case of the Nile River, for instance, each riparian’s political interest in the shared resource differs greatly and therefore “national water plans tend to be designed in isolation, and there is significant political distrust and a lack of information”.161 On the other hand, in the Mekong River Basin there has been cooperation on the establishment of coordination mechanisms as a result of basin development studies carried out in the early 1950s by both the United States Bureau of Reclamation and the UN Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East.162 Hydrological considerations also play a role in states’ decision to cooperate on transboundary fresh water issues. These include, for instance, the “multitude of possible water uses, the complexity of interrelationships among these uses, as well as among uses and their transboundary and/or environmental impact, and the inevitable interdependence established by shared hydrologic systems”.163 Despite this multitude of considerations and the fact that states do not always succeed, or even attempt, to cooperate in the management of shared fresh water resources, the procedural principles of international wa- 157 Leb, supra note 10, 25-26. 158 R. Higgins, Problems and Process: International Law and How We Use It (1994), 136, cited in McIntyre, supra note 21, 243 (emphasis in original). 159 Leb, supra note 10, 35. 160 Ibid., 19. 161 C. Spiegel, International Water Law: The Contribution of Western United States Water Law to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigable Uses of International Watercourses, 15 Duke Journal of Comparative & International Law (2005), 333, 356. 162 Leb, supra note 10, 23-24. 163 Ibid., 195. Tamar Meshel 88 ter law still provide a useful framework for the facilitation of such cooperation and, where observed, make interstate cooperation both more likely to occur and more likely to yield benefits for the states involved. Conclusion The procedural principles of international water law have gained considerable international traction in relation to shared fresh water resources through international conventions and instruments, decisions of international courts and tribunals, bilateral water agreements.164 The cooperative practices they facilitate serve important trust-building and conflict-prevention functions.165 Moreover, understanding the dual role of international water law’s procedural obligations, namely to facilitate the implementation of their related substantive obligations and the cooperative management of shared water resources, is vital for the effective joint management of such resources as well as for the protection of the environment. As has been noted in the more general context of international environmental law: [p]rocedure can promote the protection of community interests in concrete ways [… such as] when substantive requirements lack specificity or when states are reluctant to invoke them [… and] procedural elements play crucial roles when participants hold divergent positions, work towards shared understandings of community interests and collective action, or work to develop, apply, or revise, substantive requirements. But the procedural aspects of international environmental law also are important in their own right. In all of its guises, procedure serves to enable, guide and at times even compel interaction between states and other international actors, including non-state actors.166 The same applies to the procedural obligations of international water law. These obligations may be somewhat easier for states to comply with since they are often perceived as less intrusive to traditional conceptions of state sovereignty than the substantive principles of international water law. They IV. 164 M. J. Gander, International water law and supporting water management principles in the development of a model transboundary agreement between riparians in international river basins, 39(3) Water International (2014), 315; McCaffrey, supra note 23, 464-480; McIntyre, supra note 21, 239-265. 165 Brunnée & Toope, supra note 5, 57. 166 Brunnée, supra note 11, 7. The Dual Role of Procedure in International Water Law 89 are devoid of the values inherent in the latter, such as environmental priorities and distributive equity, but at the same time they can impact more directly and immediately sovereign discretion since they embody obligations that are unambiguous and unconditional.167 Ultimately, “the sophistication of [the procedural rules of International water law] can be measured in terms of their internal coherence and comprehensiveness, as well as their functional integration with the key substantive rules of [international water law]”, which together “operate to provide value direction and balance to the environmental, social and economic objectives” of states.168 167 McIntyre, supra note 21, 241. 168 Ibid., 263. Tamar Meshel 90 Brief Remarks on the Effect of Judgments on International Law Prof. Yves Daudet* Strictly speaking and also commonly well-understood, the function of the International Court of Justice is to “decide such disputes as are submitted to it” and to give decisions that, according to Article 59 of its Statute, are binding only upon the parties to the dispute. On several occasions, the Court has recalled that its role must be strictly limited to this purpose and, in this respect, it has declined to exercise any law-making power. For example, in the Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, the Court said that: […] it states the existing law and does not legislate. This is so even if, in stating and applying the law, the Court necessarily has to specify its scope and sometimes note its general trend.1 In the case Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Uganda), the Court stated that its: […] task must be to respond, on the basis of international law, to the particular legal dispute brought before it. As it interprets and applies the law, it will be mindful of context, but its task cannot go beyond that.2 If one takes into account the requirement to decide “in accordance with international law”, it is clear that there is a concern to actually identify and define the rule of international law applicable within a system that has long been marked by uncertainty and occasionally by a vacuum, with the aim of presenting a coherent system allowing the establishment of an international society under the rule of law. In this respect, I think that out of * President of the Curatorium of The Hague Academy of International Law. 1 Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, Advisory Opinion, ICJ Reports 1996, 237. 2 Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Uganda), Judgment, ICJ Reports 2005, 190. 91 necessity, one could expect that the Court may crucially contribute to fill this vacuum. One must also take into account that a Permanent International Court of Justice existed for over 90 years, thus a significant number of judgments has been delivered dealing with numerous questions of international law. However, in addition, a vast collection of conventions and regulations has been adopted which has played a vital role in removing the question of vacuum as it was once known. Thus, the question on whether the judge has to fulfil the role of filling the gaps in international law might be far less crucial in the present day. Regarding the ways in which a judge may intervene, without explicitly considering whether or not he is a law maker at the end of the day, it must be stressed that the judge is an authority acting “under constraint”, being subject to requirements of consistency, continuity and legal security so as to guarantee the confidence of States. The rules of precedent and stare decisis do not apply since these have not been transposed into international law. The Court guarantees its continuity in a way which gives States the benefit of what one might call a “principle of foreseeability”. This is understood as foreseeability not with respect to the solution that will be given, but with respect to the content and application of the law and therefore a foreseeability of jurisprudence. The requirement that jurisprudence should be foreseeable is particularly important in this often-uncertain branch of the law, and is particularly necessary in maintaining the confidence of States. For this purpose, the Court has used wording such as, among many others, those in Land and Maritime Boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria: The real question is whether, in this case, there is cause not to follow the reasoning and conclusions of earlier cases.3 Or, in the Aegean Sea Continental Shelf case of 1978, where it held that: Although under Article 59 of the Statute the decision of the Court has no binding force except between the parties and in respect of that particular case, it is evident that any pronouncement of the Court as to the status of the 1928 Act, whether it were found to be a convention in force or to be no longer in force, may have implications in the relations between States other than Greece and Turkey.4 3 Land and Maritime Boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria (Cameroon v. Nigeria: Equatorial Guinea intervening), Judgment, ICJ Reports 1998, 292. 4 Aegean Sea Continental Shelf (Greece v. Turkey), Judgment, ICJ Reports 1978, 17. Prof. Yves Daudet 92 In the 2004 Avena case, the Court was even more clear and forceful, where it went so far as to hold that: […] the fact that in this case the Court's ruling has concerned only Mexican nationals cannot be taken to imply that the conclusions reached by it in the present Judgment do not apply to other foreign nationals finding themselves in similar situations in the United States.5 Through this continuity, which not only references what has been previously judged, but also projects into a possible future, the Court is, to some extent, constructing the law. Nevertheless, the Court again acts under the constraint that it can only do so through, and in respect of, cases submitted to it, which it cannot control, and within the limits of the dispute that has been submitted. Even if the Court considers, as it did in the recent case of Obligation to Negotiate an Access to the Pacific Ocean, that: It is for the Court to determine on an objective basis the subject-matter of the dispute, […] while giving particular attention to the formulation of the dispute chosen by the applicant.6 And while it is true that the Court can always raise legal issues proprio motu, nevertheless, the exercise of this jurisdiction does have limits. These were recalled by Judge Rosalyn Higgins in her opinion in the Land and Maritime Boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria case: Although the Court always may raise points of law proprio motu, it is in principle for a respondent State to decide what points of jurisdiction and inadmissibility it wishes to advance. If a State is willing to accept the Court's jurisdiction in regard to a matter, it is generally not for the Court – its entitlement to raise point’s proprio motu notwithstanding – to raise further jurisdictional objections.7 One has also to consider the principle of judicial economy. In this respect, in the Jurisdictional Immunities of the State (Germany v. Italy) 2012 judgement, the Court said that: 5 Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America), Judgment, ICJ Reports 2004 (I), 70. 6 Obligation to Negotiate Access to the Pacific Ocean (Bolivia v. Chile), Preliminary Objections, ICJ Reports 2.15 (II), 602. 7 Land and Maritime Boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria (Cameroon v. Nigeria: Equatorial Guinea intervening), supra note 3, 347. Nevertheless, it must be stressed that Judge Higgins “thinks that an exception to this principle exists where the matter relates to the requirements of Article 38 of the Statute.” (ibid.). Brief Remarks on the Effect of Judgments on International Law 93 It is, therefore, unnecessary for the Court to consider a number of questions which were discussed at some length by the Parties. […] That is not to say, of course, that these are unimportant questions, only that they are not ones which fall for decision within the limits of the present case.8 Similarly, in the Gabcikovo case it was stated that: The Court does not find it necessary for the purposes of the present case to enter into a discussion of whether or not Article 34 of the 1978 Convention on succession of States in respect of Treaties reflects the state of customary international law.9 Within those limits, the room for manoeuvre may nevertheless be broad, but the resulting responsibility is very heavy for a Court that gives its judgments in the last resort. Some decisions are good illustrations of this responsibility exercised by the Court in a measured and balanced way so that the law has evolved in order to take into account the way in which the world itself has evolved, without sacrificing foreseeability. One example is the Case concerning Navigational and Related Rights (Costa-Rica v. Nicaragua) in 2009, where the Court found with respect to the meaning of the word “commerce” that: […] where the parties have used generic terms in a treaty, the parties necessarily having been aware that the meaning of the terms was likely to evolve over time, and where the treaty has been entered into for a very long period or is “of continuing duration”, the parties must be presumed, as a general rule, to have intended those terms to have an evolving meaning.10 In doing so, the Court took a position that was not unprecedented. Another example of the Court evolving the law without sacrificing foreseeability is the decision in the Pulp Mills case (Argentina v. Uruguay 2010): The Court considers that the attainment of optimum and rational utilization requires a balance between the Parties’ rights and needs to use the river for economic and commercial activities on the one hand, and 8 Jurisdictional Immunities of the State (Germany v. Italy, Greece intervening), Judgment, ICJ Reports 2012, 145. 9 Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros Project (Hungary/Slovakia), Judgment, ICJ Reports 1997, 71. 10 Dispute regarding Navigational and Related Rights (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua), Judgment, ICJ Reports 2009, 243. Prof. Yves Daudet 94 the obligation to protect it from any damage to the environment that may be caused by such activities, on the other.11 One may decide for oneself how to view this, believing either that the Court is seeking a compromise in the wording as it often does for obvious reasons (that it cannot officially recognize), or that, in this way, it is facilitating “a gentle evolution” of international law, or both, as appropriate. Finally, one could consider that there perhaps still remains a kind of ambiguity between the limits arising out of the fact that the res judicata effect is limited to the parties in contentious matters and the indisputable function of the Court as a “law developer” if not a “law maker”. Nevertheless, Christian Tams is probably right in saying that this distinction is “too clearcut”, when he ponders, quoting Alvarez “where the development of laws ends and when the creation begins”. Both of them give evidence of an “external effect” of the Judgments of the Court, added to the “internal effect” (adhering to Hélène Ruiz Fabri’s wording for this seminar) which lie in the settlement of the dispute itself that is the major purpose of the Judgement. Of course, this external effect is perfectly clear not only when the Court delivers obiter dicta, which does not happen very often, but also in cases where the Judgments can be regarded as cornerstones of International law because of the huge number of important questions that are raised. Of course the Military and Para-Military Activities judgements in 1984 and 1986 or the Advisory Opinion on the Expenses or Reservations to the Genocide convention, as well as many others, comprise these cornerstones. In contrast, there is obviously much more freedom and much less constraint in the doctrine. Even the most restrained and cautious professors are always tempted to construct a system and to seek overall consistency. Professors are allowed to reflect upon lex ferenda and to discourse upon what the law should or could be; they can anticipate evolutions and, occasionally, contribute to them; for example, by acting as consultants, the only condition being, of course, that a clear distinction must always be made between this and lex lata. In other words, they must not take their desires for realities, and should make their standpoint clear. Their fields of investigation are without limits other than those that are dictated by reason. Is it correct to say that, by means of the opinions or declarations that they may append to a Judgment, Judges acting individually (and thus, to a greater or lesser extent, marking their distance from the majority of the Court), are fulfilling a function that is closer to the doctrinal function? 11 Pulp Mills Case (Argentina v. Uruguay), Judgment, ICJ Reports 2010, 74. Brief Remarks on the Effect of Judgments on International Law 95 Some opinions are of considerable value. They can sometimes cast doubt upon a judgment. We have all had the experience of being convinced by a judgment and then being made unsure and, in the end, being convinced by a contrary opinion. Speaking only of those who are no longer with us, and of distant times, mention might be made of the opinions of Anzilotti and the general and almost theoretical views that they propounded with regard to the problems that were submitted to the Permanent Court. Those opinions are certainly much more than simple doctrinal opinions, not only because of their relevance, but also because of their legal effects under certain conditions. In that respect, certain opinions have taken on a significance which goes well beyond what was accepted when the system was put in place. We all remember the declaration of Sir Percy Spender following the judgment that was given by his regrettable casting vote in 1966: It is only through their relationship to the judgment that a judicial character is imparted to individual opinions.12 In this regard, I personally do not subscribe to the idea put forward by Judge ad hoc Serge Sur who, in his individual opinion in the order of 2009, Questions Related to the Obligation to Prosecute or Extradite,13 considered that an ad hoc Judge, who is a Judge for the occasion, “may even be freer in the general opinions he expresses than a permanent judge, as he is less constrained by the settled jurisprudence and freer to explore alternative paths”14. In other words, the Judges – and ad hoc Judges – are invited to remain Judges and to resist the temptation to convey messages which they were at liberty to do when, for some of them, they were professors in front of their students! If they cross these boundaries, their opinion is no longer something that is attached to a Court decision, but in the end, becomes nothing more than a doctrinal opinion. To conclude, convergent and divergent characteristics cross and crisscross in a pattern that naturally leads to complementarity between judicial decisions and the teaching of publicists in order to promote the development of International Law and its external effects. Complementarities are to be found at several levels. I will just mention one, which looks particularly emblematic. It relates to the establishment of 12 South West Africa (Liberia v. South Africa), Judgment, ICJ Reports 1966,, 57, 32. 13 Questions Relating to the Obligation to Prosecute or Extradite (Belgium v. Senegal), Order, ICJ Reports 2009, 139. 14 Ibid., Separate Opinion of ad hoc Judge Sur, 204. Prof. Yves Daudet 96 legal rules. As professors, we have all been faced with questions from our students along the lines of: “Is it a rule of international law?”, “Is it an international custom?”, “Is jus cogens really the only Rolls Royce in the garage?”, etc. In a number of cases, the answers have been marked by a great deal of caution, hesitation and uncertainty. On the other hand, it is clear that the Court’s jurisprudence gives firm directions and guidance. The Court states the existence of a custom, without going into further unnecessary detail as to the components of the custom, and the discussion can then take place on a sound footing. The question of jus cogens leads to conclusions along the same lines. It has given rise to impassioned theoretical debate, and the concept has been used by several judicial or para-judicial bodies, but I believe that its existence was not really established until the Court formally referred to it, using the term expressly, even with cautions in the Congo v. Rwanda case15 (2006) and the Genocide case16 (2007), and this has radically changed the way in which it is presented in the teaching of international law. 15 Case Concerning Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (New Application 2002) (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Rwanda), Judgment, ICJ Reports 2006, 6. 16 Case Concerning Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro), Judgment, ICJ Reports 2007, 43. Brief Remarks on the Effect of Judgments on International Law 97 Advisory Opinions: An Alternative Means to Avoid the Development of Legal Conflicts? Rüdiger Wolfrum* Introduction The objective of this brief presentation is to establish whether and under which conditions advisory opinions may play a positive role in avoiding disputes between States. According to a dictum of the International Court of Justice, advisory opinions are not a means “to settle” – at least not directly – disputes between States, but to offer legal advice to the organs or institutions requesting the opinion.1 Every legal dispute contains two elements which the parties to that dispute may discuss controversially. First, in most cases parties disagree about the relevant facts. It is true that often more time and effort is spent on the identification of the relevant facts and their interpretation than on the relevant legal issues. Second, parties disagree on which legal rules are relevant and how to interpret them. It is the hypothesis of this presentation that separating these two elements by means of an advisory opinion, which only deals with the second element of applicability of the relevant rules and their interpretation, may prevent the development of a contentious case. This hypothesis is encouraged by the fact that the international rules concerning the settlement of disputes provide for the possibility of an enquiry into the first element which means the establishment of facts. It is expected that after the factual situation has been established the parties will more easily reach an agreement.2 Some national legal procedures also provide for such a possibility. I. * Professor of International Law at the University of Heidelberg, former Judge of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. 1 Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, Advisory Opinion, ICJ Reports 1996, 226, para. 15. 2 Inquiries belong to the traditional means of settling international disputes. They were already provided in the Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes of 1899; for further details, see C. Tomuschat, Article 33, in B. Simma et al. (eds.), The Charter of the United Nations: A Commentary, vol. I, 3rd ed., (2012), para. 27. 99 Advisory opinions deal, as indicated above, with the other side of a legal controversy namely the relevant law and its interpretation and application. Therefore, the separation of facts and the relevant legal rules is not uncommon under the international rules on dispute settlement. It should also be taken into consideration that such a way of preventing the development of a contentious case may reflect more adequately the legal culture in several regions of the world. Several standing international courts have the competence to deliver advisory opinions. In that respect they follow the example of the Permanent Court of International Justice which, on the basis of Article 14 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, had such a competence and had developed this mechanism through its jurisprudence. The powers conferred on the International Court of Justice (Article 96 UN Charter; Article 65 ICJ Statute) are similar, and in rendering advisory opinions, the International Court of Justice frequently refers to the jurisprudence of the Permanent Court of International Justice.3 Protocol No. 2 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms confers power on the European Court of Human Rights to give advisory opinions. No such advisory opinion has been delivered so far; similarly, the American Convention on Human Rights confers a broad competence upon the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to give advisory opinions. Equally, the African Court of Human and People’s Rights may give an advisory opinion upon any legal matter relating to the Charter or any other relevant human rights instruments, provided that the subject matter of the opinion is not related to a matter being examined by the Commission. Finally, the Court of Justice of the European Union may be requested to render an advisory opinion on particular issues. The following presentation will not deal with such competences. It is sufficient to point out that – for different reasons – standing international courts have been empowered to render advisory opinions. In that respect the international scenery is different from national law. Only few national Supreme Courts or Constitutional Courts have the power to give advisory opinions. On the national level it is commonly felt that adjudication and advisory functions exclude each other. Certainly it would be problematic if a court would render an advisory opinion and then be called upon to adjudicate a case concerning the same issue. Such constellation has never happened so far on the international level. One should rest assured that the 3 See K. Oellers-Frahm, Article 96, in B. Simma et al. (eds.), The Charter of the United Nations: A Commentary, vol. II, 3rd ed., (2012), paras. 14-25. Rüdiger Wolfrum 100 court in question would be able to handle such a situation in a responsible manner and would not admit such a case. Advisory Opinions by the International Court of Justice According to Article 96 (1) of the UN Charter, the General Assembly and the Security Council may request an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice. This competence extends to legal questions of any kind and it is de facto not restricted in scope.4 On the basis of Article 96 (2) of the UN Charter, other organs of the United Nations and specialized agencies as authorized by the General Assembly may request an advisory opinion on legal questions having arisen within the scope of the activities of that organ or agency. When the Statute of the International Court of Justice was prepared, proposals were made also to authorize individual States to submit requests for advisory opinions. However, these proposals were not accepted.5 The main argument against the proposals was that such a possibility would discourage States from submitting cases to the International Court of Justice.6 In fact, Article 96 of the UN Charter should be considered in connection with the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice ratione personae, which only allows States to submit cases to the Court; advisory opinions are the way out for particular international organizations to engage the International Court of Justice on a controversial legal question. According to Article 65 (1) of the ICJ Statute, the International Court of Justice has discretionary powers as to whether or not to render an advisory opinion. The Court has underlined this character of its obligation although it has never declined to render an advisory opinion for this reason but has emphasized that there must be “compelling reasons” to deny such a request.7 II. 4 Ibid. 5 The International Court of Justice has had the authority to review judgments of the ILO Administrative Tribunal as well as the UN Administrative Tribunal by way of an advisory opinion. The provisions on the review system were abolished as unsatisfactory by GA Res. 50/54 of 11 December 1995. Since this authority of the International Court of Justice is rather alien to the system of advisory opinions it will not be dealt with in this context. 6 Oellers-Frahm, supra note 3, para. 12. 7 E.g. Western Sahara, Advisory Opinion, ICJ Reports 1975, 12 at 21, para. 23; comprehensively on the ICJ jurisprudence so far, Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, Advisory Opinion, supra note 1, para. 14. Advisory Opinions 101 One of the major preconditions for a valid request of an advisory opinion must be that the question raised is of a legal and an abstract nature. The International Court of Justice does not consider it as harmful if the question raised has political implications or such a background as long as the question is couched in legal terms. The restricted role that the International Court of Justice may play in respect of advisory opinions has been criticized. In consequence of resolution 2723 of the General Assembly of 15 December 1970, some suggestions have been made by States concerning the role of the International Court of Justice.8 Some governments have put forward suggestions to strengthen the advisory authority of the International Court of Justice by entrusting it to render advisory opinions upon the initiative of regional organizations and individual States. It was also suggested that arbitral tribunals or international tribunals established under particular treaties might be enabled to consult with the International Court of Justice by these means and that national courts faced with a question of public international law should have the right (or even might be obliged) to use the advisory opinion procedure in order to obtain a ruling on a point of international law arising in a current case before them. This proposal was made to fence in any fragmentation which may have originated from the rulings of specialized international courts or national courts. It was further suggested so as to reduce the difficulties arising in cases where a request for an advisory opinion was related to a pending, or at least potentially pending, dispute by empowering the International Court of Justice to decline an advisory opinion unless the parties to the dispute agreed in advance to accept it as binding. Finally, the suggestion that has regularly been put forward was that the Secretary-General of the United Nations should be authorized to request advisory opinions on his own responsibility.9 None of these are suggestions that were discussed in depth and there seems to be no possibility that any might be implemented. These elements briefly sketched out above were of relevance when the issue of advisory opinions was to be considered under the dispute settlement regime under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. 8 See United Nations General Assembly Report: Report of the Secretary-General: Review of the Role of the International Court of Justice, UN doc. A/8382, 15 September 1971, paras. 263-305. 9 H. Thirlway, Advisory Opinions, in R. Wolfrum (ed.), MPEPIL, (2012), 97, 105. Rüdiger Wolfrum 102 Advisory Opinions in the Context of the Dispute Settlement Regime under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea According to Article 191 of the Convention, the Seabed Disputes Chamber10 shall give advisory opinions at the request of the Assembly of the International Seabed Authority or the Council of the International Seabed Authority on legal questions arising within the scope of their activities. It is evident that this provision is very much tailored along the lines of Article 96 of the UN Charter; however, there are several differences to be noted. According to the terminology of Article 191 of the Convention, the Seabed Disputes Chamber is under an obligation to render the advisory opinion requested. Nevertheless, in the first and only Advisory Opinion of the Seabed Disputes Chamber, it was considered whether the Chamber had discretionary powers to deny such a request.11 The competences of the Assembly and the Council of the International Seabed Authority to request an advisory opinion are not unlimited. The advisory opinions requested shall deal with legal questions only, and only those which fall within the scope of the activities of the organ requesting the advisory opinion. From the wording of the relevant provisions it is evident that advisory opinions decided by the Seabed Disputes Chamber serve the same purpose as those which may be requested by organs of the United Nations or specialized agencies. They are meant to solve disputes between organs but, more prominently, they are meant to guarantee that the organs concerned, in this case the Assembly and the Council of the International Seabed Authority, are carrying out their functions to act within the framework of the Convention and its supplementary rules. The purpose of such advisory opinions is upholding the rule of law. Apart from that, such advisory opinions can indirectly avoid international disputes between the International Seabed Authority and States as well as between the International Seabed Authority and entities engaged in deep seabed activities. ITLOS may also give an advisory opinion on a legal question on the basis of its Rules “if an international agreement related to the purposes of the Convention” specifically provides for its submission to ITLOS, and the re- III. 10 The Seabed Disputes Chamber is part of ITLOS composed of 11 of the judges of the latter elected by the full Tribunal. Judgments, Orders or Advisory Opinions of the Seabed Disputes Chamber are considered as those of the full Tribunal. 11 Responsibilities and obligations of States with respect to activities in the Area, Advisory Opinion, 1 February 2011, ITLOS Reports 2011, 10. Advisory Opinions 103 quest is transmitted to ITLOS by whichever body is authorized by, or in accordance with, the agreement to make the request to ITLOS.12 In its Advisory Opinion13 submitted by the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission, ITLOS has reconfirmed that its Plenary also has an advisory function, which is separate from the advisory competence of the Seabed Disputes Chamber of the Tribunal referred to above. ITLOS, referring to the competences bestowed upon it in Article 21 of its Statute, stated that the words “all matters specifically provided for in any other agreement which confers jurisdiction on the Tribunal” indicated that it had competences besides deciding on contentious cases. In clarifying this position, it emphasized that Article 21 and the agreement in question are interconnected and as such constitute the legal basis of the advisory function of the Tribunal.14 According to the broad wording of Article 21 of the ITLOS Statute and Article 138 of the ITLOS Rules, advisory jurisdiction of the Tribunal is not restricted to international organizations. Article 138 of the Rules is clear in this respect. A request for an advisory opinion before the Tribunal has to be transmitted to the Tribunal “by whatever body” is authorized pursuant to an international agreement related to the purposes of the Convention. On this basis, States could consider submitting a request for an advisory opinion to the Tribunal through an international “body” identified in the agreement. In practical terms, States faced with a particular issue may conclude an international agreement providing for recourse to advisory proceedings before the Tribunal, for instance, where negotiations fail to produce a positive result within a certain time-limit. In accordance with the international agreement, the designated “body” – for example a mixed commission constituted by the agreement – could subsequently decide to request an advisory opinion from the Tribunal on a specific legal question. One may consider whether theoretically the Meeting of States Parties to the Convention might also constitute a “body” authorized to request an advisory opinion if the necessary agreement has been established. The advisory opinion would be restricted to answering the specific legal question as stated in the request. It may be noted that the Tribunal would not be competent to answer a question which would not be drafted as a 12 Article 138 of the Rules of the Tribunal, International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS Rules). 13 Request for an Advisory Opinion submitted by the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission, Advisory Opinion, 2 April 2015, ITLOS Reports 2015, 4. 14 Ibid., para 58. Rüdiger Wolfrum 104 legal question (or which would address a situation that falls outside the competence of the requesting body). In addition, the Tribunal could not answer a question if the result would be to decide on the merits of a pending dispute. Indeed, as in the practice of the ICJ, it may happen that a legal question submitted to the Tribunal would address some aspects of a dispute or of a “legal question pending” between two or more States. However, the question should be drafted in such a way as to avoid having a direct bearing on the merits of a dispute between States. In accordance with Article 138, paragraph 3, the Tribunal, in dealing with a request for an advisory opinion, would apply mutatis mutandis the rules applicable to advisory proceedings before the Seabed Disputes Chamber. This means that whenever the request for an advisory opinion relates to a legal question pending between two or more parties, the provisions concerning ad hoc judges (Article 17 ITLOS Statute) would apply. Therefore, if the Tribunal confirms that this is the case, the “parties” concerned could designate a judge ad hoc. In advisory proceedings, States would be invited to submit written statements on the legal question within a certain time-limit and a hearing would be held if the Tribunal so decides. This element constitutes the most significant advantage of advisory proceedings. In an advisory opinion, the Tribunal could base its advice upon written observations of 22 States and 7 international organizations. This means that the impact which interested or affected States and international organizations may have upon the advice is by far more intensive than States may have on a contentious case. I should add that advisory proceedings are normally conducted more rapidly than contentious proceedings and that the Tribunal would be guided by any indication in the request regarding the urgent character of the question submitted to it. As previously indicated, advisory proceedings offer a potential alternative to contentious proceedings and could be an interesting option for those seeking a non-binding opinion on a legal question or an indication as to how a particular dispute may be solved through direct negotiations. To illustrate the useful role that the Tribunal could play in this respect, I would like to give two examples. As in the advisory opinion referred to already, parties to a fisheries organization may make use of the Tribunal’s advisory function if they wish to seek guidance as to how a particular situation should be seen from a legal point of view. Questions may concern the compliance of the conservation and management measures taken by a coastal State with the provisions of the Convention or the legality of its enforcement measures including the penalties imposable under national law or the rights and obligations of Advisory Opinions 105 States fishing in the exclusive economic zones of particular coastal States. States might also ask the Tribunal for legal guidance about contemporary issues such as illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, including trans-shipment, supply or refuelling of fishing vessels. Likewise, States Parties to a particular fisheries agreement such as the Straddling Fish Stocks Agreement may take advantage of the advisory proceedings before the Tribunal in the event of disagreement about the implementation of the agreement. The second example concerns delimitation matters. The parties to a delimitation dispute could ask the Tribunal to determine the principles and rules of international law applicable to the situation and undertake thereafter to establish the boundary on that basis. In particular they could inquire about how to treat low tide elevations and request guidance concerning the interpretation of Article 121 of the Convention; in particular what qualifies a high tide maritime feature as an island generating an EEZ and a continental shelf. A particular advantage of such an approach is that the Tribunal would be forced to decide the questions put to it in general, detached from a particular situation. This is more appropriate than dealing with such an issue in a contentious case between two States. Such a contentious case artificially polarizes the question although it is of interest to a wider community, maybe even the global community. The counterargument thereto, that a decision in a contentious case is only binding upon the parties concerned and therefore no wider community is affected, is not convincing. Certainly, judgments in contentious cases are only binding upon the parties concerned but this only means the dispositive. The reasoning in the judgment, in particular the interpretation of a particular norm, has further reaching consequences. Following judicial decisions will rely, and will have to rely, on previous jurisprudence to avoid fragmentation of international law. The sum of the existing jurisprudence is the corpus for subsequent decisions; although speaking of the “law-making powers of judges” does not cover this phenomenon adequately. To conclude, advisory proceedings before ITLOS may constitute a viable mechanism to prevent international disputes and thus may, used with caution, supplement the dispute settlement mechanisms established in the Convention. Rüdiger Wolfrum 106 The Use of Ex Curia Experts in International Litigation: Why the WTO Dispute Settlement Cannot Serve to Improve ICJ Practice Andrea Hamann* Introduction The practice of international courts and tribunals regarding the establishment of the facts has drawn increasing attention, in particular in complex cases requiring expert consultation.1 The spotlight focused on the Interna- I. * Professor of Public Law at the University of Strasbourg. 1 One of the first studies of the recourse to expertise in international adjudication is G. White, The Use of Experts by International Courts (1965). More recently, see J. G. Devaney, Fact-Finding before the International Court of Justice (2016); M. M. Mbengue, R. Das, The ICJ’s Engagement with Science: To Interpret or Not to Interpret?, 6 J. Int. Disp. Settlement (2015), 1, 568; J. D’ Aspremont, M. M. Mbengue, Strategies of Engagement with Scientific Fact-finding in International Adjudication, 5 J. Int. Disp. Settlement (2014), 1, 240; D. Peat, The Use of Court-Appointed Experts by the International Court of Justice, BYBIL (2014), 1, 271; C. E. Foster, New Clothes for the Emperor? Consultation of Experts by the International Court of Justice, 5 J. Int. Disp. Settlement (2014), 1, 139 [New Clothes]; C. E. Foster, Science and the Precautionary Principle in International Courts and Tribunals – Expert Evidence, Burden of Proof and Finality, Cambridge Studies in Int. and Comp. Law (2011); J. G. Sandoval et al., Adjudicating Conflicts Over Resources: The ICJ’s Treatment of Technical Evidence in the Pulp Mills Case, 3 Goettingen J. Int. L. (2011), 1, 447; F. R. Jacur, Remarks on the Role of Ex Curia Scientific Experts in International Environmental Disputes, in N. Boschiero et al., International Courts and the Development of International Law – Essays in Honour of Tullio Treves (2013), 441; Y. Fukunaga, Experts in WTO and Investment Litigation, in J. A. Huerta-Goldman et al., WTO Litigation, Investment Arbitration, and Commercial Arbitration (2013); Standard of Review and ‘Scientific Truths’ in the WTO Dispute Settlement System and Investment Arbitration, 3 J. Int. Disp. Settlement (2012), 1, 559; S. El Boudouhi, L’élément factuel dans le contentieux international (2013); M. M. Mbengue, International Courts and Tribunals as Fact-Finders: The Case of Scientific Fact-Finding in International Adjudication, 53 Loy. L.A. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. (2011), 53 [International Courts]; J. Ngambi, La preuve dans le règlement des différends de l’Organisation mondiale du commerce (2010), 326; M. T. Grando, Evidence, Proof, and Fact-Finding in WTO Dispute Settlement (2009); J. Rios Rodrigues, L’expert en droit international (2009); H. Ruiz Fabri, J. M. Sorel (eds.), La 107 tional Court of Justice after its judgment in the Pulp Mills case,2 which triggered abundant commentary and criticism from scholars, in the wake of the strong joint dissenting opinion of Judges Al-Khasawneh and Simma. While previous cases had already raised concern about the ICJ’s fact-finding methods, this particular dispute evidently constitutes a landmark in the reflexion on how international courts and tribunals ascertain the facts, more specifically on the use of experts in international litigation. The more recent Whaling in the Antarctic case only brought this issue to the forestage once more.3 Judges Al-Khasawneh and Simma wrote that: [T]he task of a court of justice is not to give a scientific assessment of what has happened, but to evaluate the claims of parties before it and whether such claims are sufficiently well-founded so as to constitute evidence of a breach of a legal obligation. In so doing, however, the Court is called upon ‘to assess the relevance and the weight of the evidence produced in so far as is necessary for the determination of the issues which it finds it essential to resolve.4 This pinpoints the crux of the problem: the function of any court or tribunal, whether judicial or arbitral, domestic or international, is to settle disputes by applying the relevant legal rules to the relevant facts. Unquestionably this is, on the whole, a legal operation, and yet it contains an inherently and irreducible extra-legal aspect, i.e., the establishment of the facts. It is this challenging task of establishing and assessing the facts that has increasingly drawn attention, because of the daunting difficulty it raises in disputes that present great factual complexity, all the more so when they touch on scientific or technical issues. It is self-evident that a compepreuve devant les juridictions internationales (2007); E. Truilhe-Marengo, L’expertise scientifique dans les contentieux internationaux: l’exemple de l’OMC, in SFDI, Le droit international face aux enjeux environnementaux (2010), 207; Sh. Rosenne, Fact-Finding before the International Court of Justice, in Sh. Rosenne, Essays on International Law and Practice (2007), 235; L. Savadogo, Le recours des juridictions internationales à des experts, Annuaire français de droit international (2004), 231. 2 Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay (Argentina v. Uruguay), Judgment, ICJ Reports 2010, 14. 3 Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan), Judgment, ICJ Reports 2014, 226. 4 Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay, supra note 2, 108, paras. 4,5, Joint dissenting opinion of Judges Al-Khasawneh and Simma, quoting Sh. Rosenne, The Law and Practice of the International Court of Justice, 1920-2005, vol. III, 4th ed. (2012), 1039. But, see also Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay, supra note 2, Opinion and declarations of Judges Yusuf and Cançado Trindade, and of Judge ad hoc Vinuesa. Andrea Hamann 108 tent legal ruling can only be passed if the facts in dispute are established and thereby known;5 knowledge, however, implies comprehension and the difficulty therefore lies beforehand: bluntly phrased, in order to correctly establish the facts, a court must first and foremost understand them. This essential task was framed by the ICJ in the following words: It is the responsibility of the Court, after having given careful consideration to all the evidence placed before it by the Parties, to determine which facts must be considered relevant, to assess their probative value, and to draw conclusions from them as appropriate.6 While one cannot but agree, it is nevertheless surprising that this seemingly obvious statement was made in one of the most factually complicated cases the ICJ has yet had to decide. And indeed, as Judges Al-Khasawneh and Simma pointed out, the fact is that “the Court of its own is not in a position adequately to assess and weigh the complex scientific evidence presented by the Parties”, while Judge ad hoc Vinuesa emphasized the “lack of specialized expert knowledge” of the Court.7 The Pulp Mills case thus shed a crude light on the Court’s traditional fact-finding methods, questioning their suitability given the increasing complexity of certain cases. The issue indeed cannot be reduced to disputes involving scientific data alone, although they present the most immediately perceptible challenge for a court of law, whether they are boundary or environmental disputes. But the process of establishing the facts can certainly be daunting in any factually complex case, as was made apparent in the Genocide cases:8 not only were the facts abundant and excessively complex, but they were also at a great distance from the Court, both in space and time, as the ICJ ruled on the merits of both cases 16 and 25 years after the events, and after a specialized tribunal had already examined the same events under the light of individual criminal responsibility. Although the question put before the ICJ was the distinct one of State responsibility, these circumstances seem to have placed the Court in an awkward position, and it chose to heavily rely 5 Rosenne, supra note 1, 235. 6 Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay, supra note 2, para. 168. 7 Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay, Joint dissenting opinion of Judges Al-Khasawneh and Simma, supra note 4, para. 4; Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay, supra note 2, 266, para. 71, Dissenting opinion of Judge ad hoc Vinuesa. 8 Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro), Judgment, ICJ Reports 2007, 43; Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Croatia v. Serbia), Judgment, ICJ Reports 2015. The Use of Ex Curia Experts in International Litigation 109 on the facts as established by the ICTY, to the extent that it seemed to systematically extract its own determinations from those previously made.9 Thus, the difficulty to unequivocally know the facts can arise in any complex dispute, although the challenge is particularly obvious in cases which call for knowledge in areas outside the law, in which judges are not trained – and, admittedly, should not be expected to be. What can and should be expected, though, is that individuals with the necessary qualifications fill this gap and assist judges in attaining the required knowledge, and it is for this purpose precisely that experts can be called upon, as acknowledged by the ICJ itself: “the purpose of the expert opinion must be to assist the Court in giving judgment upon the issues submitted to it for decision”.10 The operative word “assist” clarifies from the onset that the autonomy of the adjudicating body remains intact, and in particular that calling upon experts does not imply a delegation of the decision-making power, but on the contrary that the expert’s report or opinion can or should serve only as a basis to clarify the court’s own evaluation of the facts.11 Such assistance may indeed seem inevitable in certain circumstances, to the extent that settling a dispute is intrinsically a matter of translation from one “language” into another: by applying the relevant rules to the facts, a factual situation will be declared by the judge to consti- 9 A. Hamann, L’arrêt de la CIJ du 3 février 2015 dans l’affaire du Génocide (Croatia v. Serbia), Annuaire français de droit international (2015), 201; A. Gattini, Evidentiary Issues in the ICJ’s Genocide Judgment, 5 J. Int. Criminal Justice (2007), 889. While C. Tams analyses this as an “elegant way for the Court to arrive at a satisfactory assessment of evidence in cases involving complex questions of fact”, J. E. Alvarez has a harsher appreciation of this practice, which he calls an “out-sourcing” of the fact-finding process. See Ch. J. Tams, Article 50, in A. Zimmermann et al. (eds.), The Statute of the International Court of Justice – A Commentary (2012), 1290-1291; and J. E. Alvarez, Are International Judges Afraid of Science?: A Comment on Mbengue, 34 Loy. L.A. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. (2012), 83. 10 Application for Revision and Interpretation of the Judgment of 24 February 1982 in the Case concerning the Continental Shelf (Tunisia/Libyan Arab Jamahiriya), Judgment, ICJ Reports 1985, 228 (emphasis added). The same appears in the WTO dispute settlement system, where the panel explained that it would “undertake [its] examination by assessing the parties’ arguments and evidence” in a recent dispute; “We will also support our analysis, as relevant, with the guidance we received through the responses from the experts” (Panel Report, Russia – Pigs (EU), Doc. WT/DS475/R (adopted 19 August 2016), para. 7.416, [emphasis added]. 11 While most authors see no breach of the distinction between the function of the adjudicating body and the function of experts, others argue that an increased use of experts would amount to a delegation of the judicial function. See for instance Peat, supra note 1, 289; Rodrigues, supra note 1, 15-19. Andrea Hamann 110 tute a legal situation, and the translation thus takes place when the facts brought before the judge are coined into legal terms (qualification) and when, consequently, they are subjected to the identified relevant legal rule (interpretation and application). Although often it is mainly the latter that draws attention, the essential crux of the translation process lies beforehand, in the legally unseizable operation by which the facts are ascertained. On this ascertainment depends the accuracy of the entire translation, but the complexity of the facts or their remoteness from the judge’s knowledge can require in itself a preliminary translation, providing a basis for the legal operation. In other words, in certain circumstances experts appear to be the indispensable tools that allow for a correct translation into law.12 As the WTO panel in the US/Canada – Continued Suspension phrased it, “the role of the experts [is] to act as an ‘interface’ between the scientific evidence and the Panel, so as to allow it to perform its task as the trier of fact”.13 This assistance to the primary “translator” is in substance also the role that the ICJ recognised for experts in the Corfu Channel case, when it explained its decision to seek expert advice “on account of the technical nature of the questions involved”.14 But the complexity of a case, while it might be self-evident, is not an objective state. As Gabrielle Marceau and Jennifer Hawkins have acutely pointed out, whether or not judges call upon experts ultimately depends on whether they “recogniz[e] the limits of their own expertise”.15 And the fact remains that the ICJ has traditionally been reluctant to request experts 12 L. Gradoni even identifies a two-tiered translation process, namely the “encoding” of the parties’ claims into scientific language, and the subsequent “decoding” of the scientific language by the experts: L. Gradoni, La science judiciaire à l’OMC ou les opinions du juge Faustroll autour des OGM et de la viande de bovins traités aux hormones, in M. Deguergue, C. Moiroud (eds.), Les OGM en questions – Sciences, politique et droit (2013), 313. 13 Panel Report, United States – Continued Suspension, Doc. WT/DS320/R (adopted 31 March 2008), para. 6.72; Panel Report, Canada – Continued Suspension, Doc. WT/DS321/R (adopted 31 March 2008), para. 6.67. 14 Corfu Channel (Compensation), Judgment, ICJ Reports 1949, 248. See also Corfu Channel, Order, ICJ Reports 1948, 126, 127, where the Court asked the experts to “give the reasons for [their] findings in order to make their true significance apparent to the Court”. The WTO Appellate Body has similarly emphasized that experts are to “help [the Panel] to understand and evaluate the evidence submitted and the arguments made [by the parties]”, see Appellate Body Report, Japan – Agricultural Products II, Doc. WT/DS76/AB/R (adopted 22 February 1999), para. 130. 15 G.Z. Marceau, J.K. Hawkins, Experts in WTO Dispute Settlement, 3 J. Int. Disp. Settlement (2012), 504. The Use of Ex Curia Experts in International Litigation 111 to assist them in understanding the evidence, an attitude that has been widely commented on and criticized. This criticism has repeatedly been backed by a comparison with the practice in the dispute settlement system of the World Trade Organization (WTO), where expert consultation is a common feature in the proceedings. It is a tempting comparison indeed, considering that both are world courts, that both settle interstate disputes, and that both are permanently instituted (although WTO panels are appointed on an ad hoc basis). It is this comparison that the present contribution proposes to address and to question. Judges Al-Khasawneh and Simma in particular observed that other international courts and tribunals have “accepted the reality of the challenge posed by scientific uncertainty in the judicial process”, and felt that the WTO dispute settlement system has “most contributed to the development of a best practice of readily consulting outside sources in order to better evaluate the evidence submitted to it”.16 Many authors since the Pulp Mills case have followed in the reference to the WTO dispute settlement system when expressing criticism of the ICJ practice.17 It therefore seemed useful to explore whether such comparison can be validly sustained and, if so, whether WTO practice could serve as a “model” for the ICJ regarding the use of experts ex curia. However, the aim of this paper is not to nourish the criticism of the practice of the ICJ by inversely praising the WTO dispute settlement system, nor to defend the first by inversely understating the practice of the latter. It is undeniable that the ICJ displays an increasingly objectionable reluctance to call upon experts, whereas expert consultation has become almost commonplace in the WTO dispute settlement system. But this alone does not provide grounds for a valid comparison. The purpose of this paper is much more to demonstrate that a relevant comparison is impossible, or at least of limited value. There are indeed two fundamental differences between both judicial systems, which bias any attempted comparison be- 16 Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay, Joint dissenting opinion of Judges Al-Khasawneh and Simma, supra note 4, paras. 15, 16. 17 See for instance M. M. Mbengue, Between Law and Science: A Commentary on the Whaling in the Antarctic Case, Questions of International Law (2015), 11; and Mbengue, International Courts, supra note 1; Peat,, supra note 1, 289; Devaney, supra note 1, 130; Sandoval et al., supra note 1, 462-463; R. Moncel, Dangerous Experiments: Scientific Integrity in International Environmental Adjudications after the ICJ’s Decision in Whaling in the Antarctic, 42 Ecology Law Quarterly (2015), 317. Andrea Hamann 112 tween the practice of both courts, and which flaw the conclusions one might be tempted to draw. The first difference is that both courts do not operate in the same settings, and it is argued here that these settings heavily weigh on how they can exercise their powers. While the ICJ has jurisdiction for any dispute regarding the application and/or interpretation of international law in the broadest sense, provided that the parties have given their consent, the WTO dispute settlement system has been tailored as the ultimate tool for safeguarding the rule of law in the international trade regime. As such, it is part of a complex institutional and normative construction, whose main force is provided by its exclusive and compulsory character.18 By virtue of the “single undertaking” all WTO Members are equally bound by all multilateral treaties, with limited and heavily-regulated possibilities of opting out. One of these multilateral treaties, the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU), does not provide any opting out provision at all, so that all Members are subject to the compulsory jurisdiction of the WTO adjudicative bodies. This remarkable trait of the international trade regime provides its dispute settlement system with a power that the ICJ does not and cannot possess. To the extent that it is essentially dependant on State consent, in many a dispute the politics of the adjudicative process play a role at least as determining as the strictly legal aspect of the judicial function. Bluntly phrased, while WTO decisions might raise concern, criticism, and even open disapproval, the adjudicating bodies nevertheless run little risk of upsetting Members so much that they decide to quit the system; the ICJ on the other hand must constantly be cautious of the delicate balance between what is legally correct and what is politically acceptable. This touches on the different dimensions of the function of settling disputes: the WTO system, due to its compulsory character, can afford to be exclusively legality-oriented and therefore, when establishing the facts, strive to ascertain the truth understood as an objective and therefore irrefutable absolute; the ICJ has to remain more cognizant of State acceptance in order to encourage compliance with the decision, and many a case indeed, especially in boundary disputes, has demonstrated a clear tendency of “transactional” justice. This state of affairs necessarily reflects on the manner in which the judicial bodies approach their task and exercise the powers conferred by their respective statutes. 18 For a succinct presentation of this feature, see R. Yerxa, The Power of the WTO Dispute Settlement System, in R. Yerxa, B. Wilson (eds.), Key Issues in WTO Dispute Settlement (2005), 3-6. The Use of Ex Curia Experts in International Litigation 113 The second fundamental difference is that the WTO system is twotiered, with panels acting as first instance tribunals and an Appellate Body as appeals court. The ICJ is unburdened by such hierarchy and, consequently, as former US Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson famously wrote: We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final.19 This doesn’t intend to suggest that the ICJ is flippant or less careful in the exercise of its function whereas WTO panels are not. It is meant, however, to emphasize the crucial fact that the exercise of its powers by a panel, including with respect to the determination of the facts, can be contested by the parties on appeal and can thus be subject to “censorship”. This puts a considerable strain on panels of which the ICJ is free, and, as will be demonstrated later, the discipline imposed by the appellate review plays a crucial role as far as expert consultation is concerned. These differences evidently do not prevent the identification of common features and issues, which allow for an examination of the recourse to experts in ICJ and WTO proceedings. The following developments will thus focus on both courts’ powers to call upon experts (I), on the actual exercise of these powers (II), and finally on the utilisation of expert evidence (III). Two conclusions derive from this confrontation: first, the divide between both courts regarding the use of experts is not as clear-cut as it may seem on first sight, as some of the objectionable practices at the ICJ also thrive at the WTO. Second, when there is a divide, it can mainly be attributed to the fact that WTO panels operate in a more framed and constrained setting, where any deflection from their statutory obligations can be blamed and addressed by the Appellate Body. Ultimately, it appears that the aforementioned differences between both judicial systems fundamentally shape the exercise of their function, and that they invalidate any comparison that might be drawn between the ICJ and the WTO dispute settlement regarding the use of experts. While it would certainly be a welcome improvement if the ICJ departed from its traditional methods of establishing the facts and didn’t shy away from seeking expert advice, such improvement is unlikely to be usefully inspired by WTO practice. 19 Brown v. Allen, 344 U.S. 443 (1953), concurrent opinion of Justice Jackson, p. 540. Andrea Hamann 114 The power to seek expert advice Both the ICJ and WTO panels are enabled, in broad terms, to establish the facts of a case.20 Their statutes vest them with explicit and specific powers to call upon experts, whose proper identification as such (A) is crucial in order to protect the parties’ due process rights (B). Identification and status of experts In practice a large variety of experts have been identified by scholars – court-appointed, party-appointed, expert counsel, “ghost” experts, and assessors21 – but only court-appointed and party-appointed experts are recognized by the ICJ Statute and, to a lesser extent, by the WTO agreements,22 notwithstanding the variety of names given to experts and expert bodies in the WTO treaties. Regarding the ICJ, the only provision making room for ex curia experts is the broadly termed Article 50 of the Statute, according to which “the Court may, at any time, entrust any individual, body, bureau, commission, or other organization that it may select, with the task of carrying out an enquiry or giving an expert opinion”,23 court-appointed experts being crucially considered to be independent.24 II. A. 20 It can certainly be argued that even if specific provisions are absent, any court or tribunal has inherent fact-finding powers, as an intrinsic and implied element of its judicial function. See White, supra note 1, 73. 21 On these five categories, see for instance Foster, New Clothes, supra note 1, 139; L. C. Lima, The Evidential Weight of Experts before the ICJ: Reflections on the Whaling in the Antarctic Case, 6 J. Int. Disp. Settlement (2015), 628-630; Savadogo, supra note 1, 231. 22 Ex parte experts are recognized by Article 43 para. 5 of the ICJ Statute, according to which “[t]he oral proceedings shall consist of the hearing by the Court of witnesses, experts, agents, counsel, and advocates”, and this provision is complemented by Articles 57 and 64 of the Rules (see S. Talmon, Article 43, in A Zimmermann et al. (eds.), The Statute of the International Court of Justice – A Commentary (2012), 977). They are not recognized or even mentioned as such in the DSU or the panels’ Working Procedures, which may seem curious – but then again neither is there any provision concerning the composition of parties’ delegation or the types of evidence submitted. 23 Article 50 of the Statute is complemented by Article 62 para. 2 of the Rules of Court. On the practical irrelevance of the distinction between enquiries and expert opinion, see Tams, supra note 9, 1289. 24 In addition the ICJ is empowered by Articles 9 and 21 of the Rules of Court to appoint assessors, who take part in the deliberations but do not vote (Article 9 The Use of Ex Curia Experts in International Litigation 115 WTO provisions, on the other hand, contain great variety regarding ex curia experts, making room for individual expertise, groups of experts and even institutional expertise. The general provision, however, is similar to Article 50 of the ICJ Statute, and arguably even wider. Article 13 DSU indeed confers vast investigative powers to panels, by providing that: Each panel shall have the right to seek information and technical advice from any individual or body which it deems appropriate. […] 2. Panels may seek information from any relevant source and may consult experts to obtain their opinion on certain aspects of the matter. With respect to a factual issue concerning a scientific or other technical matter raised by a party to a dispute, a panel may request an advisory report in writing from an expert review group […] (emphasis added). The distinction between individual and group expertise by “expert review groups” (ERGs) is an important one, in principle at least, as ERGs are specifically dealt with in Appendix 4 of the DSU; according to the Appellate Body its provisions are only applicable to ERGs and do not bind the panel if it chooses to appoint individual experts instead of an ERG.25 The decision to use individual experts or to establish a group is left “to the sound discretion of a panel”,26 and, in fact, no ERG has been appointed in over twenty years of practice.27 para. 1 and 21 para. 2 of the Rules of Court); however, assessors do not provide an expert opinion and are therefore to be distinguished from ex curia experts. It should also be noted that, by virtue of Article 26 para. 1 of its Statute, the ICJ created a permanent Chamber for Environmental Matters in 1993, but it has been inactive so far as no parties in any environmental dispute have ever referred their case to this Chamber. Consequently, whereas its composition was periodically renewed until 2006, the ICJ decided not to hold elections in 2006. 25 Appellate Body Report, EC – Hormones, Docs. WT/DS26/AB/R, WT/DS48/AB/R (adopted 16 January 1998), para. 148. For a comparative analysis of individual expertise and ERGs, see M. Cossy, Panels’ Consultation with Scientific Experts: The Right to Seek Information under Article 13 of the DSU, in R. Yerxa, B. Wilson (eds.), Key Issues in WTO Dispute Settlement (2005), 209-212; T. Christoforou, Settlement of Science-Based Trade Disputes in the WTO: A Critical Review of the Developing Case Law in the Face of Scientific Uncertainty, 8 N.Y.U. Environmental Law Journal (2000), 637-641. 26 Appellate Body Report, EC – Hormones, supra note 25, para. 147. 27 See for instance the US/Canada – Continued Suspension cases, where the EU had explicitly suggested the establishment of an ERG but the panel instead decided to consult individual experts, Panel Reports, US – Continued Suspension, supra Andrea Hamann 116 Notably, other WTO treaties also specifically provide for expert consultation: According to Article 11 para. 2 of the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement), a panel should seek expert opinion in disputes that involve “scientific or technical issues”, and may establish an “advisory technical expert group”; Article 14 para. 2 of the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement) provides that a panel can establish a “technical expert group to assist in questions of a technical nature, requiring detailed consideration by experts”; and the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Duties (SCM Agreement) enables panels in subsidy disputes to “request the assistance of the Permanent Group of Experts” (Article 4.5).28 Whether there is a distinct difference between this Permanent Group of Experts (PGE) and the ERGs under Article 13 DSU is uncertain; the only perceptible difference is that a PGE is permanent and has a predetermined specialized competence while an ERG will be established ad hoc, with varying technical competence. However, like the ERGs, a PGE has not once been called to serve. Finally, several treaties also provide for institutional expertise. While every WTO agreement is flanked by a committee in charge of administering it,29 the Agreement on Customs Valuation has the particular feature of providing for the establishment of an additional committee, the Technical Committee on Customs Valuation, which exists and operates under the auspices not of the WTO but of the World Customs Organization (Article 18 para. 2). The Technical Committee can serve in itself as an expert in judicial proceedings, as a panel may request it to “carry out an examination of any questions requiring technical consideration” (Article 19 para. 4). Finally, outside institutional consultation is specifically provided for in the note 13, para. 7.71; and Canada – Continued Suspension, supra note 13, para. 7.69. 28 This PGE, pursuant to Article 24.3, was established by the SCM Committee and is composed of five “independent persons, highly qualified in the fields of subsidies and trade relations”. 29 To a certain extent it can even be argued that these committees in themselves constitute expert bodies, all the more so since the Appellate Body has held that their deliberations and conclusions, when relevant, should be taken into account by panels. See Appellate Body Report, India – Quantitative Restrictions, Doc. WT/ DS90/AB/R (adopted 23 August 1999), para. 103: “We are cognisant of the competence of the BOP Committee and the General Council with respect to balance-ofpayments restrictions under Article XVIII para. 12 of the GATT 1994 and the BOP Understanding. […] Moreover, we are convinced that, in considering the justification of balance-of-payments restrictions, panels should take into account the deliberations and conclusions of the BOP Committee” [emphasis added]. The Use of Ex Curia Experts in International Litigation 117 SPS Agreement, according to which panels may “consult the relevant international organizations” (Article 11 para. 2),30 and in GATT Article XV para. 2, according to which the IMF shall be consulted in all cases concerning “monetary reserves, balances of payments or foreign exchange arrangements”.31 This succinct overview shows that although WTO provisions are more numerous and detailed than those regarding the ICJ, they provide the same possibilities for expert consultation, and evidently neither statute makes room for experts who are not appointed either by the court or the parties. This, in turn, has important consequences since guarantees of good administration of justice are attached to the recognized categories of experts. Due process rights These guarantees, indeed, have been tailored for the only two categories of experts recognized by the ICJ Statute and the WTO agreements. ICJ provisions present few details, with no requirement regarding the specific technical or scientific issue calling for expertise, nor the expert selection process itself.32 Significantly, the selection process is much more constrained by the WTO agreements. While only the SPS Agreement obliges the panel to consult with the parties,33 the general practice is nevertheless for such B. 30 Those expressly mentioned in the Agreement are the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the International Office of Epizootics and the Secretariat of the International Plant Protection Convention in cooperation with regional organizations operating within the framework of the International Plant Protection Convention. 31 However, it must be noted that Article XV para. 2 of the GATT addresses WTO Members and not panels as such. But when the circumstances referred to in Article XV arise in judicial proceedings, arguably the panel will have a similar duty to request such expert consultation, under the general provision of Article 13 DSU. 32 But see Article 51 of the Statute: “If the Court considers it necessary to arrange for an enquiry or an expert opinion, it shall, after hearing the parties, issue an order to this effect, defining the subject of the enquiry or expert opinion, stating the number and mode of appointment of the persons to hold the enquiry or of the experts, and laying down the procedure to be followed. Where appropriate, the Court shall require persons appointed to carry out an enquiry, or to give an expert opinion, to make a solemn declaration”. 33 Except when the panel wishes to establish an ERG and to appoint citizens of parties to the dispute, in which case all parties must consent (DSU Appendix 4, para. 3). Andrea Hamann 118 consultation to take place (which extends to the drafting of the questions submitted to the experts).34 Specific rules for ERGs under Article 13 para. 2 DSU are set out in Appendix 4 (the rules for TBT experts are tailored identically), and a particularly noteworthy feature is the existence of overarching Rules of Conduct for the dispute settlement.35 These apply to all experts appointed under the DSU, and the SCM, SPS, and TBT Agreements.36 Only the Agreement on Customs Valuation is carved out, which is consistent with the fact that its Technical Committee on Customs Valuation is established under the auspices of the World Customs Organization and not the WTO. All covered experts are subject to the governing principle that they shall be “independent and impartial, shall avoid direct or indirect conflicts of interest and shall respect the confidentiality of proceedings of bodies pursuant to the dispute settlement mechanism”, and they have corresponding disclosure and confidentiality obligations.37 These requirements equally oblige panels, considering that the experts’ independence and impartiality directly pertain to the due process rights of the parties to the dispute. The Appellate Body has indeed held that the “[…] due process protection applies to the process for selecting experts and to the panel’s consultations with the experts, and continues throughout the proceedings”, and it does not hesitate to review the panel’s selection process in order to determine whether the panel has adequately assessed the disclosed information in order to evaluate the “likelihood that the expert’s independence and impartiality may be affected, or if justifiable doubts arise as to the expert’s independent or impartiality.”38 34 See for instance one of the most recent disputes to date, Russia – Pigs (EU), where the panel requested the assistance of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) to suggest possible experts who could assist the panel, but also asked the EU to comment on the experts spontaneously suggested by Russia; the panel also received a list from both parties of their suggested questions to the panel. See Panel Report, Russia – Pigs (EU), supra note 10, paras. 1.18-1.37. See also the Australia – Apples dispute, where the expert selection process was complicated by the repeated objections of the parties to some of the suggested experts: Panel Report, Australia – Apples, Doc. WT/DS367/R (adopted 09 August 2010), paras. 1.21-1.39. 35 Rules of Conduct for the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes, Working Procedures for Appellate Review, Doc. WT/AB/WP/6, (adopted 16 August 2010), Annex II. 36 Ibid., Annex 1B of the Rules of Conduct. 37 Ibid., Section II and III. 38 Appellate Body Report, US/Canada – Continued Suspension, Docs. WT/320/AB/R, WT/DS321/AB/R (adopted 16 October 2008), para. 446. The Appellate Body went on to consider that “[w]here a panel’s ability to act as an inde- The Use of Ex Curia Experts in International Litigation 119 In contrast, the DSU is much more elliptical regarding the examination of experts: apart from the general organization of written submissions, panels’ meetings with the parties and rebuttal, it contains no requirements regarding the examination of experts. The only general provision concerns ERGs and specifies that their report shall be submitted to the parties “with a view to obtaining their comments”, whereas the panel can put questions to the parties at any time.39 In ICJ proceedings the relevant provision is Article 51 of the Statute, which refers to the Rules of the Court and covers both court- and party-appointed experts.40 It is quite parsimoniously laid out, since it merely provides that any relevant questions during the hearings “are to be put to the witnesses and experts under the conditions laid down by the Court” in its Rules of procedure. Concerning ex curia experts specifically, the parties are to receive communication of every report and record of an enquiry and of every expert opinion, and “be given the opportunity of commenting upon it” (Article 67 para. 2 of the Rules). This provision is essential in terms of good administration of justice, as it guarantees the transparency of expert consultation and safeguards the parties’ due process rights to make observations on the conclusions presented by the experts. In comparison, Article 65 secures these rights much more strongly regarding ex parte experts: not being treated as independent sources of information, they are subject not to mere comments a posteriori but to proper examination by the agents, counsel or advocates of the parties, while the President and the judges can ask questions.41 Information presented by party-appointed experts is thus treated much more thoroughly than experts appointed by the Court, which has little to do with securing the parties’ equal rights and much more with the fact that information provided by ex parte experts by definition calls for caution. pendent adjudicator has been compromised, as we have found in this case, this raises serious issues as to whether the panel’s findings may be sustained” (para. 484). 39 DSU Appendix 4, para. 6 and 8. 40 Articles 57, 58, 63, 65, 70 and 71 apply to ex parte experts, Articles 67 and 68 to ex curia experts. 41 The provision leaves the concrete process of such examination quite unclear, but practice has at least confirmed that the parties take the lead and that it unfolds in three stages: examination by the party presenting the expert, cross-examination by the other party, and re-examination by the first. See C. Tams, Article 51, in A. Zimmermann et al. (eds.), The Statute of the International Court of Justice – A Commentary (2012), 1306. Andrea Hamann 120 Evidently these procedural guarantees can be upheld only as long as experts are identified as such,42 and are bypassed when the court unofficially uses experts who never appear on record, and when the parties disguise expert opinion in the formal pleading of counsel.43 It is for this reason precisely that the practice of using “expert counsel” was finally frowned upon in the Pulp Mills case, when the Court stated that it would have preferred to have them presented by the Parties as expert witnesses, “so that they may be submitted to questioning by the other party as well as by the Court”.44 This is undoubtedly a valid point, yet a court has little power to censor such a tactical practice, except by giving little evidential weight to the conclusions of such expert counsel (which the ICJ seems to have done in the case at hand). Paradoxically, while neither party used expert counsel in the Whaling case but rather presented properly appointed experts, the ICJ discarded their opinion as well – an attitude whose outcome will probably not encourage parties to use the suitable route. The same phenomenon thrives at the WTO but has drawn less attention and reprobation since there are no requirements regarding parties’ delegations. The issue of their composition was indeed raised very early in the functioning of the dispute settlement system, via the specific question of whether independent private legal counsel could serve as a party’s representative in addition to government officials. The Appellate Body held that Members are free to determine the composition of their delegation in the proceedings,45 and it is therefore not uncommon to have experts included in parties’ delegations, as well as in the delegations of third parties who can also submit expert evidence to the panel. However, it must be noted that all the submitted reports are communicated to the parties, who (in principle) can comment on 42 And even such proper appointment might not always guarantee due process: in the Gulf of Maine case for instance, the parties were not invited to exercise their right to comment on the report of the court-appointed experts, see Rosenne, supra note 4, 1329. 43 See for instance Kasikili/Sedudu Island (Botswana/Namibia), Judgment, ICJ Reports (1999), 1045; Gabčikovo-Nagymaros Project (Hungary/Slovakia), Judgment, ICJ Reports (1997), 7. 44 Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay, supra note 2, para. 167. 45 Appellate Body Report, EC – Bananas III, Doc. WT/DS27/AB/R (adopted 09 September 1997), para. 10: “we can find nothing in the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization […], the DSU or the Working Procedures, nor in customary international law or the prevailing practice of international tribunals, which prevents a WTO Member from determining the composition of its delegation in Appellate Body proceedings”. The Use of Ex Curia Experts in International Litigation 121 them and address any issues during the substantive meetings with the panel. However, the issue of due process rights in WTO proceedings has appeared from a different and unprecedented angle in the Clove Cigarettes dispute. The decision indeed showed that the panel had strongly relied on a report made to the US Food and Drug Administration which it had not requested, nor which had been submitted by the parties as evidence (as it had not been made public at the time of submission). In other words, the panel had extended its fact-finding mission autonomously – although not spontaneously, since the report was mentioned in both parties’ submissions. While this is not objectionable as such, given the extensive investigative powers of panels under Article 13, the panel in this specific case must nevertheless have been aware of its unusual initiative: it had indeed taken the precaution to address questions to the parties, inviting them to comment on specific substantial aspects of the report, on its relevance to the dispute, and on its utilisation by the panel.46 Interestingly, it steered clear of directly asking the parties whether they agreed or objected to its using the report, but rather asked whether they thought the panel “could conduct an ‘objective assessment’ of the matter before it under Article 11 of the DSU without” using it. The formulation in itself is curious, as it is the responsibility of the panel to apply the proper standard of review, which should not be dictated or even guided by the parties; one can assume, therefore, that the phrasing of the question was not left to chance and that it constituted an elegant way for the panel of avoiding to unequivocally ask the parties whether they agreed to its using the report. Even more interestingly, while both the defendant and the complainant declared that the panel could properly carry out its task without using it,47 the panel nevertheless considered that it “may rely on the [report] for the purpose of corroborating [its] findings, as this would be consistent with Articles 11 and 13 of the 46 The panel asked the following questions: “(i) whether the above mentioned recommendation contained in the March 2011 TPSAC Report was relevant to the dispute; (ii) what was the relevance of the March 2011 TPSAC Report to the question of whether menthol- flavoured cigarettes are ‘like’ clove cigarettes; (iii) to comment on the significance of the evidence presented by the March 2011 TP- SAC Report concerning the rate of menthol cigarettes smoked by youth, in relation to the dispute; and (iv) whether the Panel could conduct an ‘objective assessment’ of the matter before it under Article 11 of the DSU without taking into consideration the March 2011 TPSAC Report”, see Panel Report, Clove Cigarettes, Doc. WT/DS406/R (adopted 02 September 2011), para. 7.223 note 449. 47 The complainant even stated that it was “not particularly relevant”, ibid., para. 7.223 note 449. Andrea Hamann 122 DSU”.48 The reference to Article 13 indicates that the panel considered the report to fall into the category either of “information from any relevant source” or of expert opinion – and yet its content was not and could not be discussed by the parties as regular evidence would have been: the second and last meeting with the parties was held on 15 February 2011, but the report was delivered to the FDA and made public only in March 2011. The exercise of the power to seek expert advice The previous section has established that the ICJ and WTO panels are similarly empowered to appoint experts, but most revealing is how both actually use these powers – or don’t. Unsurprisingly, the exercise of their investigative powers remains in principle at their utter discretion (A). It is therefore all the more striking that WTO panels, in certain circumstances, are legally bound to seek expert advice (B). Furthermore, the standard of review imposed on panels strongly suggests that seeking expert advice, in certain circumstances, constitutes an integral requirement of the judicial function (C). Discretionary recourse to experts Both the ICJ and WTO panels enjoy a wide margin of appreciation regarding the request for expert assistance. This discretion seems widest for the ICJ, given that Article 50 doesn’t require that a case raise particular scientific or technical issues, as does Article 13 para. 2 DSU for the establishment of an Expert Review Group.49 This slight restriction set aside, and while it is true that the proceedings are mainly driven by an adversarial dynamic in which the parties have the primary responsibility to adduce the evidence and to bring a prima facie case, both the ICJ and WTO panels enjoy extensive authority to carry out and to control the process of establishing the relevant facts.50 As established in the previous section, their respective statute clearly “enables [them] to seek information and advice as they deem appro- III. A. 48 Ibid., para. 7.228. 49 This possibility is made available only “with respect to a factual issue concerning a scientific or other technical matter raised by a party to a dispute”. 50 See for instance Appellate Body Report, US – Shrimp, Doc. WT/DS58/AB/R (adopted 12 October 1998), para. 106. The Use of Ex Curia Experts in International Litigation 123 priate in a particular case”,51 regardless of whether the parties feel that expert consultation is not necessary or even disagree with the panel’s decision to seek advice.52 However, a discretionary power can be exercised positively or negatively, and what is “deem[ed] appropriate” can be greatly at odds with what is necessary or even required. Regarding positive exercise of this discretion, the divide between ICJ and panel practice is gaping (1). But this factual observation alone does not allow for conclusions to be hastily drawn: when one also looks at the negative exercise of their discretionary power, i.e., at the absence of expert consultation, the difference between ICJ and WTO panels’ practice becomes less clear-cut (2). Both courts indeed seem to have developed similar if not identical avoidance strategies, by which they bypass official expert appointment, which sheds a different light on the harsh criticism the ICJ is under, and on the comparative appraisal of the WTO dispute settlement. Positive exercise of discretionary power: addressing the need for expert advice The positive practice of WTO panels requires no lengthy demonstration, since the case law obviously demonstrates frequent expert consultation, to the point even that it may seem trivialized. The essential assistance provided by experts to the task of the judicial body was in fact acknowledged very early in the functioning of the dispute settlement mechanism,53 and panels have repeatedly stressed the “valuable” input provided by experts in order 1. 51 Appellate Body Report, EC – Hormones, supra note 25, para. 147 [emphasis added]. 52 See for instance the Panel Reports in US – Continued Suspension, supra note 13, para. 7.56; Canada – Continued Suspension, supra note 13, para. 7.54; US – Animals, Doc. WT/DS447/R (adopted 24 July 2015), para. 1.13; and Russia – Pigs (EU), supra note 10, para. 1.18. In all instances at least one party stressed that it did not see the need for the panel to request expert advice (although in the US/ Canada – Continued Suspension cases the EU than changed its stance and requested the establishment of an ERG, but failed to obtain it from the panel). 53 See for instance Appellate Body Report, India – Quantitative Restrictions, supra note 29, para. 142: expert opinion can be “useful in order to determine whether a prima facie case has been made” by the plaintiff. However, a panel oversteps its duty when it seeks expert advice to help it understand the evidence submitted by the parties, but then uses this evidence to find an inconsistency although the complainant has not established a prima facie case (see Appellate Body Report, Argentina – Textiles, Doc. WT/DS56/AB/R (adopted 27 March 1998), paras. 124-131). In other words, expert opinion can in no way be used as a substitute for a party’s failure to meet the burden of proof. Andrea Hamann 124 to understand the factual situation.54 Although it is difficult to give precise statistics of the cases in which panels have used experts,55 the nature of experts themselves being variable, it is nevertheless unquestionable that panels often seek expert opinion in disputes involving complex facts of a technical or scientific nature, and that they do not hesitate to consult with specialized international institutions such as the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the IMF or the WIPO.56 The attitude of the ICJ stands in striking contrast to this practice, as it has notoriously appointed experts in three disputes only (PCIJ included), the most recent of which already lies more than thirty years in the past. However, the Gulf of Maine case must be set apart, as it did not reflect a discretionary exercise of the Court’s power: the Chamber of the Court, constituted according to the wishes of the parties, was in fact bound by the special agreement between Canada and the United States to appoint an expert (Article II (3)).57 In the other two disputes, the Chorzów Factory case and the Corfu Channel case, the Court spontaneously decided to appoint experts under Article 50 of its Statute. In Chorzów Factory, where its task was to determine the sum to be awarded to Germany in reparation for the dispossession of two companies by the Polish government, it explained its decision by the fact “that it cannot be satisfied with the data for assessment supplied by the Parties”.58 Therefore, “in order to obtain further enlightenment in the matter”, it decided to “arrange for the holding of an expert enquiry”,59 the main purpose of which was to determine the monetary value of the property at the time of dispossession as well as any profit that would have been made 54 E.g. Panel Report, Russia – Pigs (EU), supra note 10, para. 7.953. 55 But see the inventory of cases in Marceau, Hawkins, supra note 15, 494-495 notes 9, 10. 56 See for instance the aforementioned US/Canada – Continued Suspension cases, where the panel decided not only to consult individual experts but also sought information from the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (Panel Reports, supra note 13, respectively paras. 7.78, 7.76). 57 Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary in the Gulf of Maine Area (Canada v. United States of America), Judgment, ICJ Reports (1984), 253. The Court obliged by an order appointing Commander Peter Bryan Beazley, who was to “assist the Chamber in respect of technical matters and, in particular, in preparing the description of the maritime boundary and the charts referred to” in the compromise, see Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary in the Gulf of Maine Area (Canada v. United States of America), Order, ICJ Reports (1984), 166. 58 Factory At Chorzów (Merits) (Germany v. Poland), Judgment No 13 (1928), PCIJ Series A No. 17 (September 13, 1928), 49. 59 Ibid., p. 51. The Use of Ex Curia Experts in International Litigation 125 between that time and the time of the expertise.60 In Corfu Channel, the Court had to decide whether Albania could be held responsible for the damage suffered by the United Kingdom when two vessels of its fleet hit mines while passing through the channel, the existence of a breach by Albania of its international obligations depending essentially on whether or not it had knowledge of the minelaying activities in its territorial waters. As this called quite simply for an on-site experiment, the Court therefore appointed a committee of three experts, which was instructed to “examine the situation in the North Corfu Strait immediately before October 22nd, 1946, from the point of view of […] the position of the swept channel […].”61 In the same case again, regarding the calculation of the amount of compensation due, the Court once more decided to seek expert advice, as the issue “involved questions of a technical nature”.62 The experts’ mandate was to “examine the figures and estimates stated in the last submissions filed by the Government of the United Kingdom regarding the amount of its claim for the loss of the Saumarez and the damage caused to the Volage.”63 Ultimately the reasons for appointing experts in both cases seem quite ordinary and commonsensical: dissatisfaction with the evidence submitted by the parties, and necessity to make a factual on-site verification. That experts should be appointed in such circumstances comes as no surprise, and 60 Factory At Chorzów (Merits), Order, PCIJ 2. I A. and B. (1928). 61 Corfu Channel (Merits), supra note 14, 124 (I. (1)). More specifically, the experts were requested to “ascertain whether it is possible […] to draw any conclusions, and, if so, what conclusions, in regard to: (1) the means employed for laying the minefield discovered on November 13th, 1946, and (2) the possibility of mooring those mines with those means without the Albanian authorities being aware of it, having regard to the extent of the measures of vigilance existing in the Saranda region” (Ibid., p. 126 (I. (8)). Experiments on the spot were thus carried out, including a test of visibility by night, after which the experts concluded that it was “indisputable” that the minelaying operations must have been noticed by the coastguards (Corfu Channel (Merits), Judgment, supra note 14, 21). The Court, giving “great weight to the opinion of the Experts”, therefore concluded that the minefields could not have been laid without the knowledge of the government (Ibid., 21-22). 62 Corfu Channel (Compensation), supra note 14, 247. 63 Corfu Channel (Compensation), Order, ICJ Reports 1949, 238 (1). The Court took due note of the figures produced by the experts, which were roughly the same as the sums claimed by the government of the United Kingdom. For the destroyer Volage, the UK had even claimed a sum slightly inferior to that estimated by the experts, but the Court could not go beyond the amount claimed by the government (Corfu Channel (Compensation), Judgment, supra note 14, 249). Andrea Hamann 126 on the contrary it is most curious that the Court seems to have encountered no other such case of unconvincing evidence or need for clarification in almost a century of activity. Claiming otherwise simply lacks plausibility, given the growing factual complexity of certain cases over the last few decades, which allows for one conclusion only: while the need for expert consultation probably appears in many a case, the Court, using its discretionary power, simply avoids confronting that need, at least with the tools provided by its Statute. Negative exercise of discretionary power: circumventing the need for ex curia experts So far it has simply been confirmed that the practice of both courts could not be more different when one looks only at the positive request for expert advice. And yet, this comparison becomes unsteady upon closer examination of the instances in which experts are not called upon. Arguably, this is merely the other facet of any discretionary power, and is as such indisputable; the Appellate Body has even made sure to emphasize that “a panel is not duty-bound to seek information in each and every case or to consult particular experts under this provision. […] Just as a panel has the discretion to determine how to seek expert advice, so also does a panel have the discretion to determine whether to seek information or expert advice at all.”64 However, this “negative” exercise of both courts’ discretionary power is much more intriguing from a comparative perspective, as it reveals that WTO adjudicating bodies are no more virtuous than the ICJ: both in fact have a strong tendency to circumvent the tools explicitly provided for by their statutes, and to explore alternative avenues in order to deal with complex or technical issues; that this tendency thrives in the WTO system as well is merely obscured by the abundant evidence of ex curia experts’ presence in the proceedings. Admittedly, this attitude of avoidance is less easy to prove since, by definition, it lacks positive and unequivocal evidence. Several tendencies can nonetheless be identified. The easiest to spot is the explicit statement by the adjudicating body that further evidence is not required or that expert opinion would be use- 2. 64 Appellate Body Report, Argentina – Textiles, supra note 53, para. 84; Appellate Body Report, US – Shrimp, supra note 50, para. 104. The Use of Ex Curia Experts in International Litigation 127 less,65 which becomes all the more intriguing when the Court or the panel later concludes that the claim is not substantiated or that the evidence presented was unconvincing. This is particularly striking in contrast to the attitude displayed in Chorzów Factory where, for the first and until now only time in PCIJ/ICJ history, the Court explained its decision to appoint experts by the insufficiency of the evidence provided by the parties. In a similar vein, the Court also seems to have circumvented the possible need for expert advice by “neutralizing” the technical or scientific issue at stake. This appears most distinctly in certain boundary disputes in which technical matters are simply deflected;66 as well as in Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros where the ICJ, after stating that it had “given most careful attention” to the abundant material presented by the parties, considered that “it is not necessary in order to respond to the questions put to it in the Special Agreement for it to determine which of those points of view is scientifically better founded”.67 Other cases reveal a blunter approach, which consists of the Court ignoring outright the very existence of a scientific or technical difficulty that calls for expert assistance, and to undertake to address, assess and resolve the issue by its own means. It is this attitude that has provoked the harshest 65 In the Nicaragua case for instance, the Court admitted that one of its “chief difficulties” had been the determination of the relevant facts and emphasized that it was obliged “to employ whatever means and resources may enable it to satisfy itself whether the submissions of the applicant State are well-founded in fact and law, and simultaneously to safeguard the essential principles of the sound administration of justice”; yet it felt it was “unlikely” that an enquiry by a court-appointed expert body “would be practical or desirable” (Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Merits) (Nicaragua v. United States of America), Judgment, ICJ Reports 1986, paras. 57, 59, 62). Admittedly, the undertaking might indeed have proven difficult considering the refusal of the United States to even appear before the ICJ, but it is interesting that the Court chose to openly discuss its exercise of the power to appoint experts precisely in a dispute whose circumstances where such that no reasonable criticism could be voiced for its decision not to consult experts. But see also dissenting opinion of. 66 See for instance the Maritime Delimitation case between Qatar and Bahrain where the ICJ dismissed the issue of the exact nature of Fasht al Azm (is it part of the island of Sitrah or a low-tide elevation?); regarding the island of Qit’at Jaradah, without much discussion it applied its previous jurisprudence of eliminating the disproportionate effect of small islands (Maritime Delimitation and Territorial Questions between Qatar and Bahrain (Merits) (Qatar v. Bahrain) Judgment, ICJ Reports 2001, paras. 218, 219). See also Continental Shelf (Tunisia/Libyan Arab Jamahiriya), Judgment, ICJ Reports 1982, paras. 61, 67. See also Continental Shelf (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v. Malta), Judgment, ICJ Reports 1985, para. 64. 67 Gabčikovo-Nagymaros Project, supra note 43, para. 54. Andrea Hamann 128 criticism, particularly in boundary68 and environmental disputes, notably the Pulp Mills case.69 Judges Al-Khasawneh and Simma denounced this approach as being “methodologically flawed”, to the extent that the issues were of a nature “which the Court cannot, as a court of justice, fully comprehend without recourse to expert assessment”,70 and they consequently questioned the entire conclusions reached by the Court. Judge Yusuf was similarly critical, concluding that “there is reason for concern” when even a case of such complexity does not compel the Court to use its power under Article 50.71 However, in the Whaling case the Court again did not feel it was appropriate, let alone required, to appoint an independent expert and thus proceeded on its own to assess whether the Japanese whaling programme was covered by the exception provided for in the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, according to which permits can be delivered for whaling conducted “for purposes of scientific research”. Arguably, no such reproach can be made in relation to WTO panels – but for reasons explained below and that cannot be reduced to a more expert-friendly disposition. And yet, contrary to all appearances, WTO dispute settlement nurtures exactly the same tendency of avoiding official expert consultation as the ICJ, by using what is commonly called “ghost experts” (experts fantômes). Regarding the ICJ this practice was notoriously made public by none other than its former president Sir Robert Jennings, according to whom “the Court has not infrequently employed cartographers, hydrographers, geographers, linguists, and even specialized legal experts to assist in the understanding of the issue in a case before it; and it 68 See for example the boundary dispute between Namibia and Botswana where the Court, presumably without specific knowledge in hydrology, decided by itself which of the two channels was the “main” one merely based on three sets of documents: Kasikili/Sedudu Island, supra note 43, para. 80. 69 The Court had to decide whether Uruguay had breached its obligation to prevent pollution and to preserve the environment, and both parties had submitted an impressive amount of scientific material and expert studies, as well as presented their own experts. While every single conclusion was strongly disputed between the parties and the experts, the Court nevertheless declared that it would “keep[…] with its practice” and thus “make its own determination of the facts, on the basis of the evidence presented to it”, Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay, supra note 2, para. 168. 70 Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay, joint dissenting opinion of Judges Al-Khasawneh and Simma, supra note 4, paras. 2, 5. 71 Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay, declaration of Judge Yusuf, ICJ Reports 2010, 216, para. 13. The Use of Ex Curia Experts in International Litigation 129 has not on the whole felt any need to make this public knowledge or even to apprise the parties”.72 No equally reliable testimony has been made about the WTO dispute settlement system, but there is valid reason to suspect that the same phenomenon thrives in WTO proceedings. To a certain extent one could argue that this practice is even covered by the statute: according to Article 27 para. 1 DSU, indeed, “the Secretariat shall have the responsibility to assist panels, especially on the legal, historical and procedural aspects of matters dealt with, and of providing secretarial and technical support”. Evidently the DSU thus makes room for the Secretariat in the adjudicative process, and not only regarding technical issues: Article 27 explicitly covers legal matters, the very core of the judicial function and it is well known that the Secretariat staffs support teams to panellists with lawyers. In addition, what is exactly meant by “technical support” is conveniently ambiguous and authors have suggested different interpretations, which inflate or inversely deflate the Secretariat’s powers in the adjudicative process. The most minimalistic reading would reduce such “technical support” to purely administrative matters,73 whereas a more liberal approach includes economic expertise.74 However, considering that the Secretariat’s role is explicitly acknowledged by the DSU, in the same manner as expert consultation under Article 13, it can only seem odd that no panel decision has ever recorded or even mentioned information provided by the Secretariat. The discrepancy between, on the one side, the transparency policy regarding expert consultation, other international organizations or amici curiae and, on the other side, the absence of any reference to Secretariat assistance thus inevitably raises questions about the extent and value of the assistance provided by the Secretariat, whose actual role in the proceedings remains concealed in the uncertainty provided by silence.75 72 Sir R. Y. Jennings, International Lawyers and the Progressive Development of International Law, in J. Makarczyk (ed.), Theory of International Law at the Threshold of the 21st Century – Essays in Honour of Krzystof Skubiszewski (1997), 416. 73 See C. A. Thomas, Of Facts and Phantoms: Economics, Epistemic Legitimacy, and WTO Dispute Settlement, 14 JIEL (2011), 317. 74 C. P. Bown, The WTO Secretariat and the Role of Economics in DSU Panels and Arbitrations, in C. P. Bown, J. Pauwelyn (eds.), The Law, Economics and Politics of Trade Retaliation in WTO Dispute Settlement (2010), 391. 75 For lack of accessible information there are few studies of the role of the Secretariat, but see H. Nordström, The WTO Secretariat, 39(5) Journal of World Trade (2005), 819; and Bown, supra note 74. Andrea Hamann 130 This, in turn, raises procedural and systemic issues. On the one hand, it is true that Article 13 enables panels to “seek information and technical advice from any individual or body it deems appropriate” (Article 13 para. 1, emphasis added) and, more generally, “from any relevant source” (Article 13 para. 2), which leaves room for a broad interpretation. On the other hand, such request for information from outside sources can certainly not be construed so liberally as to allow for an opaque process in which WTO bodies exterior to the adjudicators could staff assistance teams with lawyers and other specialists, and for the panel to use thereby obtained information or knowledge by presenting it as its own. And yet there is ample indirect evidence that lawyers and economists significantly assist the adjudicators. Trade remedy disputes and Article 22 para. 6 arbitral awards on the assessment of damages and the amount of equivalent retaliation make abundantly clear that the calculations are unlikely to be the doing of the panellists and arbitrators alone, and that “outside” bodies are staffing economic (and presumably also legal) support teams to the adjudicating bodies.76 This further raises many questions: are the consulted economists not “experts” in the sense of Article 13 para. 2 DSU? If so, why are they not appointed as such, and their opinion and advice not subjected to the observations of the parties? If not, where do they come from? If they are provided by the Secretariat,77 arguably their assistance could fall under Article 27 DSU. But the WTO has various divisions, among others a Legal Affairs Division, a Rules Division, and an Economics Research and Statistics Division that could equally provide such economists78, in which case the lines drawn by the DSU clearly become blurred, and the adjudicating body – officially the panel or the arbitrator – becomes an indistinct organ of unknown composition. The “in-house expertise” provided by economists (and lawyers) to panels is not prohibited per se, but it is certainly objectionable that this practice operates without any transparency, and completely 76 See on this matter the detailed study of C. P. Bown, ibid. 77 As reported by Marceau, Hawkins, supra note 15, 504. 78 The practice is suggested both by P. Mavroidis and J. Pauwelyn, see P. C. Mavroidis, ‘Let’s Stick Together (and break with the Past)’ (2005) Columbia University Academic Commons (available at; J Pauwelyn, The Use, Non-Use and Abuse of Economics in WTO and Investment Litigation, in J. A. Huerta-Goldman et al., WTO Litigation, Investment Arbitration, and Commercial Arbitration, Kluwer (2013). According to C. Bown as well, the support teams at the panel stage have rarely been staffed with economists provided by the Secretariat. The Use of Ex Curia Experts in International Litigation 131 outside the procedural constraints intended to safeguard the parties’ due process rights. Arguably there is thus little difference between the implication of unidentified economists in panel or arbitral proceedings and the cartographers, hydrographers, geographers, etc. purportedly consulted by the ICJ. Quantitatively, one can even assume that this habit is much more abundant and developed in WTO dispute settlement, considering the number of cases adjudicated and their inherent factual complexity and technical nature. Ghost experts, however convenient they may be for a court and however valuable the input they provide, present a systemic issue to the adjudicative process and the sound administration of justice, and the WTO dispute settlement system evidently calls for no less criticism in this regard and raises no fewer questions than with the ICJ. Mandatory recourse to experts In addition, drawing a comparison between the practice of WTO panels and the ICJ regarding ex curia experts appears to be based on the assumption that both courts enjoy the same discretion in deciding if and when to request assistance. This is not so. While it is true that, in principle, they have a discretionary authority in the matter, WTO dispute settlement has the remarkable feature of providing for mandatory recourse to experts: the SPS Agreement indeed obliges panels to seek expert opinion.79 Article 11 para. 2 thus provides that: In a dispute under this Agreement involving scientific or technical issues, a panel should seek advice from experts chosen by the panel in consultation with the parties to the dispute. To this end, the panel may, when it deems it appropriate, establish an advisory technical experts group, or consult the relevant international organizations, at the request of either party to the dispute or on its own initiative (emphasis added). This formulation calls for two observations. Firstly, panels are under an explicit obligation to seek expert advice in one circumstance: when the dispute involves “scientific or technical issues”. Secondly, one of the means by which the panel can satisfy this requirement is by establishing an expert B. 79 Arguably one could add Article XV para. 2 of the GATT regarding IMF consultation, but as pointed out before the provision does not address panels as such, although it would undoubtedly apply to them. Andrea Hamann 132 group, but this remains discretionary: the only obligation is that the panel seeks expert advice, but whether it obliges by appointing or consulting individuals or an expert group is left to its discretion80. This obligation is strikingly at odds with the discretionary authority to seek expert advice and is therefore remarkable in itself, but its significance in relation to the ICJ must be put into perspective. As noted before, many commentators have indeed referred to the positive practice of WTO adjudicators in comparison to the ICJ’s reluctance to appoint experts. To be fair, however, the number of cases in which WTO panels have requested assistance seems to have little to do with a more favourable inclination towards expert advice. Quite simply, in a great number of the recorded cases in which experts were consulted, panels have sought their advice because they had a legal duty to do so.81 Arguably indeed, any SPS dispute potentially involves “scientific or technical issues”, as they touch on protective domestic measures that need to be based on “scientific principles” and “scientific evidence” (Article 2 para. 2 SPS Agreement), thus requiring a risk assessment. Such risk assessment being scientific by nature, it is unlikely that a panel could make a valid argument that no “scientific or technical issue” was involved, thus dispensing it from consulting experts. Paradoxically, this argument is confirmed by the only case in which the panel seems to have consulted no expert at all, the US – Poultry (China) dispute. But what might seem an anomaly, considering the panel’s legal obligation, is in fact explained by the circumstances of the case. The United States had in fact presented no evidence at all to prove the existence of a risk assessment, nor any other specific scientific justification, and the panel could therefore do little more than conclude that such assessment did not exist, without having to evaluate how it was conducted and whether the US measure was based on it.82 Thus, while the dispute certainly involved “scientific issues”, the panel did not have to address them substantially and, consequently, expert assistance was not needed. But in disputes that call for a substantial assessment of the conformity of a Member’s conduct with WTO rules, the Appellate Body has stressed that “a panel may and should rely on the advice 80 This is confirmed by the Appellate Body in EC – Hormones, supra note 25, para. 147. 81 This is true in particular with respect to the cases cited by Judges Al-Khasawneh and Simma in their joint dissenting opinion in the Pulp Mills case, supra note 4, para. 16. 82 Panel Report, US – Poultry (China), Doc. WT/DS392/R (adopted 29 September 2010), paras. 7.175-7.204. The Use of Ex Curia Experts in International Litigation 133 of experts in reviewing a WTO Member’s SPS measure, in accordance with Article 11.2 of the SPS Agreement and Article 13.1 of the DSU”.83 Seeking expert advice as a requirement of the judicial function? In addition to explicitly obliging panels to seek expert advice in SPS disputes, another distinctive feature of WTO dispute settlement is to constrain a panel’s exercise of its margin of appreciation by imposing a specific standard of review. Indeed, contrary to the ICJ whose discretion is absolute and, in any event, not subject to review, the function of WTO panels is fundamentally framed by Article 11 DSU, which requires them to make “an objective assessment of the matter before [them], including an objective assessment of the facts of the case and the applicability of and conformity with the relevant covered agreements” (emphasis added). The Appellate Body’s previously quoted statement according to which a panel’s authority under Article 13 includes the authority to decide not to seek any information or expert advice at all must therefore be nuanced by a crucial constraint, made apparent in the US – Shrimp case: the panel’s authority under Article 13 “is indispensably necessary to enable a panel to discharge its duty imposed by Article 11 of the DSU to ‘make an objective assessment of the matter before it, including an objective assessment of the facts of the case and the applicability of and conformity with the relevant covered agreements […]’”. 84 Whilst this statement can be read positively, in the sense that it justifies the panel’s wide authority in exercising its investigative powers, it can also be reversed, in the sense that it puts a considerable strain on the panel. Article 11 DSU indeed creates a strong tension between the panel’s discretion regarding the process of determining the facts on the one hand, and its duty to conduct an “objective assessment of the matter” on the other. The point of balance is to be found in the manner in which a panel actually exercises its authority, and which will vary from one case to another. In other words, the incorrect exercise of a panel’s discretion can in itself constitute a violation of its judicial function as tailored by Article 11. At the same time, the standard of review enshrined in Article 11 DSU must be properly framed and defined: how much autonomous “investiga- C. 83 Appellate Body Report, US/Canada – Continued Suspension, supra note 38, para. 592 [emphasis added]. 84 Appellate Body Report, US – Shrimp, supra note 50, para. 106 [emphasis added]. Andrea Hamann 134 tive” initiative can and should be expected of a panel? This is a particularly sensitive issue in WTO dispute settlement, where many a case is brought before the adjudicating bodies after national authorities have already made determinations of the factual situation (for instance risk assessment in SPS disputes, or determinations regarding the existence of a dumping practice or subsidies). This issue was clarified as early as the EC – Hormones case, where the Appellate Body held that “the applicable standard [of review] is neither de novo review as such, nor ‘total deference’, but the ‘objective assessment of facts’”. 85 In other words, panels are prohibited from entirely substituting their own factual investigation and determinations to the evidence presented by the parties, but they are equally prohibited from uncritically relying on factual determinations made by the parties without probing and questioning their conformity with the standards laid out in the WTO agreements. The threshold thus drawn evidently touches upon the issue of whether or not expert consultation is required: panels, as the triers of the facts, are obliged by Article 11 to make use of their authority in such a manner that they are able to meet the required standard of review. This in turn implies that the positive exercise by a panel of its authority under Article 13, by seeking expert advice, may be “indispensably necessary” to an objective assessment of the matter.86 As we will see later, the Appellate Body does not lightly reach the conclusion that there has been a failure by the panel to conduct an objective assessment. However, several disputes have remarkably brought to light that the panels’ discretion to request expert advice can in fact be constrained to the point of vanishing: the standard of review constitutes a mobile cursor which, depending on the circumstances of a case, can require panels to exercise their authority in one manner only, by positively deciding to seek expert assistance. The first dispute to address the issue was Argentina – Textiles, in which Argentina argued that the panel had failed to make an “objective assessment of the matter” by not acceding to the request of the parties to consult with the IMF. The Appellate Body started by noting that a panel is not legally bound by Article 13 para. 2 to consult experts and that it rather enjoys discretionary authority in the matter; consequently, a panel has the 85 Appellate Body Report, EC – Hormones, supra note 25, par. 117. 86 Appellate Body Reports, US – Shrimp, supra note 50, paras. 104 and 106; Japan – Agricultural Products II, supra note 14, para. 127. See also Appellate Body Reports in Canada – Aircraft, WT/DS70/AB/R, 2 August 1999, para. 192; and US – Continued Zeroing, Doc. WT/DS350/AB/R (adopted 04 February 2009), para. 347. The Use of Ex Curia Experts in International Litigation 135 discretion to decide not to seek expert advice, and in the present case the Appellate Body found no inconsistency with the duty to objectively assess the matter.87 It nonetheless expressed mild criticism of the panel’s decision, by emphasizing that “it might perhaps have been useful” to consult with the IMF.88 A more stringent position was taken in the US – Large Civil Aircraft dispute, where the European Union claimed that the panel had failed to objectively assess the matter and thus infringed on the EU’s due process rights by finding there was insufficient evidence to make a determination on one of the US programmes under review. More specifically, the EU contested the refusal of the panel to seek out factual information from the United States that would have enabled it to make the disputed determination. The Appellate Body agreed with the EU, and pointed out that when indispensable information is in the exclusive possession of another party, the panel would be unable to make an objective assessment of the matter – unless it positively exercises its authority by actively seeking out that information.89 In the present case the EU had sought to obtain the information from the US, met persistent refusal and had thus requested the panel to seek it out instead. The panel’s refusal was criticised by the Appellate Body, who considered that this was the “only way” to allow for an objective assessment of the claim, and that the particular circumstances of the dispute “demanded that the Panel assume an active role in pursuing a train of inquiry”.90 Failing to seek the necessary information amounted to compromising the panel’s ability to make an objective assessment, and thus constituted a violation of its obligation under Article 11.91 This decision demonstrates that the conclusion of “insufficient evidence” that a judicial body may be inclined to draw must be handled with great care, at least when it can be subjected to appellate review. It further shows that, even when the proceedings are primarily driven by the parties, the adjudicating body may be duty-bound to exercise all authority required in order to correctly carry out its judicial function. While the present decision dealt with the general power to seek out information, there is no reason why the Appellate Body’s findings should not equally apply to expert consultation under Article 13 para. 2, when such consultation proves nec- 87 Appellate Body Report, Argentina – Textiles, supra note 53, paras. 84-86. 88 Ibid., para. 86. 89 Appellate Body Report, US – Large Civil Aircraft (2nd Complaint), Doc. WT/ DS353/AB/R (adopted 12 March 2012), para. 1129. 90 Ibid., paras. 1143-1144 [emphasis added]. 91 Ibid., paras. 1144-1145. Andrea Hamann 136 essary in order to enable the panel to accomplish its task. In other words, not requesting expert opinion can in itself constitute a wrongdoing, and the Appellate Body has shown its readiness to severely review the exercise of a panel’s authority. But this approach of the adjudicator’s standard of review, however remarkable with regard to the obligation of seeking expert advice that can be derived from it, is obviously not transposable as such to the ICJ, since the Court remains solely responsible for “tailoring” its standard of review. As the Whaling case has revealed, this can lead to what Judge Bennouna has called an “impressionistic” line of reasoning,92 in which the Court, unconstrained in the exercise of its authority, can admit that it is not in a position to determine whether a programme constitutes “scientific research”, decline the definition proposed by the party-appointed experts and yet not appoint independent ones, then go on to identify a standard of review that is nowhere to be found in the treaty under examination, and ultimately, on the basis of a misplaced standard of review, confront a treaty provision whose meaning has not been clarified with the facts of the case. This approach has been widely criticized, including from the bench93 and again with reference to the WTO dispute settlement system and its standard of review, but the fact remains that the ICJ cannot be held to the standards imposed on WTO panels. The utilisation of expert evidence The last matter to be dealt with in a comparative perspective is how expert opinion is used by the ICJ and WTO panels. But once more, the attempted comparison soon reaches its limit of relevance, as the WTO agreements put constraints on the panels of which the ICJ is unburdened. This appears both in respect to the legal authority of expert evidence (A) and its assessment by the adjudicating bodies (B). IV. 92 Whaling in the Antarctic, supra note 3, 341, Dissenting opinion of Judge Bennouna. 93 See Whaling in the Antarctic, supra note 3, dissenting opinions of Judges Owada, Abraham, Bennouna, and Yusuf; the separate opinions of Judges Xue, and Sebutinde; and the declaration of Judge Keith. The Use of Ex Curia Experts in International Litigation 137 Authority of expert evidence Expert evidence is, intrinsically, no different from any other piece of evidence presented, and neither the ICJ nor WTO panels are therefore, in principle, bound to take it under consideration. Expert opinion is only advisory94 and, as for any piece of evidence submitted, the adjudicating body has the authority to accept and consider it or to reject it, or even “to make some other appropriate disposition thereof”.95 The Appellate Body even emphasized that: The fact that a panel may motu proprio have initiated the request for information does not, by itself, bind the panel to accept and consider the information which is actually submitted.96 At the same time, with regard to its substance and authority, it is hardly deniable that expert evidence is different from ordinary evidence, since it is provided by an individual or body with specialized knowledge in an area outside the judge’s technical competence. This could explain why the WTO system has carved out several remarkable exceptions in which panels are legally bound by expert opinion; this incidentally draws a distinction between individual expertise which is advisory only and group expertise.97 The Agreement on Customs Valuation provides that panels “shall take into consideration the report of the Technical Committee”,98 thereby expressing a minimal obligation in the sense that the panel is forbidden to simply ignore expert testimony and has to at least acknowledge the report. The SCM Agreement however takes a more incisive approach regarding the assistance of the Permanent Group of Experts in determining the existence of a prohibited subsidy. Recourse to the PGE may be a discretionary decision of the panel, but once its assistance has been requested the panel is bound: Article 4.5 indeed provides that the PGE’s conclusions “shall be accepted by the panel without modification”. A similar obligation weighs on the panel regarding consultation of the IMF by virtue of GATT Article XV para. 2, which provides that the determinations of the IMF regarding foreign exchange, monetary reserves and balances of payments shall be accepted. This unusual limitation of a court’s discretion could explain why nei- A. 94 This is even made explicit in DSU Appendix 4, para. 6, which provides that “the final report of the expert review group shall be advisory only”. 95 Appellate Body Report, US – Shrimp, supra note 50, para. 104. 96 Ibid., paras. 106, 108. 97 Truilhe-Marengo, supra note 1, 210. 98 Article 19 para. 4 SCM Agreement. Andrea Hamann 138 ther the PGE for subsidies nor the Technical Committee on Customs Valuation have never, so far, been called upon by a panel. To the extent that their conclusions will predetermine the results of the panel’s review, this type of group or institutional expertise may be felt as a severe encroachment on the judicial function, as it effectively neutralizes the panel’s autonomy and constrains its essential role as trier of the facts. Assessment of expert evidence Regarding the weighing and assessment of expert evidence, the same profound differences between both systems appear behind the similar general principles. Neither the ICJ Statute and Rules nor the DSU contain detailed evidentiary rules and the adjudicating bodies thus enjoy a wide discretion.99 In the Nicaragua case the Court thus explicitly stated that: […] within the limits of its Statute and Rules, it has freedom in estimating the value of the various elements of evidence.100 However, it nevertheless seems to have become more attentive to the necessity of clarifying its treatment of the evidence, especially in factually complex disputes. This became apparent in the Armed Activities case, where it took the precaution of explaining its general methodology for assessing the weight, reliability, and value of the evidence submitted,101 and consequently undertook to “map” the different types of evidence and their respective probative value, depending on their content, their origin, their authenticity and their reliability.102 Particular care was again given to the evidential matters in the Genocide cases, where the Court for the first time explicitly distinguished and dealt with three sets of issues – burden, standard, and methods of proof103 – both cases confirming a categorisation of the evidence according to the degree of their probative value. This general B. 99 See in general D. Dwyer, The Judicial Assessment of Expert Evidence (2008). 100 Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Merits), supra note 65, para. 60. 101 Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (DRC v. Uganda), Judgment, ICJ Reports 2005, para. 59. 102 For instance ibid., para. 61. 103 Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro), supra note 8, 43, paras. 202-230; more apparent even in Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Croatia v. Serbia), supra note 8, paras. 167-199 (“Questions of Proof”). The Use of Ex Curia Experts in International Litigation 139 methodology is also reflected in the treatment of expert evidence, where the case law reveals a different positioning of the Court depending on the origin and the content of the evidence. Thus it is not surprising that it is inclined to give great weight to the testimony of court-appointed experts, as they provide independent opinion,104 while it seems to take a much more cautious approach regarding the testimony of party-appointed experts (or expert counsel).105 WTO panels on the other hand do not enjoy the same extent or “quality” of discretion. It is true that the “determination of the credibility and weight properly to be ascribed to […] a given piece of evidence is part and parcel of the fact finding process and is, in principle, left to the discretion of a panel as the trier of facts”.106 It is also true that this discretion includes the freedom for the panel to significantly depart from the value that a party attaches to a given expert report or opinion,107 as well as to accord probative value to a scientific minority opinion.108 However, the similarity with the ICJ’s discretion ends here, and with it the basis for comparing both courts’ practice vanishes. The discretion of WTO panels in the evaluation of expert evidence is indeed not untrammelled, once again because of the panel’s essential obligation to carry out an “objective assessment of the facts of the case”. The standard of review enshrined in Article 11 DSU thereby provides an insurmountable frame for the manner in which panels can and should deal 104 See for instance Corfu Channel (Merits), supra note 14, 21, where the Court emphasized the “guarantee of correct and impartial information”. 105 Regarding the latter, the Court appears to take a nuanced stance mainly based on the content of the expert opinion, and seems to be particularly attentive to evidence against a party’s own interest. In the Nicaragua case, the Court thus considered the evidence of a party against its own interest to be of “superior credibility” (Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Merits), supra note 65, para. 64). Similarly, in the Whaling case the Court quoted the expert appointed by Japan, who had expressed criticism of Japan’s lack of transparency regarding the activities conducted under JARPA II (Whaling in the Antarctic, supra note 3, para. 159). 106 Appellate Body Reports, EC – Hormones, supra note 25, para. 132; EC – Sardines, Doc. WT/DS231/AB/R (adopted 26 September 2002), para. 300; US – Shrimp, supra note 50, para. 104. See also S. Andersen, Administration of Evidence in WTO Dispute Settlement Proceedings, in R. Yerxa, B Wilson (eds.), Key Issues in WTO Dispute Settlement (2005), 177. 107 See for instance Appellate Body Report, Japan – Apples, Doc. WT/DS245/AB/R (adopted 26 November 2003), paras. 232-238. 108 Appellate Body Report, US/Canada – Continued Suspension, supra note 38, paras. 591, 597. Andrea Hamann 140 with expert evidence. To a certain extent, the case law has shown that the Appellate Body is not inclined to lightly blame the panel for violation of its duty under Article 11. In particular, it has stated most clearly that it does not intend to “second-guess” the panel in evaluating the probative value of the evidence submitted,109 and that the panel would have to disregard, refuse to consider, wilfully distort or misrepresent the evidence submitted in order to have failed its obligation to conduct an objective assessment.110 When the Appellate Body held that these attitudes imply an “egregious error that calls into question the good faith of a panel”,111 it became clear that this threshold is not intended to impose specific evidentiary rules on the panel, but more fundamentally to protect the parties’ rights of due process. Consequently, even when the Appellate Body expresses criticism of the panel’s reasoning it does not casually conclude that there has been a failure to objectively assess the facts.112 At the same time, the case law has also revealed that the standard of review can serve another crucial purpose, which is to safeguard the judicial function by establishing a clear-cut distinction between the mandate of the judicial body and the expert’s mandate. The issue was already made apparent in the India – Quantitative Restrictions case, when the Appellate Body held that: A panel may not delegate its judicial function to an international organization that it consults, but must instead critically assess the views of that international organization.113 In concrete terms this means that – with the exception of binding expert evidence – a panel may refer to expert opinion, it may even accord considerable weight to it, but its conclusions must nevertheless be based on its own examination and assessment of this evidence. Once more, this touches upon the point of balance enshrined in the standard of review, which was emphasized in the EC – Hormones case when the Appellate Body rejected 109 Appellate Body Reports, Korea – Alcoholic Beverages, Doc. WT/DS75/AB/R (adopted 18 January 1999), para. 161; EC – Asbestos, Doc. WT/DS135/AB/R (adopted 12 March 2001), para. 177. 110 Appellate Body Report, EC – Hormones, supra note 25, para. 133. 111 Ibid. 112 See for instance Japan – Apples, supra note 107, paras. 227-229, where the Appellate Body felt that the panel “could have been clearer”, but nevertheless found no inconsistency with article 11. 113 Appellate Body Report, India – Quantitative Restrictions, supra note 29, para. 149. For an analysis of the relation between panel and expert, and their respective roles, see also Ngambi, supra note 1, 328-330. The Use of Ex Curia Experts in International Litigation 141 both a de novo review and a deferential review. In other words, under no circumstance can a panel forsake its judicial function by blindly relying on expert evidence, nor can it exceed the inherent limits of this function by discarding expert evidence and substituting its own technical or scientific opinion. This constraint of the standard of review thus has two facets: on the one hand it protects the parties, as the judge can be censured for overstepping his mandate and interfering in matters outside the ambit of its function; on the other hand, it is also a crucial safeguard for the judge, as it asserts the different mandates of both court and experts, and subordinates the latter. Experts may provide their own analysis, they may even be tempted to blend in a legal qualification, but the standard of review should effectively prevent this expert assessment from invading the essential functions of a court of law such as the interpretation of legal terms and the qualification of the facts.114 The importance of an adequately defined and applied standard of review appears in crude light by comparing the Whaling case before the ICJ and the US/Canada – Continued Suspension case before the WTO. In the Whaling case, the ICJ considered that it was not necessary to define “scientific research” in the sense of the treaty but nevertheless ventured onto the unstable ground of deciding whether an activity is conducted “for the purposes of scientific research” (emphasis added), thus drawing a precarious distinction between “scientific research” and activities conducted “for the purposes” of scientific research. How the purpose of an activity can be determined when the allowed aim of such activity (scientific research) has not been defined is as such incomprehensible, but the Court nevertheless carried out this assessment by invoking a standard of review of “reasonableness”. In a nutshell, according to this standard, a programme pursues purposes of scientific research if “the elements of [its] design and implementation are reasonable in relation to its stated scientific objectives”.115 The Court furthermore considered that “this standard of review is an objective one”,116 which might be an unfortunate and misconstrued borrowing from the WTO dispute settlement and its standard of review of “objective assessment”.117 This objective reasonableness in turn was to be assessed based on several elements, including the scale of lethal sampling and the 114 Regarding the ICJ, this point was stressed by Judges Al-Khasawneh and Simma in the Whaling case in their joint dissenting opinion, supra note 4, para. 12. 115 Whaling in the Antarctic, supra note 3, para. 88, see also ibid., para. 67. 116 Ibid., para. 67. 117 For a comparison with the WTO standard of review, see the dissenting opinion of Judge Owada in the Whaling case, supra note 3, para. 33. Andrea Hamann 142 methodology used to select sample size. The bias is immediately apparent: the nature and purpose of a programme is not affected by the methods used, and it can be conducted for purposes of scientific research regardless of the objectionable character of the methods. The Court was not called upon to pass judgment on the quality of the programme, but solely to determine whether it was conducted for the purposes of scientific research. However, absent any assistance from independent experts and on the basis of a questionable standard of review of “objective reasonableness” that is neither explicit in the convention nor implied by it, the Court did exactly what Article 11 DSU prohibits for WTO panels: it assessed the scientific merits of the Japanese whaling programme, ultimately passing judgment on what constitutes best science in its own view.118 This line of reasoning demonstrates a confusion of functions, when the Court’s mandate was exclusively limited to determining whether the special whaling permits were issued “for purposes of scientific research” within the meaning Article VIII of the convention. In the US/Canada – Continued Suspension case before the WTO the panel took exactly the same excessively liberal approach to its function as did the ICJ in the Whaling case – but with the considerable difference that its review could be and was effectively censured on appeal. The Appellate Body made clear that the standard of review according to Article 11 DSU imposes objectivity on the panel and thus necessitates refrain from giving judgment on the scientific value of a domestic risk assessment: The review power of a panel is not to determine whether the risk assessment undertaken by a WTO Member is correct, but rather to determine whether that risk assessment is supported by coherent reasoning and respectable scientific evidence and is, in this sense, objectively justifiable.119 118 For a critical assessment, see S. R. Tully, ‘Objective Reasonableness’ as a Standard for International Judicial Review, 6 J. Int. Disp. Settlement (2015), 546; Mbengue, International Courts, supra note 1, 73; T. Scovazzi, Between Law and Science: Some Considerations Inspired by the Whaling in the Antarctic Judgment, Questions of International Law (2015), 13; Lima, supra note 21; L. C. Lima, Weighing the Evidential Weight of Expert Opinion: The Whaling Case, Questions of International Law (2015), 31; Peat, supra note 1, 286-288; Moncel, supra note 17. 119 Appellate Body Report, US/Canada – Continued Suspension, supra note 38, para. 590. The Use of Ex Curia Experts in International Litigation 143 The manner in which the panel deals with the evidence presented by experts equally comes under the purview of the Article 11 standard of review,120 as neither the panel nor the experts are called upon to appreciate the exactitude of the risk assessment carried out by a Member.121 Furthermore, the panel cannot probe the experts in order to determine whether they would have conducted the risk assessment differently or would have reached a different conclusion. In other words, the panel must be very cautious in the manner in which it approaches and uses expert evidence, as the assistance provided by experts “is constrained by the kind of review that the panel is required to undertake”.122 Its sole function is to determine whether the risk assessment has a valid scientific basis, regardless of its own opinion on its merits. In this case, the Appellate Body severely criticised the panel for its assessment, emphasizing that it had unduly reviewed the experts’ opinions and “somewhat peremptorily decided what it considered to be the best science, rather than following the more limited exercise that its mandate required”.123 However, no such standards can effectively be imposed on the ICJ and this paper can therefore do little more than to conclude by returning to its opening observations, namely that the fundamental differences in the structure of ICJ and WTO dispute settlement neutralize the value of any attempted comparison. The fact remains that both are built and operate on different grounds, and the more active recourse to ex curia experts in the WTO system cannot be reduced to the explanation of a more favourable disposition of the panels, nor can it therefore serve to relevantly criticize the practice of the ICJ and to positively inspire it to change its stance. In the end, this paper has undertaken to compare two judicial systems that are incomparable with respect to court-appointed experts, as the practice of WTO panels is largely determined by legal and institutional constraints of which the ICJ is free. Furthermore, when this precarious comparison touched ground on effectively comparable features, an examination of the practices revealed that behind the apparent discrepancy between both tribunals’ approach to ex curia experts lay the same dubious tendencies of using their discretion and the textual gaps in their statutes to circumvent the appointment of independent experts. Finally, one should not forget that while the ICJ’s avoidance of independent experts may undermine the cred- 120 Ibid., para. 592. 121 Ibid., para. 597. 122 Ibid., para. 592. 123 Ibid., para. 612. Andrea Hamann 144 ibility and authority of certain judgments, and consequently its own, arguably WTO dispute settlement raises the same concern for the exact opposite reason, as it has increasingly appeared that proceedings are excessively science-driven.124 Between too little and too much expertise, the ICJ seems to err on the side of caution, which can certainly not be sustained lastingly without compromising its authority; on the other hand, the extent to which scientific discourse has pervaded WTO proceedings cannot but raise equal alarm, as it may have brought about, in the words of Lorenzo Gradoni: [A] withdrawal of legal normativity which seems to correspond to a rise in power of experts, suppliers of an ‘alternative’ normativity.125 124 See Gradoni, supra note 12, 292, 312, who demonstrates that in many a case, the trier of the facts is, indeed, the expert. See also L. Gradoni, H. Ruiz Fabri, L’affaire des OGM devant le juge de l’OMC: science et précaution sans principes, 21 Diritto del commercio internazionale (2007), 641. 125 Ibid., 317. The Use of Ex Curia Experts in International Litigation 145 L’accès direct de la personne privée à la juridiction internationale : Une comparaison entre l’arbitrage d’investissement et le contentieux de la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme Edoardo Stoppioni* Introduction Pour le jeune chercheur ayant commencé à étudier le droit à une époque où la Commission du droit international s’interrogeait sur la fragmentation du droit international1 et où cette question polarisait fortement les discours doctrinaux, la méthode comparative apparaît comme un outil incontournable pour comprendre l’évolution de l’ordre juridique international. Confronté à un droit international en transformation, passant d’un bric-à-brac à un système organisé,2 le chercheur est désormais obligé de penser la complexité de cet ensemble archipélagique. C’est d’autant plus vrai lorsqu’il s’intéresse au droit international économique. Si un premier mouvement a eu tendance à voir dans cette discipline une monade sans portes ni fenêtres sur le droit international général, la volonté de repenser sa nature, grâce à l’instrument comparatif, lui a progressivement succédé. La méthode comparative est donc venue permettre un regard nouveau sur le droit international des échanges et des investissements.3 I. * Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law. 1 Rapport du Groupe d’étude de la CDI, Fragmentation du droit international : Difficultés découlant de la diversification et de l’expansion du droit international, 2006, A/CN.4/L.702 qui doit être lu en parallèle avec l’étude analytique établie sous sa forme définitive par M. Koskenniemi, sur laquelle il s’appuie (A/CN.4/L.682 et Corr.1). 2 J. Combacau, Le droit international, bric-à-brac ou système, 31(1) Archives de philosophie du droit (1986), 88. 3 Nous faisons ici référence au débat sur le droit applicable devant le juge de l’OMC, divisant la doctrine entre les partisans de la fermeture du système (J. P. Trachtman, Domain of WTO Dispute Resolution, 40 Harv. Int'l. L.J. (1999), 333.) et son ouverture (J. Pauwelyn, The Role of Public International Law in the WTO : How far can we go?, American Journal of International Law (2001), 535). Le débat s’est également élargi à l’arbitrage d’investissement (A. Pellet, Notes sur la ‘fragmentation’ du 147 Toutefois, ce type d’approche a davantage rayonné pour la compréhension des aspects matériels que pour celle des versants procéduraux du droit. Un vaste corps de littérature est consacré à la question des interactions normatives entre le droit international économique et les autres îles de l’archipel, phénomène identifié par la doctrine anglophone comme un débat sur les ‘linkages’,4 alors que c’est avec une moindre intensité que l’outil comparatif a été employé aux fins d’une mise en abîme de la dimension contentieuse de la matière. Dans cette seconde optique, nous allons nous intéresser à la première étape de la procédure contentieuse, la saisine.5 Pour ce faire, l’attention sera principalement portée sur le modèle le plus iconoclaste de saisine en droit international public, celui qui permet l’accès direct de la personne privée à la juridiction internationale, qui n’est plus cantonnée au tout-étatique du contentieux classique. En laissant de côté le contentieux de la fonction publique, opposant un individu à une organisation internationale6 ou le contentieux des juridictions supranationales répondant à une logique d’intégration,7 il s’agira ici de comparer l’arbitrage d’investissement avec le contentieux international de protection des droits de l’homme,8 deux domaines où la personne privée est habilité à saidroit international : Droit des investissements internationaux et droits de l’homme, in Unité et diversité du droit international (2014), 757). 4 Il suffit de penser au mouvement ‘trade and …’, ayant été développé par mimétisme dans la doctrine ‘investment and …’, qui ont croisé les problématiques liées au droit international économique avec les droits de l’homme et le droit de l’environnement notamment. Voir notamment T Cottier et al. (dir.), Human Rights and International Trade (2005), et P-M Dupuy et al. (dir.), Human Rights in International Investment Law and Arbitration (2009). 5 Pour une analyse théorique, E. Jouannet, La saisine en droit international ou la simplicité dans la diversité, in H. Ruiz Fabri, J.-M. Sorel, La saisine des juridictions internationales (2006), 307. 6 Pour une analyse fouillée de la jurisprudence en la matière, voir A.-M. Thévenot- Werner, Le droit des agents internationaux à un recours effectif. Vers un droit commun de la procédure administrative internationale, thèse, Paris 1 (2014). 7 Dans ce cadre, la logique contentieuse est fort différente et s’écarte du modèle de justice consensuelle qui servira de fond à la comparaison. Voir néanmoins pour un excellent tableau P. Cassia, L’accès des personnes physiques ou morales au juge de la légalité des actes communautaires (2002), XII-1042. 8 Cette analyse n’a pas pris la Cour interaméricaine des droits de l’homme comme terme de comparaison constant car seuls les États membres ou la Commission peuvent saisir la Cour directement (article 61 de la Convention interaméricaine). Ainsi, aux fins d’une analyse de la nature du mécanisme d’accès direct de l’individu à la juridiction, sa jurisprudence constitue un élément moins pertinent. Néanmoins, cette dernière a retenu une lecture extrêmement progressiste du droit de Edoardo Stoppioni 148 sir directement la juridiction internationale du fait d’une violation du droit international dans son chef par un État. Théoriser la comparaison. Avant de procéder à cette analyse, encore faut-il interroger la pertinence de la méthode qu’il est envisagé d’utiliser. Il est bien connu qu’un important débat a polarisé les points de vue concernant le but ultime du droit comparé. En schématisant, on peut identifier deux courants : pour certains, le droit comparé ne servirait en réalité qu’à décrire la structure des systèmes observés;9 pour d’autres, il constitue davantage une manière d’« identifier le droit »,10 une « voie de connaissance critique »11 destinée à saisir la « complexité réelle du juridique ».12 Bien plus qu’à décrire la structure des deux contentieux observés, l’emploi de la méthode comparative sert ici à saisir les différences et les ressemblances qui animent la dynamique du droit international économique et du droit international des droits de l’homme, la manière dont leurs postulats idéologiques rejaillissent sur les procédures qui les réalisent. Les deux branches semblent en effet trouver leur origine commune dans la pensée libérale.13 Il n’est pas anodin que les écoles critiques du droit international, participation de l’individu à l’instance, comme le souligne A. A. Cançado Trindade, The Access of Individuals to international justice (2011), 37. De même, n’a pas été retenue comme tertium comparationis systématique la jurisprudence des Comités des Nations Unis, dont le caractère juridictionnel reste débattu mais surtout dès lors que l’accès de l’individu fonctionne à géométrie variable, selon la ratification par les États du protocole additionnel le prévoyant. 9 O. Pfersmann, Le droit comparé comme interprétation et comme théorie du droit, 53(2) Revue internationale de droit comparé (2001), 275. 10 E. Picard, L'état du droit comparé en France, en 1999, 51(4) Revue internationale de droit comparé (1999), 885. 11 H. Muir Watt, La fonction subversive du droit comparé, 52(3) Revue internationale de droit comparé (2000), 503. 12 M.C. Pontherau, Le droit comparé en question(s). Entre pragmatisme et outil épistémologique, 57(1) Revue internationale de droit comparé (2005), 7. 13 E. Tourme-Jouannet, Le libéralisme économique du droit international contemporain : entre objectifs keynésiens et triomphe du libre-échange, in Le droit international libéral-providence : une histoire du droit international (2011), 285-294 : « On retrouve donc en matière économique les implications du tournant contemporain du droit international vers le libéralisme politique de la démocratie, de l’État de droit et des droits de l’homme que nous avons évoqués plus haut. Il n’y a pas de surprise en cela sachant que le libéralisme politique et le libéralisme économique sont intimement liés selon nous, comme on l’a dit à plusieurs reprises au cours de cet ouvrage, dès lors que l’on retrouve dans certains droits et libertés du libéralisme politique les principes qui soutiennent le libéralisme économique – qui n’est pas le capitalisme – comme la liberté de commerce, la propriété privée ou la liberté d’entreprendre ». L’accès direct de la personne privée à la juridiction internationale 149 en raison de leur postulat de départ antilibéral, émettent des réserves aussi bien sur le discours du droit international économique que sur celui des droits de l’homme.14 À ce propos, Anne Orford considère que « focusing on this question of the forms of law embodied in the two fields of trade and human rights is helpful, perhaps even necessary, in developing an understanding of the relationship between liberal democratic politics and global capitalist economics »15, considérations pouvant également être étendues au domaine de l’investissement. Si l’on fait appel à l’histoire des idées, l’origine commune des droits humains et du droit international économique est plus ancienne qu’on le pense généralement. Comme l’a montré Max Weber, dès le Xème siècle, les Républiques maritimes italiennes ont commencé à attribuer aux marchands un droit de citoyenneté du fait, non plus de leur participation à la guerre, mais de leur contribution à l’activité économique de l’État.16 La seconde scolastique du XVIème siècle a continué à creuser ce sillon. Dans son De Indis, Francisco De Vitoria justifie l’existence d’un droit au commerce inoffensif de l’étranger par le fait que le ius gentium interdit de maltraiter l’individu qui ne cause aucun mal à autrui, interdiction dont la ratio legis est située dans le respect de tout être humain imposé par le droit divin.17 On voit bien que, dans un premier temps, la reconnaissance de certains droits de l’individu est entremêlée à l’activité économique de l’étranger et, inversement, que la liberté du commerce dépend des premiers. Dans ce même registre, les premiers penseurs de la libéralisation des échanges ancrent son exigence dans l’idée d’une paix par le commerce favorisant l’épanouissement humain.18 14 R. Bachand, Les théories critiques du droit international aux États-Unis et dans le monde anglophone (2015), 12; R. M. Unger, The critical legal studies movement, 96 Harvard Law Review (1983), 561-675. 15 A. Orford, Beyond Harmonization : Trade, Human Rights and the Economy of Sacrifice, 18(2) Leiden Journal of International Law (2005), 180. 16 M. Weber, La ville (2014). 17 F. De Vitoria, De Indis et De Iure Belli Relectiones, texte de 1696 (E. Nys dir., 1917). Relectio I, section III, 386 : « Sic enim apud omnes nationes habetur in humanum, sine aliqua speciali causa hospites et peregrinos male accipere : contrario autem humanum et officiosum, se habere bene erga hospites : quod non esset, si peregrini male facerent ». 18 Montesquieu, De l’esprit des lois (1748), Livre XX, Chapitres I et II : “Le commerce guérit des préjugés destructeurs; et c’est presque une règle générale que partout où il y a des mœurs douces il y a du commerce, et que partout où il y a du commerce il y a des mœurs douces. […] L’effet naturel du commerce est de porter à la paix. Deux nations qui négocient ensemble se rendent réciproquement dé- Edoardo Stoppioni 150 Néanmoins, la réalisation juridique de ces prémisses idéologiques prend des chemins plus tortueux. Il ne fait pas de doute que la protection internationale de l’opérateur économique précède celle de l’être humain, dès lors que le standard minimum de traitement s’est cristallisé bien avant l’internationalisation de la protection des droits humains. Ces obligations coutumières étaient moins ancrées dans l’idée de protéger l’homme que dans la vision westphalienne d’un lien inextricable entre l’étranger et son État d’appartenance.19 Ce contraste se reflète dans l’architecture du droit international classique. D’un point de vue matériel, les traités de paix, commerce et navigation sont ancrés dans la réciprocité,20 dans le do ut des qui rappelle la logique du compromis économique.21 D’un point de vue procédural, l’institution de la protection diplomatique permet de mettre à nu le fondement viscéralement interétatique du recours juridictionnel dont bénéficiait l’étranger. On assiste toutefois à une rupture progressive avec cette logique. La réciprocité comme base classique du droit des traités est remise en cause, d’abord avec la montée d’instruments de protection des droits de l’homme et de droit humanitaire, qui sont davantage ancrés dans l’exigence de symétrie morale kantienne que dans une logique contractualiste.22 Parallèlement, sur le plan contentieux, toute une kyrielle d’instruments vient propendantes : si l’une a intérêt d’acheter, l’autre a intérêt de vendre; et toutes les unions sont fondées sur des besoins mutuels ”. 19 P.-M. Dupuy, J. Viñuales, Human Rights and Investment Disciplines : Integration in Progress, in M. Bungenberg et al., International Investment Law (2015), 1739, 1743. 20 E. Decaux, La réciprocité en droit international (1980); M. Virally, Le Principe de Réciprocité dans le Droit International Contemporain, t. 122 RCADI (1967). 21 Commission de conciliation franco-mexicaine, Georges Pinson c. États-Unis du Mexique, 19 octobre 1928, RSA, vol. V, 341. 22 TPIY Procureur c. Zoran Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic, Vlatko Kupreskic, Drago Josipovic, Dragan Papic, Vladimir Santic, 14 janvier 2000, § 518 : « Le caractère absolu de la plupart des obligations prévues par les règles du droit international humanitaire vient de la tendance progressive à l’ ‘humanisation’ des obligations de droit international, qui s’illustre par le recul généralisé du rôle de la réciprocité dans l’application du droit humanitaire au cours de ce dernier siècle. Après la Première Guerre mondiale, l’application du droit de la guerre s’est écartée du concept de réciprocité entre les belligérants, ce qui fait qu’en général les règles ont de plus en plus été appliquées par chacun d’entre eux indépendamment de l’éventualité que l’ennemi ne les respecte pas. Ce changement de perspective vient de ce que les États ont pris conscience que les normes du droit international humanitaire avaient avant tout pour vocation, non de protéger leurs intérêts, mais ceux des personnes en leur qualité d’êtres humains. À la différence d’autres normes internationales, comme celles portant sur les traités commerciaux qui peuvent légitime- L’accès direct de la personne privée à la juridiction internationale 151 gressivement mettre en place des voies de recours directes de la personne privée à la juridiction internationale. Dans quelle mesure, alors, cette évolution du mécanisme de saisine témoigne-t-elle réellement d’une évolution paradigmatique? Théoriser l’action. D’un point de vue plus technique, la question de l’accès à la juridiction a fait l’objet d’une longue tentative de théorisation en droit processuel. Le point de départ de cette réflexion se trouve, sans surprise, dans le droit romain et sa conception de l’actio, définie par Celse comme « nihil aliud quam ius persequendi in iudicio, quod sibi debetur ».23 Telle est l’origine de l’idée selon laquelle l’action a précédé intellectuellement la notion de droit substantiel, le droit romain ayant reposé sur une batterie d’actions (in rem, in personam) plutôt que sur des droits subjectifs. Ce n’est qu’une fois que la théorie des droits subjectifs a investi celle du contentieux, que les théoriciens du procès repensent la nature de l’actio en droit romain, afin de la transposer au droit commun. Selon la position traditionnelle (dite aussi subjectiviste ou moniste), prônée par Savigny, l’action ne serait pas autre chose que le droit substantiel mis en mouvement. Il y aurait donc identité entre le droit procédural d’agir en justice et le droit substantiel revendiqué sur le fond.24 À cela s’oppose la théorie de l’autonomie (dite également objectiviste ou dualiste), inaugurée par Windscheid.25 Selon celle-ci, l’actio est désormais séparée du droit substantiel invoqué au fond et est vue comme un droit subjectif autonome (le Klagerecht). La justification de cette scission est bien connue : il existe en effet des droits sans action (comme dans le cas des obligations naturelles) tout comme des actions sans droit (comme dans le cas du contentieux objectif ou de l’action pénale). Cette dissociation doit s’analyser de manière différente selon le contexte : un grand nombre d’ordres juridiques nationaux voit s’affirmer un droit fondamental d’accès au juge; alors que, dans le contentieux international, le principe de justice consensuelle, constamment réitéré par les ment se fonder sur la protection des intérêts réciproques des États, le respect des règles humanitaires ne peut dépendre d’un respect réciproque ou équivalent de ces obligations par d’autres États. Cette tendance inscrit dans les normes juridiques le concept ‘d’impératif catégorique’, formulé par Kant dans le domaine de la morale : il convient de s’acquitter de ses obligations, que les autres le fassent ou non ». 23 Instututiones Iustinianeae, 4.6 De actionibus : « rien d’autre que le droit de poursuivre en jugement ce qui nous est dû » (notre traduction). 24 F. C. von Savigny, System des heutigen römischen Rechts (1841), vol. V, para 204. 25 B. Windscheid, Die Actio des römischen Civilrechts, vom Standpunkte des heutigen Rechts (1856), para 23. Edoardo Stoppioni 152 deux juridictions permanentes,26 a sécrété l’idée selon laquelle ce n’est pas parce qu’un État s’est engagé à prévoir un droit substantiel qu’il a également accepté le règlement juridictionnel des différends qui en découlent.27 On perçoit dans les divisions doctrinales de théorie du procès une gradation d’analyse possible en ce qui concerne la texture juridique de l’action. Celle-ci peut être conçue comme un droit subjectif concret, consistant en un droit à obtenir une décision;28 mais elle peut également être vue comme une simple faculté procédurale, un droit abstrait et complètement déconnecté de la substance du droit revendiqué au fond, un simple droit de provoquer l’exercice de la juridiction.29 On peut donc se demander si ces différentes nuances ne correspondent pas à des compréhensions différentes que la juridiction se fait du mécanisme de recours, permettant aussi d’analyser les deux modalités d’accès direct à la juridiction internationale. Dans le discours juridictionnel international sur la saisine, deux pôles peuvent être identifiés. D’une part, une perspective volontariste conduit à situer la source de la faculté de saisine dans la volonté de l’État d’adhérer à l’instrument de protection internationale ménageant une voie contentieuse. D’autre part, une perspective davantage objectiviste rattache l’existence du droit d’action à l’exigence d’effectivité d’une position juridique méritant protection. Des éléments des deux pôles discursifs sont présents dans les deux contentieux étudiés. Le discours volontariste se retrouve, sans surprise, dans l’arbitrage international, mécanisme laissé à la volonté des parties. De manière similaire, les États membres du Conseil de l’Europe n’ont eu l’obligation d’aménager un accès direct à la Cour qu’à partir de l’entrée en vigueur du protocole n° 11. En revanche, le discours objectiviste renvoie davantage à une philosophie voyant dans les droits humains des objets de valeur universelle30 et qui prône, avant tout, une exigence de pro- 26 Statut de la Carélie orientale, avis du 23 juillet 1923, CPJI, série B, p. 27; CIJ, Affaire de l’or monétaire pris à Rome en 1943 (question préliminaire), arrêt du 15 juin 1954, CIJ Rec. 1954, 32. 27 Activités armées sur le territoire du Congo (nouvelle requête : 2002) (République démocratique du Congo c. Rwanda), compétence et recevabilité, arrêt du 3 février 2006, CIJ Rec. 2006, § 64. 28 A. Wach, Handbuch des deutschen Civilprozessrechts (1885), 21. 29 A. Plósz, Beiträge zur Theorie des Klagerechts (1882), 121. Une position similaire sera reprise par différents auteurs (notamment Rocco, Carnelutti, Degenkolb ou encore Liebman). 30 J. Raz, Human Rights in the Emerging World Order, 1 Transnational Legal Theory (2010), 39-41. L’accès direct de la personne privée à la juridiction internationale 153 tection de ces droits qui ne soit pas illusoire, mais concrète et effective.31 Il renvoie également à l’idée d’un investisseur considéré, dans le Zeitgeist d’une société marchande, comme un ‘sujet sacré’ et méritant d’être protégé en raison de sa ‘fonction sociale’.32 On glisse ainsi d’un premier discours cantonnant la saisine au corollaire de la volonté de soumission de l’État à la juridiction, à un langage d’attribution inhérente à cet homo sacer, à un droit qui lui revient en raison de son identité même. Geneviève Bastid Burdeau avait considéré en 1995 que les systèmes de l’arbitrage d’investissement et celui du contentieux qui se développe devant la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme méritent d’être comparés, dès lors qu’ils prévoient tous deux un droit de recours direct pour des particuliers non identifiés à l’avance, relevant de la « même philosophie » bien que présentant des « différences évidentes et importantes ».33 L’idée que nous nous proposons ici de défendre est celle de la différence de nature entre l’accès direct de l’investisseur au tribunal arbitral et celui du requérant individuel à la juridiction de protection des droits de l’homme. En dépit d’une pluralité d’éléments discursifs convergents dans la jurisprudence, les deux juridictions internationales ont globalement compris l’accès direct de la personne privée de manière distincte. La Cour européenne des droits de l’homme a progressivement façonné un véritable droit d’action individuel, 31 Airey c. Irlande, CEDH Numéro 6289/73, arrêt du 9 octobre 1979, § 24 : « la Convention a pour but de protéger des droits non pas théoriques ou illusoires, mais concrets et effectifs ». 32 M. Chemillier-Gendreau, Droit international et démocratie mondiale (2002), 68-69, selon qui les accords de protection des investisseurs étrangers sont « au cœur des dangers dont le capitalisme dans sa phase actuelle menace nos sociétés », parvenant à « interdire aux États de légiférer à l’égard des investissements étrangers, même pour protéger leur société nationale contre les avancées des multinationales et contre les menaces qu’elles font peser sur la santé, l’emploi, l’environnement ». Il s’agit du « symbole de la nécessité pour le capitalisme de détruire la loi et d’imposer dans la symbolique usurpée d’une loi internationale, le mécanisme de destruction de la potentialité de la loi interne ». 33 G. Bastid-Burdeau, Nouvelles perspectives pour l'arbitrage dans le contentieux économique intéressant les États, 1 Revue de l’arbitrage (1995), 3, 15 : « En réalité le rapprochement paraît davantage s’imposer avec le mécanisme de recours individuel prévu par la Convention européenne des Droits de l’Homme, en dépit des différences évidentes et importantes qui existent entre les deux systèmes. Mais la « philosophie » des deux mécanismes paraît la même : il s’agit dans l'un et l'autre cas d’ouvrir à des particuliers non identifiés à l’avance un droit de recours direct contre un État en vue de sanctionner le respect de l’engagement pris par ce dernier dans un traité international d’accorder un certain traitement à des personnes privées ». Edoardo Stoppioni 154 participant à la logique même de la Convention et essentiel pour son fonctionnement, un droit procédural fondamental de la personne soumise à la juridiction d’un État membre. En revanche, il n’existe pas de droit inhérent de l’investisseur à la saisine du tribunal arbitral. Un tel droit ne saurait être conçu comme un droit humain, mais bien plus comme une faculté procédurale (de provoquer l’exercice de la juridiction) reconnue à un opérateur économique situé et dépendant strictement des limites du consentement de l’État. On ne saurait donc parler dans ce cadre d’un véritable droit d’action individuelle.34 La différence de nature des recours s’impose puisque, comme le constate la théorie du procès, à des exigences de protection différentes correspondent des formes de protection différentes.35 Il sera donc démontré, dans un premier temps, que ces différences tiennent à l’évolution conceptuelle des deux contentieux, à une évolution divergente de leurs postulats de base (I – La perspective diachronique), avant de montrer comment ce décalage idéologique se reflète dans la pratique des juridictions internationales, qui a façonné deux typologies d’accès direct extrêmement divergentes (II – La perspective synchronique). La perspective diachronique En opérant une déconstruction historique de la réflexion sur la nature des mécanismes d’accès direct de la personne privée à la juridiction internationale, on constate que son analyse a longtemps été placée en second plan dans le discours doctrinal (A). Néanmoins, en comparant les travaux préparatoires de la Convention de Washington et de la Convention de sauvegarde des droits de l’homme et des libertés fondamentales, une divergence d’optique apparaît (B). II. 34 Contra D. Burriez, Le droit d’action individuelle sur le fondement des traités de promotion et de protection des investissements, thèse, Paris 2 (2014), 479 : « Ces termes semblent décrire ce droit d’obtenir du tribunal une décision sur le fond, que le droit judiciaire appelle droit d’agir en justice. Il s’est agi dans cette étude d’apprécier cette évolution sur le terrain du droit afin de discuter l’utilité du concept pour le droit du contentieux international. L’étude a permis de la confirmer à plusieurs égards ». 35 H. Motulsky, Le droit subjectif et l’action en justice, Archives de Philosophie du Droit (1964), 215; A. Proto Pisani, Tutela giurisdizionale differenziata e nuovo processo del lavoro, V Foro italiano (1973), 205. L’accès direct de la personne privée à la juridiction internationale 155 Une diversité éclipsée Si l’on essaie de retracer une histoire intellectuelle de l’accès direct de la personne privée à la juridiction internationale, on remarque d’emblée que les analyses de la nature procédurale de ce mécanisme n’abondent guère. Cela peut susciter l’étonnement, compte tenu du fait que, déjà en 1929, l’Institut de droit international s’était intéressé à ce sujet.36 Cette quiétude doctrinale tient au fait que la question de l’accès direct a été reléguée au second plan, ayant toujours été asservie à la réflexion sur la subjectivité de l’individu en droit international (1). En revanche, les deux mécanismes d’accès, celui de l’investisseur et celui du contentieux des droits de l’homme, ont une généalogie intellectuelle différente qu’il convient de mettre en lumière (2). La question de l’accès direct éclipsée par le débat sur la subjectivité Le discours doctrinal relatif au statut procédural de la personne en droit international est marqué par une certaine logique circulaire : l’individu n’a pas à avoir accès direct à la juridiction internationale puisqu’il n’est pas un sujet de droit international, ce qui est le revers du fait que l’individu n’est pas devenu sujet de droit international puisque, inter alia, il n’a pas encore de capacité procédurale dans l’ordre juridique international.37 L’école positiviste, qui a structuré la réflexion sur le droit international à compter des XVIII et XIXèmes siècles, avait fait de l’individu un simple objet du droit des relations interétatiques.38 Cette posture mène à deux interprétations particulières. D’un côté, les traités sont conçus purement et simplement comme des accords entre États et, même lorsqu’ils semblent accorder des droits directement aux individus, ils ne font en réalité qu’obliger les A. 1. 36 Résolution concernant le problème de l'accès des particuliers à des juridictions internationales, IDI Session de New York, 16 octobre 1929, Rapporteur Stelio Séfériadès : « L’Institut de Droit international est d’avis qu’il y a des cas dans lesquels il peut être désirable que le droit soit reconnu aux particuliers de saisir directement, sous des conditions à déterminer, une instance de justice internationale de leurs différends avec des Etats ». 37 Voir sur la complexité de penser la catégorie du sujet la brillante analyse d’H. Ruiz Fabri, Les catégories de sujet du droit international, in SFDI Colloque du Mans, Le sujet en droit international (2005), 55-71. 38 B. Taxil, Recherches sur la personnalité juridique internationale : l’individu, entre ordre interne et ordre international, thèse, Paris 1 (2005), 65. Edoardo Stoppioni 156 États les leur conférer par le truchement de l’ordre interne. D’un autre côté, la faculté de demander l’exécution de l’obligation conventionnelle n’existe que dans les relations entre États contractants; quand bien même le traité organiserait un recours devant un organe juridictionnel international, celui-ci constitue un droit de nature purement instrumentale.39 Les exceptions à l’omniprésence de l’État-requérant dans le contentieux international de l’avant-Seconde Guerre mondiale sont négligées par la doctrine qui ne cesse d’en souligner le caractère ponctuel, sui generis, au surplus régionalement circonscrit.40 On préfère donc utiliser les outils procéduraux permettant à l’individu de réclamer dans l’ordre juridique international en tant que moyen de preuve de l’absence de personnalité juridique de celui-ci. Les mécanismes procéduraux permettant l’accès direct de l’avant-Première Guerre mondiale, qu’il s’agisse de la Cour de justice centre-américaine41 ou de la proposition d’une Cour internationale des prises42 ont reçu peu d’attention. De même, les mécanismes tribunaux arbitraux mixtes de l’après Première Guerre mondiale43 ou l’expérience de la Haute Silésie44 sont quasiment absents des manuels de l’époque.45 On peut néanmoins rappeler la position d’Anzilotti, niant aux tribunaux arbitraux mixtes la nature même de juridictions internationales et préférant y voir des tribunaux étatiques communs, un organe commun vivant en même temps dans les deux ordres juridiques nationaux,46 opinion suivie notamment par Sperduti, selon lequel il s’agit simplement d’ « organes interna- 39 R. Quadri, La sudditanza nel diritto internazionale (1936), 58. 40 F. A. von der Heydte, L’individu et les tribunaux internationaux, t. 107 RCADI (1962), 318 ; F. Capotorti, Cours général de droit international public, t. 248 RCA- DI (1994), 85-90. 41 Voir néanmoins M. O. Hudson, The Central American Court of Justice, 26(4) The American Journal of International Law (1932), 759-786. 42 Principale exception est la thèse de L. Katz, Der internationale Prisenhof (1910). 43 Remarquable à ce propos R. Blühdorn, Le fonctionnement et la jurisprudence des Tribunaux Arbitraux Mixtes créés par les Traités de Paix, 41 RCADI (1932), 137-244. 44 G. Kaeckenbeeck, The international experiment of Upper Silesia : a study in the working of the Upper Silesian settlement, 1922-1937 (1942). 45 M. Erpelding, Upper Silesian Mixed Commission, MPILux Working Paper 5 (2017). 46 D. Anzilotti, Corso di diritto internazionale (1926), 163 : « i tribunali arbitrali misti istituiti in conformità all’art. 304 del trattato di Versailles (e disposizioni corrispondenti degli altri trattati di pace) in quanto decidono controversie fra privati o fra questi e lo stato, sono tribunali costituiti, nell’uno a nell’altro dei due ordinamenti giuridici : ma identica essendone in ogni caso la composizione, identiche le norme secondo cui procedono, assunte come proprie da ognuno dei due Stati me- L’accès direct de la personne privée à la juridiction internationale 157 tionaux de justice interne », constitués sur la base de normes internationales, mais fonctionnant à partir de normes de droit interne.47 Ce type d’analyse positiviste imprègne les travaux ayant abouti à la création des premières juridictions internationales. Au sein du ‘Comité des dix’ auteurs du Statut de la Cour permanente de Justice internationale (CPJI), Ricci Busatti affirmait notamment qu’« il est impossible de mettre les États et les particuliers sur le même plan; les particuliers ne sont pas sujets de droit international, et c’est exclusivement dans le domaine de ce droit que la Cour est appelée à fonctionner ».48 Si l’on remonte aux commissions instituées par les traités d’abolition de l’esclavage, considérées comme les ancêtres des mécanismes internationaux de protection des droits de l’homme, on constate que la procédure ne prévoyait pas d’accès direct de la victime de la violation et qu’aucun statut procédural n’était généralement accordé aux esclaves que l’on visait à protéger, fût-ce celui de témoin.49 Le contentieux devant les commissions mixtes instituées par des traités de paix, commerce et navigation, souvent présenté comme l’ancêtre de l’arbitrage d’investissement, est, quant à lui, fort bien résumé par une décision Dickson Carwheel de 1931 : celle-ci affirmait, avec un certain degré de généralité, que la relation de responsabilité internationale étant purement interétatique, il ne se crée aucun lien juridique à l’égard de l’individu, dès lors que celui-ci n’est point un sujet de droit international.50 Or, si la jurisprudence admet progressivement que l’individu peut bien être titulaire de droits et obligations internationales, son statut procédural reste fortement inhibé, diante la regolare pubblicazione del trattato, identico il valore delle loro decisioni, appaiono come tribunali communi ai due Stati, come un organo unico vivente ad un tempo nelle due sfere giuridiche ». 47 G. Sperduti, L’individuo nel diritto internazionale (1950), 69. Pour une analyse de la pensée de l’auteur en français, faisant le lien avec les idées de sujet matériel et d’intérêt légitime, voir M. Frappier, L’individu, sujet matériel du droit international chez Giuseppe Sperduti, in IHEI, Les grandes pages du droit international – Les sujets (2015), 227. 48 Comité consultatif des juristes, Procès-verbaux des séances du Comité (1920), 208. 49 J. S. Martinez, The Slave Trade and the Origins of International Human Rights Law (2012), 99 : « the voices of these individuals are curiously absent from the courts’ proceedings. Only occasionally did they give testimony as witnesses. They were not directly represented in the trials. And while the slave trade is sometimes described as violating “human rights” in documents from the nineteenth century, the slaves themselves rarely appear in any legal proceedings as claimants of rights. Instead, they are silent bystanders-beneficiaries of the system, to be sure, but hardly active participants in it ». 50 Dickson Car Wheel Company (USA) c. États-Unis du Mexique, Commission États-Unis-Mexique, juillet 1931, IV RSA, 669. Edoardo Stoppioni 158 comme le démontre encore en 1950 la position du gouvernement français défendeur dans le différend Ottoz : Il est exact que, à la différence des tribunaux arbitraux mixtes, la Commission de Conciliation ne peut trancher que des litiges entre Etats; mais les Gouvernements agissent dans l’intérêt — et pour assurer le respect des droits — des ressortissants de leurs pays; c’est surtout et presque exclusivement sur le plan de la procédure que le litige demeure strictement interétatique; sur le fond du droit, la Commission […] est appelée à reconnaître ou à nier l’existence non pas seulement d'une obligation de l’État italien, mais d’un droit subjectif d’un ressortissant d’une des Nations Unies.51 Ce type d’argumentation n’est pas exempt d’un certain nombre d’incohérences, que Politis pointe très tôt du doigt : « on confond la valeur intrinsèque de ces règles avec leur mise en œuvre : si elles s’adressent aux États, c’est uniquement parce que dans l’état actuel de l’organisation internationale, leur réalisation ne peut pas se passer de leur intermédiaire; mais elles visent principalement et directement l’individu ».52 Quelques années plus tard, dans son cours de La Haye de 1962, von der Heydte dénonce que « considérer […] comme sujet de droit uniquement celui qui peut faire valoir un droit soit en justice soit par l’emploi de la force » est un avis qui « confond les causes et les effets ».53 Dans un ouvrage de la même année, Nørgaard souligne que la posture traditionnelle revient à entretenir un amalgame entre la question de la possession de droits et obligations avec celle de la capacité procédurale à être demandeur ou défendeur en justice.54 Quoi qu’il en soit, l’introduction d’une historicité conduit à percevoir le caractère parfois stérile de la réflexion classique sur le sujet. Cela ne veut pas dire que le contentieux international mixte, ayant explosé de nos jours, n’ait pas considérablement concouru au développement de la personnalité active des personnes privées en droit international.55 Il suffit notamment de penser à la récente sentence Urbaser, qui arrive à affirmer que : 51 Différend Ottoz, Commission de conciliation franco-italienne, décision n° 85 rendue le 18 septembre 1950, RSA, vol. XIII, pp. 232-242, p 236. 52 N. Politis, Les nouvelles tendances du droit international (1927), 7. 53 F. A. von der Heydte, L’individu et les tribunaux internationaux, t. 107 RCADI (1962), 307. 54 C. A. Nørgaard, The Position of the Individual in International Law (1962), 11. 55 A. Peters, Beyond Human Rights – The Legal Status of the Individual in International Law (2017). L’accès direct de la personne privée à la juridiction internationale 159 In light of this more recent development, it can no longer be admitted that companies operating internationally are immune from becoming subjects of international law.56 Une généalogie idéologique différente Si on essaie de retracer l’évolution de la réflexion sur l’action individuelle, on constate que celle-ci surgit de deux manières différentes dans les deux champs étudiés. En effet, en droit international des investissements, il existait de longue date une pratique d’arbitrage commercial où l’État était parfois amené à intervenir comme défendeur face à une personne privée, dans le cas de contentieux portant sur des contrats d’État.57 La réflexion doctrinale intervient en aval par rapport à ce phénomène qu’elle essaie de théoriser : la question qui se pose est celle de savoir si ces contrats sont ancrés dans l’ordre juridique international, ce qui a donné naissance au débat sur la Grundlegung.58 Ainsi, l’une des premières réflexions doctrinales en la matière, celle de Mann en 1944, reprend un corps consistant de sentences arbitrales rendues dès le début du XIXème siècle afin de systématiser une pratique déjà foisonnante d’arbitrage mixte.59 Au contraire, dans le cadre des droits de l’homme, la réflexion théorique a servi de terreau à l’émergence du recours individuel. Le tournant libéral de la doctrine internationaliste à partir de la fin du XIXème siècle avait déjà permis de théoriser l’élévation au niveau du droit international de certains droits de la personne humaine60 : ainsi, Fiore en 189061 ou Mandelstam dans l’entre-deux-guerres62 parviennent à dresser une liste de six droits fondamentaux devant être internationalisés. Le recours individuel semble 2. 56 Urbaser S.A. and Consorcio de Aguas Bilbao Bizkaia, Bilbao Biskaia Ur Partzuergoa c. République d’Argentine, affaire CIRDI n. ARB/07/26, sentence du 8 décembre 2016, § 1195. 57 Voir parmi les différents cours de La Haye sur le sujet, les remarquables analyses de Ch. Leben, La théorie du contrat d’Etat et l'évolution du droit international des investissements, t. 302 RCADI (2003), 212-263. 58 P. Mayer, Le mythe de l‘ordre juridique de base’ ou ‘Grundlegung’, in RIDC, Le droit des relations économiques internationales : études offertes à Berthold Goldman (1982), 199-216. 59 F. A. Mann, The Law Governing State Contracts, BYBIL (1944), 11-33. 60 M. Koskenniemi, The gentle civilizer of nations : the rise and fall of international law 1870–1960 (2001), 11-97, surtout 54. 61 P. Fiore, Le droit international codifié et sa sanction juridique (1890), 87-90. 62 A. Mandelstam, La protection internationale des droits de l’homme (1931). Edoardo Stoppioni 160 donc sceller et prolonger l’exigence d’une protection internationale des droits de la personne. Jean Spiropoulos a été l’un des premiers à comparer les deux types de recours directs.63 En reprenant une bipartition assez répandue à l’époque, il distingue entre l’action de l’individu contre l’État étranger et l’action de l’individu contre son propre État. Cette summa divisio reflète déjà l’émergence d’un discours de divergence entre les deux mécanismes : le premier destiné à protéger un étranger dans le chef duquel le standard minimum de traitement était violé, le second voué à faire valoir au plan international le respect de certains droits fondamentaux dus par l’État à ses ressortissants (conception ayant largement évolué de nos jours). Spiropoulos distingue donc les deux cas de figure en raison de la nature différente de droits immédiats issus de l’ordre juridique international dans les deux cas et de la position différente de l’individu en question par rapport à la souveraineté de l’État. Les intuitions de Spiropoulos sur l’évolution du contentieux trouvent d’ailleurs confirmation dans le foisonnement de la pratique juridictionnelle de la seconde moitié du XXème siècle, où l’individu-demandeur joue un rôle central. Cette évolution a été considérée comme un changement de paradigme, que l’on a pu résumer par l’idée d’humanisation du droit international. C’est ainsi que Maurice Bourquin intitule un célèbre article datant de la moitié du siècle, théorisant l’évolution d’un droit qui n’est plus enfermé dans les sphères de la haute politique, mais parle désormais un langage plus humain.64 C’est le début d’une vague idéologique qui, en réaction aux atrocités de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, prône l’émergence d’une volonté axiologique tendant à faire du droit international un instrument de protection de l’homme, caractérisant le passage du droit international classique au droit international contemporain.65 On assiste du moins à un changement de posture intellectuelle par rapport au modèle 63 J. Spiropoulos, L’individu et le droit international, t. 30 RCADI (1929), 192- 270. Voir également l’article d’A. K. Fortas, L’individu sujet de droit international selon Jean Spiropoulos, in IHEI, Les grandes pages du droit international – Les sujets (2015), 273. 64 M Bourquin, L’humanisation du droit des gens, in La technique et les principes du droit public : études en l’honneur de George Scelle (1950), 21-54. 65 R. Cassin, L’homme, sujet de droit international et la protection des droits de l’homme dans la société universelle, in La technique et les principes du droit public : études en l’honneur de George Scelle, t. 1 (1950), notamment 81-82; A.A. Cançado Trindade, International Law for Humankind : Towards a New Jus Gentium – General Course on Public International Law, 316 RCADI (2005), notamment 252-317. L’accès direct de la personne privée à la juridiction internationale 161 positiviste, l’homme est désormais placé au cœur du droit des gens aussi bien par la lecture sociologique de Scelle,66 que par la récupération du premier jusnaturalisme, notamment des œuvres de Vitoria et Grotius, dans les pages d’Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade aujourd’hui.67 Le ius standi de l’individu est alors conçu comme le corollaire de ce processus d’humanisation, dès lors qu’il reflète l’idéal universalisant des droits de l’homme.68 Néanmoins, cette idée semble pouvoir décrire seulement une partie de la question et négliger l’existence de phénomènes collatéraux comme l’accès de l’investisseur aux tribunaux arbitraux, des fonctionnaires aux juridictions spécialisées ou de l’ouverture du Tribunal international du droit de la mer (TIDM) aux particuliers dans des cas résiduels.69 Il convient par ailleurs de souligner que, en l’état actuel du contentieux international, la personne morale bénéficie également de possibilités de recours et que cette faculté n’est nullement exclusive de la personne humaine.70 66 G. Scelle, Précis de droit des gens (1932), 9, qui soutient que seul l’individu peut être sujet de l’ordre juridique, interne ou international : « si la qualité de sujet de droit n'appartient pas à tous les individus et ne leur appartient pas uniformément, elle ne peut cependant appartenir qu'à des individus. Elle est en effet un attribut social de la volonté ». 67 A. A. Cançado Trindade, The access of individuals to international justice (2011), 15. 68 P. Guggenheim, Les principes de droit international public, t. 80 RCADI (1952) 116, 121 : « seulement dans le cadre de la protection des droits de l’homme qu’on a cherché à donner à l’individu en droit international une capacité juridique immédiate dépassant la position fragmentaire ». 69 Pour un excellent panorama utilisant cette clef de conceptualisation, voir J. A. Pastor Ridruejo, La humanización del derecho internacional y el acceso del individuo a sus instituciones jurisdiccionales, in Y. Gamarra Chopo (dir.), Lecciones sobre justicia internacional (2009), 13-24. 70 Concernant de la faculté d’action de la personne morale, la question déborde du cadre de cette étude; voir D. Müller, La protection de l’actionnaire en droit international (2015). De manière impressionniste, nous pouvons rappeler que l’arbitrage d’investissement tend à n’établir aucune différence entre les droits procéduraux d’un investisseur personne privée ou personne morale. La raison idéologique réside dans le fait qu’on considère l’action dans une société locale en tant qu’investissement et qu’on ne fait point de différence entre actionnaires minoritaires et majoritaires (CMS Gas Transmission Company c. République d’Argentine, affaire CIRDI n° ARB/01/8, décision du comité ad hoc du 25 septembre 2007, § 73). Cela conduit le plus souvent à un phénomène problématique de multiplication des contentieux en tiroirs, des procédures parallèles et concurrentes par rapport à un même complexe factuel (E. Gaillard, Abuse of Process in International Arbitration, 32(1) ICSID Review (2017), 17-37.). En revanche, dans le contentieux CEDH, la prise en compte de la personnalité morale conduit à une distinction des rôles procéduraux : les actionnaires Edoardo Stoppioni 162 En revanche, la perspective constitutionnaliste va au-delà de cette notion d’humanisation. Anne Peters a notamment abordé cette évolution de manière bien plus transversale, en soulignant que la transformation du rôle de l’individu dans l’ordre juridique international intervient également « jenseits der Menschenrechte », au-delà des droits de l’homme, dès lors que celui-ci tire de l’ordre juridique international toute une série de droits subjectifs qui débordent largement le périmètre de ceux-là.71 La question sera donc de savoir si l’accès à la juridiction internationale peut être, dans les deux cas, qualifié de droit subjectif de l’individu ou si une nuance peut être introduite. Une diversité sous-jacente L’évolution du discours sur l’accès de l’individu à la juridiction internationale fait émerger l’existence d’une différence d’optique entre les deux champs analysés, différence qui se retrouve dans les travaux préparatoires des deux principaux instruments aménageant aujourd’hui ce type de recours (1). Cela ne saurait étonner, dès lors que la nature du recours reflète une configuration différente de la position de l’individu par rapport à l’action de l’État souverain (2). B. n’agissent individuellement que pour défendre leurs intérêts propres, qui ne sauraient être revendiqués par la société. La Cour affirme clairement dans Agrotexim que « la Cour n’estime justifié de lever le "voile social" ou de faire abstraction de la personnalité juridique d’une société que dans des circonstances exceptionnelles, notamment lorsqu'il est clairement établi que celle-ci se trouve dans l’impossibilité de saisir par l’intermédiaire de ses organes statutaires ou – en cas de liquidation – par ses liquidateurs les organes de la Convention. La jurisprudence des cours suprêmes de certains Etats membres du Conseil de l'Europe va dans le même sens. La Cour internationale de Justice a également consacré ce principe en ce qui concerne la protection diplomatique de sociétés (arrêt Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company Limited, du 5 février 1970, Rec. CIJ 1970, avis consultatifs et ordonnances 1970, pp. 39 et 41, paras. 56-58 et 66) » (CEDH Agrotexim c. Grèce, arrêt du 24 octobre 1995, requête n° 14807/89, § 66). 71 A. Peters, Jenseits der Menschenrechte : Die Rechtsstellung des Individuums im Völkerrecht (2014), 469. L’accès direct de la personne privée à la juridiction internationale 163 Une diversité résultant des travaux préparatoires Témoins de l’évolution idéologique qui a conduit à l’insertion d’un mécanisme d’accès direct de l’individu à la juridiction dans les engagements conventionnels, les travaux préparatoires de la CEDH et de la Convention CIRDI, les deux instruments qui ont le plus contribué à cette évolution à ce jour, révèlent deux logiques distinctes ayant motivé depuis le début une différence d’approche. Les minutes de la Conférence des Hauts Fonctionnaires, réunis sous l’égide du Conseil de l’Europe en juin 1950, attestent que la naissance du recours individuel au sein du contentieux européen des droits de l’homme tient à une proposition norvégienne tendant à l’ « ouverture d’une voie de recours à l’individu ».72 Cette proposition sera immédiatement accueillie avec enthousiasme par le représentant français, M. Chaumont, qui tentera d’en motiver le bien-fondé en rappelant qu’il est un « principe général du droit que l’action en justice suit nécessairement le droit reconnu ».73 Dans ces mots transparaît l’influence de la théorie subjectiviste héritée de Savigny et qui voit dans l’action le simple prolongement du droit subjectif de l’individu. Cette vision subjectiviste du recours individuel va se répercuter sur la jurisprudence de la Commission des droits de l’homme. En effet, dans une décision De Vos c. Belgique de 1958, celle-ci semble avoir adhéré aux raisons idéologiques alléguées au sein de la conférence des parties pour interpréter la nature de l’article 25 de l’époque. De son avis, « le droit de recours à la Commission figure parmi [l]es droits et libertés » reconnus dans la Convention.74 La Commission ne va pas jusqu’à affirmer que l’article 25 incarne simplement les droits garantis par la Convention mis en mouvement, mais présente le recours individuel comme ayant la consistance d’un véritable droit individuel, protégé par la Convention au même titre que les autres droits de l’homme, en restant attachée à une lecture tendanciellement subjectiviste de l’action. Cette décision ne fait pas figure de cas isolé. La Commission a développé toute une jurisprudence concernant les cas d’États empêchant la communication du requérant avec elle. Dans ces cas, la Commission semble admettre que, si l’individu peut démontrer que 1. 72 Conseil de l’Europe, Nature juridique de l’obligation découlant de l’article 25 a) in fine de la Convention – Note du Secrétariat, A86.480, 2 : « Dans le compte rendu de la séance du 10 juin 1950 […], M. Sund (Norvège) se déclare partisan de l’ouverture d’une voie de recours à l’individu ». 73 Ibid. 74 CommEDH, De Vos c. Belgique, décision du 20 mars 1958, requête n°219/56. Edoardo Stoppioni 164 cette atteinte lui a causé un préjudice matériel ou moral, une violation d’un droit au recours individuel est envisageable.75 On ne saurait néanmoins lire ce contentieux de manière exclusivement subjective, puisque la Commission a clairement énoncé que le droit de recours constitue également le pilier de « l’ordre public européen »,76 réintroduisant donc une dimension objective. Une optique différente ressort des travaux préparatoires de la Convention de Washington. La question de l’accès direct de la personne privée et des entreprises est présentée par Aron Broches, président du Comité consultatif des experts juridiques chargés de la rédaction de la Convention, comme la raison centrale de l’exigence d’un tel instrument conventionnel.77 Cela est cristallisé dans le préambule duquel on déduit l’importance de l’arbitrage mixte aux fins de la dépolitisation des litiges liés à l’investissement. La préférence pour un règlement pacifique mixte l’emporte sur les motivations liées aux droits subjectifs des investisseurs. Au sein du Comité, il est question d’un « novel right of direct access »78 de la personne privée à un forum international. Le président Broches resitue ce débat dans la continuité de la reconnaissance progressive de l’individu en tant que sujet de droit international,79 en adoptant une perspective différente du Comité des dix. Le représentant chilien inscrit la Convention dans la lignée des affirmations des internationalistes qui avaient longtemps proclamé que l’individu était porteur de droits et obligations également sur le plan international. Néanmoins, il déclare également, de manière très significative, que la Banque mondiale transposait au plan international certaines initiatives comparables existant préalablement seulement au niveau régional, c’est-à-dire celle de la Cour de justice centre-américaine et de la Cour de justice des Communautés européennes.80 Le choix de ne pas se référer aux juridictions protégeant les droits de l’homme ne tient certainement pas au hasard. 75 CommEDH, Ganthaler c. RFA, décision du 10 janvier 1959, requête n°363/58. 76 CommEDH, Autriche c. Italie, décision sur la recevabilité du 11 janvier 1961, requête n°788/60. 77 Intervention du président A. Broches au sein du Comité consultatif des experts juridiques, séance du 29 avril 1964, in History of the ICSID Convention (1968), vol. II(1), 495. 78 Intervention de M. Mankoubi (Togo) au sein du Comité consultatif des experts juridiques, séance du 20 décembre 1963, in History of the ICSID Convention (1968), vol. II(1), 293. 79 Intervention du président A. Broches au sein du Comité consultatif des experts juridiques, séance du 3 février 1964, in History of the ICSID Convention (1968), vol. II(1), 303. L’accès direct de la personne privée à la juridiction internationale 165 De manière générale, la justification du nouveau mécanisme procédural réside dans des considérations pragmatiques qui sont bien plus présentes que la logique de droits subjectifs appartenant à l’investisseur. Il est question d’accorder une faculté nouvelle à l’investisseur, lui permettant de s’émanciper des dysfonctionnements et des lacunes du règlement interétatique des différends, et non pas de lui reconnaître un droit découlant naturellement de la protection internationale. Aux objections de ceux qui préfèrent un mécanisme de règlement des différends interétatique, Broches répondait en effet que : [T]his progressive development of international law might be especially valuable in cases where smaller States had to deal with investors from larger countries, and the likelihood of successful inter-State negotiations was somewhat reduced. The Convention proceeded on the assumption that, in the stated situations, States would be willing to have direct dealings with investors.81 Il est davantage question ici d’une volonté des États d’accorder un mécanisme procédural que de reconnaître un droit fondamental de l’individu. Ce mécanisme répondrait, en effet, à des nécessités de rééquilibrage des asymétries de puissance économique existant dans la communauté internationale et non pas à celui d’humanisation qui se reflète dans la Convention de sauvegarde. De plus, la Convention de Washington ne contient aucun droit substantiel, alors que la Convention européenne de sauvegarde des droits de l’homme et des libertés fondamentales est dédiée à leur proclamation. Le glissement de la lecture du droit de recours du mécanisme procédural vers un droit de l’individu est facilité par ce contexte. Une diversité dépendant de la relation de l’individu à l’État L’optique de l’histoire des idées adoptée suggère également un parallèle entre l’émergence de l’accès direct de l’individu à la juridiction internationale et la formation du recours de droit public de l’individu dans l’ordre interne. 2. 80 Intervention de M. Brunner (Chili) au sein du Comité consultatif des experts juridiques, séance du 12 juin 1964, in History of the ICSID Convention (1968), vol. II(1), 305. 81 Intervention du président A. Broches au sein du Comité consultatif des experts juridiques, séance du 28 avril 1964, in History of the ICSID Convention (1968), vol. II(1), 495. Edoardo Stoppioni 166 En premier lieu, il a été démontré que le recours administratif est le résultat d’une évolution politico-idéologique propre au XIXème siècle qui ne voit plus dans l’individu un simple objet de la puissance publique, mais progressivement le détenteur de droits publics subjectifs.82 Après une première moitié du siècle durant laquelle cette idée originaire a été déconstruite, c’est lors de la seconde moitié que surgit une réflexion sur l’architecture juridique du recours à proprement parler. En droit international, le débat intellectuel sur le recours est décalé d’un siècle : c’est lors de la première moitié du XXème siècle que l’on situe la pars destruens et pendant sa deuxième que débute une pars costruens, non encore achevée. Néanmoins, une communauté idéologique de base est frappante : cette première idée fait remarquablement écho à la conclusion du cours de La Haye de Jean Spiropoulos,83 prônant la remise en cause de l’ancienne vision hégélienne de la souveraineté ‘absolue’ de l’État et la prise de conscience de l’existence de droits subjectifs immédiats que l’individu tient de l’ordre juridique international. L’accès direct de l’individu à la juridiction internationale ne peut être pensé que si l’on se détache de la vision de l’État propre au positivisme classique. La doctrine essaie de tirer les conséquences de cette évolution de différentes manières. D’un côté, dans l’optique du constitutionnalisme global, l’individu est devenu un véritable sujet du droit international et titulaire de droits subjectifs d’origine internationale.84 De l’autre, l’on peut situer le rejet même de la dichotomie objet-sujet comme non-pertinente : c’est ce que fait l’École de New Haven qui préfère voir dans la personne privée un « participant » au processus décisionnel du droit international et souligner que la rareté de l’accès direct de celui-ci aux juridictions internationales n’était donc pas due à la nature du droit international.85 En tout état de cause, l’individu est à tout le moins devenu un « usager » certain du droit international et n’est plus totalement asservi à l’État souverain.86 82 A. Gaillet, L'individu contre l'État; essai sur l'évolution des recours de droit public dans l'Allemagne du XIXe siècle (2012), 26. 83 Spiropoulos, supra note 63, 265. 84 A. Peters, The Subjective International Right, 59 Jahrbuch des öffentlichen Rechts der Gegenwart (2011), 411-456. 85 R. Higgins, Conceptual Thinking about the Individual in International Law, 4(1) British Journal of International Studies (1978), 1-19. 86 E. Roucounas, The Users of International Law, in M. H. Arsanjani et al. (dir.), Looking to the Future : Essays on International Law in Honor of M.W Reisman (2010), 217-234. L’accès direct de la personne privée à la juridiction internationale 167 En second lieu, la comparaison des recours de droit public montre que la différence entre eux dépend de la relation entre la structure du recours et la relation de l’individu face à l’État.87 Ainsi, la différence entre le recours de l’investisseur et le recours de la personne en matière de droits de l’homme peut être théorisée en raison de la position différente qu’a l’individu face à l’État dans les deux cas. Opérateur économique dans le premier, revendiquant des droits de traitement accordés par la puissance souveraine qui a admis l’investissement sur son territoire, il s’agit dans le second d’une personne titulaire de droits humains en raison de sa simple soumission à l’autorité de l’État et de sa nature même.88 C’est également ce que semble affirmer le juge Cançado Trindade dans l’une de ses opinions dissidentes : The juridical capacity varies in virtue of the juridical condition of each one to undertake certain acts. Yet although such capacity of exercise varies, all individuals are endowed with juridical personality. Human rights reinforce the universal attribute of the human person, given that to all human beings correspond likewise the juridical personality.89 La perspective synchronique Les discours des juridictions étudiées révèlent une analyse hétérogène de la nature de l’accès direct à la juridiction internationale. Le vocabulaire des juges permet de constater une différence de posture dans les deux cadres (A). Ce décalage s’explique et se reflète surtout dans le contentieux préliminaire, lieu de formation du lien d’instance où se cristallise donc la compréhension que le juge se fait du principe de justice consensuelle (B). III. 87 A. Gaillet, Der Einzelne gegen den Staat. Die Geschichte der Rechtsbehelfe des öffentlichen Rechts in Deutschland und Frankreich im 19. Jahrhundert, 129(1) Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte. Germanistische Abteilung (2012), 109-149, 111, qui parle d’une « Zusammenhang zwischen der Struktur der Rechtsbehelfe und dem Grundverhältnis zwischen dem Einzelnen und dem Staat ». 88 H. Ruiz Fabri, Droits de l’homme et souveraineté de l’État : les frontières ont-elles été substantiellement redéfinies?, in Mélanges Fromont, Les droits individuels et le juge en Europe (2001), 371. 89 Juridical Condition and Human Rights of the Child, CIADH avis consultatif OC-17/2002 du 28 août 2002, opinion dissidente d’A. A. Cançado Trindade, § 34. Edoardo Stoppioni 168 Un contentieux révélateur de la nature du recours La lecture des discours juridictionnels permet de mettre en évidence un décalage entre les vocabulaires employés par les deux juridictions. Si la jurisprudence de la CEDH a façonné un véritable « droit fondamental » au recours individuel (1),90 la pratique arbitrale reste divisée quant à la qualification de l’accès à l’arbitrage comme droit de l’investisseur (2). Un droit fondamental au recours devant la juridiction européenne Déjà dans les travaux du Secrétariat de la Commission sur la nature de l’obligation insérée à l’article 25 de la CEDH, trois options différentes concernant la nature juridique du droit de recours individuel étaient distinguées : dans une première perspective, le droit de recours serait un droit individuel et subjectif reconnu par la Convention, comparable à ceux du titre premier ; dans une perspective opposée, aucun droit individuel ne correspond à l’obligation de l’État de prévoir un recours individuel, qui implique simplement un lien procédural entre la Commission et l’État défendeur ; dans une optique intermédiaire, il s’agirait d’un droit individuel sui generis, de nature procédurale et non matérielle, projetant sur le plan du contentieux international les droits protégés par la Convention.91 Si la jurisprudence de la Commission semblait pencher vers la première branche, la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme opte davantage pour la troisième conception dans sa jurisprudence relative à l’article 34 de la Convention. C’est notamment la jurisprudence en matière d’extradition et respect des mesures conservatoires relatives à la personne réclamée qui a offert à la Cour l’occasion d’identifier la nature et la consistance du recours individuel. Dans son arrêt Cruz Varas de 1991, elle affirme déjà que le recours individuel est un « droit de nature procédurale, à distinguer des droits matériels énumérés au titre I de la Convention », qui est soumis à l’adage Airey selon lequel la Convention doit s’interpréter comme garantis- A. 1. 90 E. Lambert-Abdelgawad, La saisine de la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme, in H. Ruiz Fabri, J.-M. Sorel La saisine des juridictions internationales (2006), 212. 91 Conseil de l’Europe, Nature juridique de l’obligation découlant de l’article 25 a) in fine de la Convention – Note du secrétariat, A86.480, 49-56. L’accès direct de la personne privée à la juridiction internationale 169 sant des droits concrets et effectifs et non pas théoriques et illusoires.92 C’est surtout l’arrêt Mamatkoulov et Askarov qui, tout en abandonnant la position de 1991 concernant le caractère non obligatoire des mesures conservatoires, va donner des précisions fondamentales concernant la texture normative du droit au recours individuel.93 La Cour y précise que celui-ci est « l’un des piliers essentiels de l’efficacité du système de la Convention » ; il en est une « disposition clé » qui participe du « caractère singulier de la Convention » en tant que traité de garantie collective des droits de l’homme, et donc aussi de l’exigence d’effectivité de ses dispositions. Cette analyse se pérennise au fil de la jurisprudence, qui acte le retour de certaines idées fondamentales : le droit de recours individuel est un droit de nature procédurale, relevant du noyau dur des droits protégés par la Convention, dont l’exigence d’effectivité est centrale aux fins de la garantie du système conventionnel, notamment depuis son évolution avec le protocole n° 11.94 Ainsi, il ne semble pas exagéré d’affirmer qu’une telle jurisprudence a reconnu un véritable droit d’action individuelle qui devient, grâce à la configuration post protocole n° 11, un « droit inconditionnel d’accès direct à la Cour européenne ».95 Le débat sur la titularité des droits et les contre-mesures touchant l’investisseur Cette analyse n’est pas transposable au cas de l’arbitrage d’investissement. Dans ce cadre, c’est le contentieux portant sur les contre-mesures qui a donné lieu à des réflexions prétoriennes sur la nature des droits de l’inves- 2. 92 Cruz Varas et autres c. Suède, CEDH arrêt du 20 mars 1991, Requête no 15576/89, § 99 : « Il confère de la sorte au requérant un droit de nature procédurale, à distinguer des droits matériels énumérés au titre I de la Convention et dans les protocoles additionnels. Il résulte toutefois de l’essence même de ce droit que les particuliers doivent pouvoir se plaindre de sa méconnaissance aux organes de la Convention. A cet égard aussi, la Convention doit s’interpréter comme garantissant des droits concrets et effectifs, et non théoriques et illusoires (arrêt Soering précité, série A no 161, p. 34, § 87, avec les références) ». 93 Mamatkoulov et Askarov c. Turquie, CEDH arrêt du 4 février 2005, Requêtes nos 46827/99 et 46951/99, § 100-102. 94 Chamaïev c. Géorgie et Russie, CEDH arrêt du 12 avril 2005, Requête no 36378/02, § 470-472; Aoulmi c. France, arrêt du 12 janvier 2006, Requête no 50278/99, § 103-107. 95 S. Bartole, B. Conforti et G. Raimondi, Commentario alla Convenzione europea per la tutela dei diritti dell'uomo e delle libertà fondamentali (2001), 626-627. Edoardo Stoppioni 170 tisseur. En effet, dans le cadre de l’ALENA, plusieurs investisseurs ont attaqué le Mexique en raison de mesures fiscales considérées discriminatoires. Selon la défense mexicaine, les faits contestés n’étaient autres que des contre-mesures licites, adoptées en réponse aux actes illicites commis par l’État de nationalité de l’investisseur. Pour évaluer la validité de l’argument, le tribunal arbitral devait se prononcer sur la titularité des droits découlant du traité bilatéral d’investissement (TBI) : en prenant ses contre-mesures, le Mexique avait-il affecté les droits de l’État auteur présumé de l’illicite ou bien les droits d’un tiers détenteur de ces droits, c’est-à-dire de l’investisseur? Cette saga a donné lieu à une réflexion plus générale sur la typologie des droits en cause, qui a divisé la jurisprudence et la doctrine.96 Trois postures peuvent être distinguées. La première, dite théorie des droits dérivés, identifie dans les différents droits de l’investisseur des droits purement interétatiques : l’investisseur acquiert un droit de réclamation qui n’est en réalité qu’une faculté procédurale lui permettant de se substituer à l’État, « stepping into the shoes »97 de celui-ci. La sentence Loewen avait déjà ébauché l’idée selon laquelle les investisseurs seraient simplement « permitted for convenience to enforce what are in origin the rights of Party states ».98 Il s’agirait ici d’une sorte de renforcement de la protection diplomatique99 ou d’une protection diplomatique inversée impliquant un endossement des droits de l’État.100 Telle semble être la position du Conseil d’État français selon qui un TBI « ne crée d’obligations qu’entre 96 N. Iwatsuki, '国籍国に対する対抗措置としての正当性と投資家への対抗可能 性' 14-J-008 RIETI Discussion Paper Series (2014). L’auteur resitue dans une perspective historique la question de la pertinence de l’argument des contre-mesures en tant qu’élément de défense pour l’État ayant violé le droit de propriété des étrangers investissant sur son territoire. Il suggère qu’au cœur du débat se trouve une question d’interprétation du TBI : est-ce qu’on considère la relation investisseur-État comme complètement déconnectée de celle interétatique? 97 Archer Daniels Midland Company and Tate & Lyle Ingredients Americas, Inc. c. États-Unis du Mexique, affaire CIRDI n° ARB (AF)/04/5, sentence du 21 novembre 20007, § 163. 98 Loewen Group, Inc. and Raymond L. Loewen c. États-Unis, affaire CIRDI n° ARB(AF)/98/3, sentence du 26 juin 2003, § 233. 99 J. Crawford, ILC's Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts : A Retrospect, 96 AJIL (2002), 874, 888. 100 M. Forteau, La contribution au développement du droit international général de la jurisprudence arbitrale relative aux investissements étrangers, IV(1) Anuário Brasileiro de Direito Internacional (2009), 38 : « sorte de protection diplomatique inversée qui conduit à voir dans l’action contentieuse de l’investisseur étranger un endossement des droits de l’État ». L’accès direct de la personne privée à la juridiction internationale 171 les deux États signataires »,101 ainsi que celle de la Cour constitutionnelle allemande.102 La position intermédiaire, définie parfois comme théorie des droits contingents, a été consacrée par la sentence Archer Daniels. Celle-ci affirme que les investisseurs sont doués de droits procéduraux leur permettant de faire valoir de manière indirecte des droits substantiels qui restent dans la sphère interétatique.103 Ainsi, par une analogie contractuelle, ils sont des « third parties beneficiairies of the treaties ».104 En revanche, la théorie des droits directs prend le pari de comprendre les droits de l’investisseur comme lui étant propres et directement issus des instruments de protection. C’est la position défendue dans les sentences Corn et Cargill, et confirmée par les juridictions anglaises.105 La première affirme clairement 101 Conseil d’État, arrêt du 21 décembre 2007, n°280264 (inédit au recueil Lebon) : « Considérant que les stipulations de l'article 3 de l'accord entre le gouvernement de la République française et le gouvernement de la République algérienne démocratique et populaire sur l'encouragement et la protection réciproques des investissements, signé à Alger le 13 février 1993 ne crée d'obligations qu'entre les deux États signataires; que M. A ne peut donc utilement s'en prévaloir à l'appui de ses conclusions dirigées contre la décision lui refusant un visa d'entrée en France ». 102 Bundesverfassungsgericht, Beschluss des Zweiten Senats vom 8. Mai 2007, 2 BvM 1/03 – Rn. (1-95), § 51 (dans la version allemande, § 54 dans la version anglaise) : « From an international-law point of view, the specific feature of the arbitration of disputes before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes is that private individuals are able to complain as claimants of the violation of an international agreement concluded between states. In terms of content, therefore, the violation of an obligation is complained of which is owed not directly to the private applicant, but to his or her home state, although the protective purpose of the agreement targets the interests of private investors. Rights and obligations of the opposing state emerge in such case constellations from an international agreement which as a rule contain a separate necessity clause; thus, such rights and obligations emerge from a relationship governed by international law ». 103 Archer Daniels Midland Company, supra note 97, § 163-166, 173. 104 A. Bjorklund, Private Rights and Public International Law : Why Competition Among International Economic Law Tribunals Is Not Working, 59(2) Hastings Law Journal (2007-8), notamment 265. 105 Occidental Exploration and Production Company v. Ecuador, Court of Appeal arrêt du 9 septembre 2005 (2005), EWCA Civ. 1116, § 19-22 : « treaties may in modern international law give rise to direct rights in favor of individuals acting on their own behalf and without their national state’s involvement or even consent ». Edoardo Stoppioni 172 que l’investisseur détient des « rights of its own »106 et la deuxième clarifie que « investor possesses not only procedural rights of access, but also substantive rights ».107 Ce débat appelle deux sortes de commentaires. Premièrement, il est parlant que la même querelle existe en droit international pénal où il demeure débattu si la coutume internationale prohibant les crimes contre l’humanité s’impose à un niveau interétatique et ne fait que rejaillir sur l’individu,108 ou bien si elle aboutit à imposer des obligations internationales directement dans le chef des individus.109 Le débat sur la titularité de l’immunité des hauts fonctionnaires de l’État en matière pénale a une configuration similaire.110 Ainsi, l’on voit que la matrice intellectuelle de la subjectivité de l’individu continue de poser des problèmes bien concrets. Deuxièmement, s’il n’est pas ici utile de prendre position sur la titularité des droits substantiels, il est nécessaire de souligner la différence conceptuelle dans le maniement du recours individuel dans les deux jurisprudences. L’existence même du débat dans le contentieux arbitral montre que l’on ne saurait inconsidérément qualifier l’accès direct de l’investisseur de droit subjectif, ou encore moins établir une quelconque équivalence entre les droits substantiels de protection de l’investisseur et sa faculté procédurale d’agir devant le tribunal arbitral. Les partisans du modèle des droits directs ont souvent une compréhension des droits issus des TBI comme relevant de la catégorie des droits de l’homme, de sorte qu’ils établissent un parallèle entre la nature du régime juridique mis en place par les TBI et les traités de protection des droits de l’homme, presque par équivalence normative entre les deux instruments. Or, ce rapprochement peut faire l’objet 106 Corn Products International, Inc. c. États-Unis du Mexique, affaire CIRDI n° ARB (AF)/04/1, sentence du 18 août 2009, § 174-176. Dans le § 173, le tribunal rappelle qu’il faut abandonner la fiction Mavrommatis quand on lit l’arbitrage d’investissement, « there is no need to continue that fiction in a case in which the individual is vested with the rights to bring claims of its own ». 107 Cargill, Incorporated c. États-Unis du Mexique, affaire CIRDI n° ARB(AF)/05/2, 18 septembre 2009, § 423. Au § 426, le tribunal précise qu’il ne faut pas confondre l’origine interétatique des droits avec les « holders of those rights ». Par rapport au droit d’accès direct, le tribunal prône l’abandon de la fiction Mavrommatis en citant explicitement la Cour d’appel britannique (§ 386). 108 R. Maison, La responsabilité individuelle pour crime d’État en droit international public (2004). 109 B. Bonafé, The Relationship between State and Individual Responsibility for International Crimes (2009). 110 Pour un tableau du débat doctrinal, voir R. Pisillo Mazzeschi, The functional immunity of State officials from foreign jurisdiction : A critique of the traditional theories, Questions of International Law (2015). L’accès direct de la personne privée à la juridiction internationale 173 d’une critique fondamentale, dès lors que la nature des obligations étatiques est foncièrement différente : dans le cas des traités de protection des droits de l’homme, il s’agit d’obligations intégrales qui protègent des intérêts extraétatiques, alors que, dans le cadre des TBI, la réciprocité reste au cœur de l’instrument conventionnel dont la nature des obligations demeure synallagmatique.111 En ce qui concerne la nature du mécanisme d’accès direct, force est de constater que la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme a bien affirmé que le droit au recours individuel participe de la philosophie générale de la Convention comme instrument de protection des droits de l’homme. Dans l’arbitrage d’investissement, la logique normative étant différente, le mécanisme d’accès direct ne peut être lu à la même lumière d’un droit fondamental d’accès à la juridiction internationale. Cette différence se reflète dans les deux contentieux. Un contentieux préliminaire portant l’empreinte de la nature du recours Sans prétendre à l’exhaustivité, cette dernière partie veut démontrer que la nature procédurale différente du mécanisme d’accès à la juridiction se reflète également dans l’appréhension prétorienne de toute une série de questions contentieuses. La saisine n’est pas une question de compétence, dès lors qu’il est nécessaire de distinguer nettement consentement à la compétence et consentement à la saisine; néanmoins, elle possède un certain lien avec l’analyse des questions de compétence qui influencent le traitement du contentieux préliminaire.112 La divergence des discours dans ce cadre s’explique à deux égards. D’une part, le contraste tient à une conception différente de la place de l’État par B. 111 A. Gourgourinis, Investors’ Rights Qua Human Rights? Revisiting The ‘Direct’/’Derivate’ Rights Debate, in M. Fitzmaurice (dir.), The Interpretation and Application of the European Convention of Human Rights (2012), 147-182. L’auteur critique ouvertement la position de Zachary Douglas, The International Law of Investment Claims (2009), 94, qui établit une équivalence normative fort contestable entre tous les « international treaties that confer rights directly upon non-state actors, such as the European Convention on Human Rights, the Algiers Accords establishing the Iran/US Claims Tribunal, bilateral investment treaties, NAFTA, the Energy Charter Treaty, ASEAN and the ICSID Convention ». 112 M. Forteau, La saisine des juridictions internationales à vocation universelle (CIJ et TIDM), in H. Ruiz Fabri, J.-M. Sorel, La saisine des juridictions internationales (2006), 45-52. Edoardo Stoppioni 174 rapport au mécanisme de saisine dans le cadre de la CEDH et de l’arbitrage d’investissement (1). D’autre part, l’origine de la protection internationale est conçue de manière profondément différente par les juridictions en matière de droits de l’homme et de droit de l’investissement étranger (2). Deux analyses différentes de la place de l’État L’une des différences les plus frappantes qui se dégagent des deux raisonnements prétoriens relativement à la nature de l’accès direct est liée au rapport qu’entretient l’État défendeur avec celui-ci. Dans le cadre de la CEDH, la Cour a en effet progressivement dégagé de l’article 34 de la Convention toute une série d’obligations, l’État ne pouvant « entraver par aucune mesure l’exercice efficace de ce droit ». La logique de l’existence d’un véritable droit à la saisine du requérant est ici très forte, la Cour ayant clairement affirmé que la finalité de cette règle est de « garantir l’effectivité du droit de recours individuel ».113 Premièrement, la Cour a progressivement fait découler de cette disposition non pas seulement des obligations négatives, d’abstention de tout comportement tendant à rendre l’exercice du droit au recours plus complexe, mais également des obligations positives qui vont dans le sens d’un renforcement de la coopération de l’État avec la Cour en fournissant tous les éléments probatoires nécessaires à une analyse de l’affaire.114 Il n’est pas anodin, notamment dans une optique comparative, de souligner qu’il existe bien des cas de violation de l’article 34 eo ipso.115 1. 113 Paladi c. Moldavie, CEDH arrêt du 10 mars 2009, Requête n°39806/05, § 87. Voir aussi Sindicatul « Păstorul Cel Bun » C. Roumanie, CEDH arrêt du 9 juillet 2013, Requête n°2330/09, § 79 parlant d’une « obligation de garantir l’effectivité du droit de recours individuel ». 114 Bazorkina c. Russie, CEDH arrêt du 27 juillet 2006, Requête n°69481/01, § 170 : « The Court reiterates that proceedings in certain type of applications do not in all cases lend themselves to a rigorous application of the principle whereby a person who alleges something must prove that allegation, and that it is of the utmost importance for the effective operation of the system of individual petition instituted under Article 34 of the Convention that States should furnish all necessary facilities to make possible a proper and effective examination of applications ». La Cour renforce ce principe en lisant l’article 34 comme une lex specialis, à comprendre également à la lumière de l’article 38 (§ 175). 115 Ex multis : Lambor c. Roumanie (n°1), CEDH arrêt du 24 juin 2008, Requête n °64536/01, § 217 : « En ce qui concerne enfin les allégations du requérant relatives aux pressions auxquelles l’auraient soumis deux médecins militaires qui exerçaient leurs fonctions à la prison de Timişoara, la Cour considère qu’on peut y voir des actes d’intimidation, qui, combinés avec la non-communication au re- L’accès direct de la personne privée à la juridiction internationale 175 Deuxièmement, la jurisprudence de la Commission et de la Cour a progressivement déduit du caractère fondamental de ce droit de recours le fait que les réserves à l’article 25 (puis 34) de la Convention n’étaient pas « autorisées par cet article »,116 dès lors qu’elles sont incompatibles « avec l’objet et le but du système »117 conventionnel. L’apport de la jurisprudence Belilos et Loizidou va dans le sens d’une confirmation de l’opinion dissidente d’Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade dans l’affaire Castillo Petruzzi, selon laquelle le droit au recours individuel est perçu par les juridictions de protection des droits de l’homme comme la pierre angulaire du système conventionnel.118 En revanche, dans l’arbitrage d’investissement, la logique du droit au recours doit être rejetée. Cela tient à la lecture de la condition de compétence ratione voluntatis du tribunal arbitral.119 Comme a pu le souligner Brigitte Stern, [I]t is of the utmost importance not to forget that no participant in the international community, be it a State, an international organization, a physical or legal person, has an inherent right of access to a jurisdictional recourse.120 quérant des documents dont il avait besoin pour étayer sa requête devant la Cour s’analysent en une entrave au droit de recours individuel garanti par l’article 34 de la Convention. Cette conclusion s’impose d’autant plus que le requérant, qui était enfermé dans un espace clos et avait, de ce fait, peu de contacts avec ses proches ou avec le monde extérieur, se trouvait dans une situation particulièrement vulnérable ». 116 Belilos c. Suisse, CEDH arrêt du 24 avril 1988, série A, n°132, § 42. 117 Loizidou c. Turquie, CEDH arrêt du 23 mars 1995, Requête n°15318/89, § 75. 118 Castillo Petruzzi and others v. Peru, CIADH décision sur les exceptions préliminaires du 4 septembre 1998, opinion dissidente, § 35 (« the right of individual petition is undoubtedly the most luminous star in the universe of human rights »). Voir aussi A. A. Cançado Trindade, Las cláusulas pétreas de la protección internacional del ser humano : El acceso directo de los individuos a la justicia a nivel internacional y la intangibilidad de la jurisdicción obligatoria de los tribunales internacionales de derechos humanos, 1 El Sistema Interamericano de Protección de los Derechos Humanos en el Umbral del Siglo XXI-Memoria del Seminario (1999), 3-68. 119 Forteau, supra note 112, 11 : « Le principe du consentement à la juridiction fait obstacle en effet au développement au sein de ce dernier [le contentieux interétatique] d’un droit de saisir le juge, y compris en cas d’atteinte à des normes fondamentales ». 120 Impregilo S.p.A. c. République d’Argentine, affaire CIRDI n° ARB/07/17, opinion dissidente de B. Stern du 21 juin 2011, § 53. Edoardo Stoppioni 176 Cette particularité du contentieux international a animé une certaine critique de l’arbitrage d’investissement, critique qui implique néanmoins une méconnaissance du rôle du consentement de l’État. Si la pratique est allée vers un élargissement considérable des conditions de compétence du tribunal, fortes ont été les critiques mues par une utilisation de l’arbitrage contraire à ce postulat de départ. L’exemple le plus évident en est la question de l’emploi de la clause de la nation la plus favorisée en matière procédurale121 : l’investisseur n’ayant pas un droit fondamental à la saisine du tribunal arbitral, les dispositions procédurales sont considérées par une partie des arbitres comme étant à distinguer foncièrement des clauses de protection matérielle et devant être comprises à l’aune du principe de justice consensuelle.122 La tendance jurisprudentielle opposée part du présupposé, inconciliable avec l’essence consensuelle de l’arbitrage d’investissement, selon lequel l’accès au tribunal arbitral fait partie intégrante de la protection internationale de l’investisseur et en est même la pierre angulaire. En poussant à l’extrême le discours du droit au tribunal arbitral, on parviendrait à accepter l’hypothèse, explorée par certains, que l’offre d’arbitrage elle-même devienne coutumière, ce qui transformerait l’arbitrage d’investissement en un contentieux obligatoire généralisé que l’État n’a pas à accepter à l’avance, mais qui s’impose à lui. En présence d’une telle règle, « State consent would be deemed to be established on the basis of an unwritten rule ».123 Les professeurs Audit et Forteau, ayant étudié cette hypothèse, reconnaissent que tel n’est pas l’état du droit actuel, mais y voient une possible évolution progressive du contentieux préliminaire et considèrent qu’une telle coutume est in statu nascendi.124 Cette hypothèse, aussi spéculative qu’elle puisse être, appelle deux ordres de perplexité. Premièrement, force est de constater qu’une telle règle renverserait complètement la logique consensuelle qui gouverne le contentieux international aujourd’hui : on serait face à un droit coutumier de l’investisseur au tribunal arbitral, un « right to international arbitration that any investor could acti- 121 À ce sujet E. Stoppioni, The Jurisdictional Impact of MFN Clauses, MPILux Working Paper 3, 2017, 26 p. 122 Voir sur ce point l’opinion dissidente de B. Stern précitée et celle de L. Boisson de Chazournes dans Garanti Koza LLP c. Turkmenistan, affaire CIRDI n° ARB/11/20 du 3 juillet 2013. 123 M. Audit et M. Forteau, Investment Arbitration without BIT : Toward a Foreign Investment Customary Based Arbitration?, 29(5) Journal of International Arbitration (2012), 585. 124 Ibid., p. 586-590. L’accès direct de la personne privée à la juridiction internationale 177 vate against any State »125 qui viendrait se substituer à un « principle of State consent in inter-State disputes [that] is not entirely relevant within the framework of the law of foreign investments ».126 Nous avons démontré ailleurs que l’optique du droit au juge sied mal au contentieux de droit international public127 et on voit mal en quoi elle siérait plus à l’arbitrage transnational. Deuxièmement, il nous semble délicat d’affirmer qu’il existe une pratique générale acceptée comme étant de droit en ce sens, surtout à une époque où la pratique conventionnelle des États va dans le sens inverse. Il suffit de penser aux États d’Amérique latine dont certains n’ont jamais voulu insérer de clause de règlement des différends dans leurs TBI (comme le Brésil) et d’autres sont en train de dénoncer la Convention de Washington pour ne plus être attraits devant des tribunaux arbitraux. On peut remarquer aussi la volonté des États de détailler toujours davantage, dans les nouveaux traités, les conditions posées dans la clause de règlement des différends à l’encontre d’une acceptation large du règlement arbitral des différends relatifs à l’investissement (il suffit de penser au nouveau modèle indien128 ou bien aux différents dispositifs contre le forum shopping dans le projet TAFTA129). En outre, et contrairement à ce que fait la Cour européenne, on ne saurait dégager des dispositifs d’arbitrages des obligations négatives ou positives de l’État d’accueil quant à l’accès de l’investisseur à l’arbitrage. Pour s’en convaincre, il suffit de se référer au cas particulier du consentement à l’arbitrage donné par l’État défendeur dans une loi nationale. Ici, l’État peut retirer à tout moment l’offre d’arbitrage formulée, ce qui devrait donc mettre un terme à la faculté procédurale de l’investisseur de saisir le tribunal arbitral.130 Cela ne veut pas dire que le comportement de l’État qui ferait obstacle au bon déroulement de l’arbitrage ne doive pas être sanctionné d’une manière ou d’une autre, mais la logique de l’obligation positive d’assurer la pleine jouissance du droit de l’investisseur à l’arbitrage ne semble pas une clef de lecture pertinente. 125 Ibid., p. 587. 126 Ibid., p. 597. 127 Stoppioni, supra note 121. 128 Voir le très détaillé article 14 concernant le règlement des différends dans le TBI modèle de 2015. 129 Voir le projet de la Commission européenne concernant d’articles 14 et 15 TAF- TA. 130 Voir la très intéressante opinion dissidente de B. Stern dans l’affaire ABCI Investments N.V. c. République de Tunisie, affaire CIRDI n° ARB/04/12, opinion du 14 février 2011. Edoardo Stoppioni 178 Deux analyses différentes de l’origine de la protection internationale Les différences dans la conception globale de la nature de l’accès se reflètent également dans l’appréhension prétorienne de l’origine de la protection internationale : si le système de l’arbitrage d’investissement vise à protéger une personne privée située, le contentieux des droits de l’homme protège une personne soumise à la juridiction d’un État partie à la Convention. Dès lors que le seuil qui permet le déclenchement des obligations internationales est différent, la conception de l’accès à la juridiction internationale assume des contours différents. Cette idée s’appuie sur la notion d’« investissement protégé », dégagée dans la sentence Phoenix où le tribunal complète le test Salini avec les conditions de légalité et de bonne foi.131 La décision adopte une approche téléologique de la protection internationale,132 en analysant la finalité de l’arbitrage d’investissement, pouvant opérer exclusivement dans l’optique d’accorder une protection internationale à un certain type de personne privée. L’investisseur n’est point protégé iure suo mais en raison de l’opération dont il est porteur et qui a une signification pour l’État d’accueil. Il doit être un opérateur économique, qui a investi de bonne foi dans l’économie locale en respectant les conditions d’accès au territoire de l’État d’accueil, que celui-ci a souverainement posées. De plus, la nationalité de l’investisseur est un élément central pour pouvoir jouir de la protection internationale,133 comme démontré notamment par le contentieux de l’abus de procédure consistant dans le changement de nationalité après l’émergence du litige dans le seul but de se ménager l’accès à l’arbitrage international.134 2. 131 Phoenix Action Ltd. c. République Tchèque, affaire CIRDI n° ARB/06/5, award, 15 April 2009, § 114 : “To summarize all the requirements for an investment to benefit from the international protection of ICSID, the Tribunal considers that the following six elements have to be taken into account : 1 – a contribution in money or other assets; 2 – a certain duration; 3 – an element of risk; 4 – an operation made in order to develop an economic activity in the host State; 5 – assets invested in accordance with the laws of the host State; 6 – assets invested bona fide”. 132 B. Stern, The Contours of the Notion of Protected Investment, 24(2) ICSID Review (2009), 534 – 551. 133 U. Kriebaum, The Nature of Investment Disciplines, in Z. Douglas et al. (dir.), The Foundations of International Investment Law (2014) 47, 60, à comparer avec U. Kriebaum, Nationality and the Protection of Property under the European Convention on Human Rights, in I. Buffard et al. (dir.), International Law between Universalism and Fragmentation (2008), 649-666. 134 H. Ascensio, Abuse of Process in International Investment Arbitration, 13 Chinese Journal of International Law (2014), 763-770; pour une analyse récente et L’accès direct de la personne privée à la juridiction internationale 179 Tout au contraire, au sein du contentieux des droits de l’homme, la nationalité du requérant ne constitue pas une condition d’accès à la protection internationale. Celle-ci est remplacée par la notion de juridiction, clairement affirmé à l’article 1er de la CEDH, puisque « Les Hautes Parties contractantes reconnaissent à toute personne relevant de leur juridiction les droits et libertés définis au titre I », notion qui n’est pas circonscrite au territoire de l’État comme le démontre toute la jurisprudence sur l’extraterritorialité de la Convention. D’ailleurs, si l’on s’intéresse à la signification théorique de cette dernière, on peut retrouver les arguments mis en avant dans notre première partie. En effet, comme l’a démontré Samantha Besson,135 la compréhension que la Cour a, notamment depuis l’affaire Al- Skeini,136 de la juridiction de l’État est celle de l’exercice d’une autorité politique et juridique, entraînant ainsi le devoir juridique de respecter les obligations en matière de droits de l’homme. Dans cette optique, « jurisdiction qua normative relationship between subjects and authorities actually captures the core of what human rights are about qua normative relationship between right-holders and institutions as duty bearers ».137 On peut conclure de cette analyse comparative de l’origine de la protection que le rapport qu’entretiennent l’État et la personne privée est différent dans les deux cas, dès lors qu’il puise sa source dans deux liens juridiques substantiellement et normativement distincts. Dans le contentieux des droits de l’homme, le recours individuel est motivé par la simple soumission d’une personne à l’autorité que l’État exerce dans sa juridiction et dont elle a été victime. Dans l’arbitrage d’investissement, le recours ne s’adresse qu’à un type particulier de personnes privées, en raison de leur instrumentalité pour une opération économique à laquelle l’État d’accueil a accepté au préalable d’accorder une protection internationale. C’est donc un autre argument illustrant que l’accès direct de l’investisseur à la juridiction internationale ne saurait être assimilé à un parangon unique. Sa nuance change avec toute une série de facteurs, parmi lesquels la physionomie du contentieux. reprenant l’évolution prétorienne sur le sujet, voir Transglobal Green Energy, LLC and Transglobal Green Energy de Panama, S.A. c. République de Panama, affaire CIRDI n° ARB/13/28, sentence du 2 juin 2016, § 102-103. 135 S. Besson, The Extraterritoriality of the European Convention on Human Rights : Why Human Rights Depend on Jurisdiction and What Jurisdiction Amounts to, 25(4) Leiden Journal of International Law (2012), 857-884. 136 Al-Skeini e.a. c. Royaume-Uni, CEDH arrêt du 7 juillet 2011, Requête n °55721/07, notamment § 130. 137 Besson, supra note 135, 860. Edoardo Stoppioni 180 * * * Le but principal de ce voyage à travers les discours jurisprudentiels autour de l’accès de la personne privée à la juridiction internationale a montré les potentialités d’une réflexion théorique et comparative pour contribuer à l’étude du droit international procédural, vocation première du département de l’Institut Max Planck dont la naissance est célébrée par cet ouvrage. Face à une branche du droit qui n’a pas encore atteint sa maturité, les analyses des grands théoriciens du procès de même que la comparaison des contentieux peuvent donc aider à structurer une grille d’analyse. En effet, l’étude de l’étape initiale du contentieux international au sein des deux mécanismes semble révéler deux conceptions philosophiques différentes de l’accès direct à la juridiction internationale. Cette conclusion est possible en observant la morphologie des deux contentieux, dès lors que « ce n’est pas la volonté de l’auteur, du saisissant, qui produit l’obligation pour le juge d’examiner la demande, mais le système juridique luimême qui confère une qualité et un intérêt à agir à une personne physique ou morale pour accomplir cet acte et lui attache des effets de droit ».138 Reprendre les catégories des grands théoriciens du procès nous permet de concevoir la mesure dans laquelle la logique contentieuse des deux systèmes diverge. La Cour européenne voit dans l’article 34 de la Convention un droit subjectif de nature procédurale qui relève de la logique de protection des droits de l’homme propre à la Convention : clef de voûte de son fonctionnement, aucune réserve n’est admise à cette disposition, dont le juge fait découler des obligations positives à la charge de l’État. L’arbitre d’investissement ne se place pas dans cette optique d’humanisation de l’ordre juridique international et reste ancré à une logique davantage liée au consentement de l’État qui a admis souverainement l’opération économique sur son territoire. Si le droit de recours individuel est conçu comme un droit fondamental par la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme, un tel discours s’adapte mal à l’architecture de l’arbitrage d’investissement. Dans ce cadre, on a pu isoler deux discours différents : celui de l’absence de droit inhérent et celui emprunté à l’idée d’un droit fondamental au tribunal arbitral. L’analyse qui précède a mis en avant que cette deuxième branche du discours arbitral procède d’une lecture contestable du système lui-même. Le mécanisme d’accès à l’arbitrage reste, en effet, une faculté procédurale instrumentale et déconnectée de la protection substantielle. 138 Jouannet, supra note 5, p. 312. L’accès direct de la personne privée à la juridiction internationale 181 The Procrustean Bed of Colonial Laws: A Case of the British Empire in India Parvathi Menon* “The goddess of British Justice, though blind, is able to distinguish unmistakably black from white”—Bal Gangadhar Tilak, 1907 Introduction The Anglicization of law in the British Empire was primarily based on the perceived primitiveness of the native laws and the superiority of the modern British legal system. Maintaining the South Asian ‘identity’ of the law, while distancing the law from the community it belonged to, the British used procedural mechanisms to tilt the jurisprudence towards the Anglo direction. Procedural justice is often considered as the last bastion of a means to just and equitable practices; this paper hopes to expose the dark sides of the procedural mechanisms that succeeded in helping the British gain control over the Indian polity, through a contrast of the pre-colonial legal systems of India against the British legal interventions. Historical accounts of post-colonial legal systems suffer from, what Dipesh Chakrabarty calls, the “first in Europe, then elsewhere” structure of historical time,1 ignoring in entirety the pre-colonial identity of the subaltern. Such historicist arguments lead to a characterization that Indians were not yet civilized to govern themselves. To overcome these characterizations, the possibilities are twofold: first, to demonstrate how the natives were not in fact uncivilized as the colonial powers claimed, thus delegitimizing the colonial attempts to civilize; second, to demonstrate how the attempts to civilize were in fact a means to subordinate the natives, rendering inconclusive the narrative that portrays a “practical European” nature against a “mythical-religious Orient”.2 The exploration of these two possi- I. * Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law. 1 D. Chakrabarty, Provincialising Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (2008). 2 Ibid., page 29 et seq. 183 bilities in the context of the British efforts to anglicize the laws form the foundation upon which this chapter will discuss the judicial mechanisms implemented in India, leading to the two axes to my work. In the first part, I am seeking first of all to examine the legal mechanisms from within the pre-colonial Indian context: this will help particularize the paper against the universal narrative of procedural guarantees. The section will address why the notion surrounding the primitiveness of the Indian laws had no real foundational basis; in so doing, I will examine the prevalent pre-colonial systems in India to show how, albeit different from the British, the Hindu and Mohammedan methods of justice had their own internal logic and method that best suited the cultural context in a diverse polity like India. Without comparing it to the European model introduced by the British, the first part will enunciate the core characteristics of the pre-colonial systems that helped sustain the communities that relied on them, thus providing an unfamiliar portrayal of a diverse, but ordered pre-colonial society of India. In the second part, I examine the strategies used by the British and the benefits accrued to them by transplanting their laws into India and unifying the laws between the two religious communities. The methods of codification and translation were used to create a pall of ‘bridging the gap’, whilst in reality broadening it. The rationale was slated to be an effort to modernize through a uniform code that abandoned the traditional and primitive Indian system, while in reality institutionalizing inequalities that favoured the British. In bringing about the said uniformity, removing the relevance of the social background of persons appealing to the law for justice—the universalized approach—provided the foundation for what today is called “(un)equal treatment before the law”. Through an examination of the new legal technologies introduced, I demonstrate the ramifications of the changes made to the legal system from the 16th century to the 19th; this shall show how the British laws were used to curb the interpretative process that was considered integral to the Hindu and Islamic law in the precolonial context. Furthermore, this part will demonstrate that the introduction of the British procedures and efforts to codify were based on the colonial effort to create a society that was governable by the British. This required that laws were more uniform and also familiar to the colonial powers, whilst equally capable of creating privileges and exemptions for the white race against the natives. Thus, what seemed like a propagation of equality and fairness through the British procedural rules was, I argue, a veneer for the inequality they perpetuated through extremely legal means. The mythological Procrustean Bed—depicting the illusion that there must be a “right sized” human being who fits the bed, in the absence of Parvathi Menon 184 which the person must be stretched or cut-short in order to be suitable—is the perfect metaphor to highlight the approach of the ‘fitting’ procedures implemented by the British Empire. This paper, in describing the various attempts of the British to ‘stretch’ or ‘cut-short’ the laws, argues against their supposition that substantive differences could be tackled with procedural uniformity. The Primitiveness of the Other?: A Study of the Pre-Colonial Indian Legal Systems The classifications of modern and primitive or civilized and uncivilized were typically a means used by the British Empire in order to justify their methods in bringing about ‘order’ amongst the uncivilized populations. Legal transplants were one such method; they allude to the removal and consequent repositioning of legal systems from one jurisdiction to another. The British attempt at transplanting their rules and procedures to the Indian subcontinent was, as most legal transplants are stated to be, to bring about the ‘modern’ legal system in place of the ‘primitive’ Indian one.3 Dismissing the Indian pre-British law as primitive, scholars like Marc Galanter describe the lack of written records, professional staff, and a hierarchy of courts organized bureaucratically and employing ‘rational’ procedures as the reasons.4 James Stephen, who served as an Indian Law Commissioner from 1870 to 1879, described the pre-British Indian legal system as governed by the whims and fancies of its rulers and the village communities.5 James Mill, in his utilitarian manner, remarked that in order to create a society where one’s individual rights and freedoms can be protected and where competitiveness can be fostered, the traditional Indian legal system needed to disappear.6 Lord Macaulay, the British Member of Parlia- II. 3 M. Galanter, The Displacement of Traditional Law in Modern India, 24(4) Journal of Social Issues (1968). 4 Ibid. Cf., D. Suky, Macaulay and the Indian Penal Code of 1862: The Myth of the Inherent Superiority and Modernity of the English Legal System Compared to India’s Legal System in the Nineteenth Century, 32(3) Modern Asian Studies (1998), 513-557. 5 During his tenure, James Stephen was responsible for passing numerous codes— the Indian Limitation Act, 1871, a revised Criminal Procedure Code, 1872, and the Indian Contract Act, 1872. See K. J. M. Smith, James Fitzjames Stephen: Portrait of a Victorian Rationalist (1988). 6 See E. Stokes, The English Utilitarians and India (1959). It is interesting to note here that it was not only the Western scholars who deemed the Indian system as The Procrustean Bed of Colonial Laws: A Case of the British Empire in India 185 ment who served on the Indian Supreme Court between 1834 and 1838, was renowned for his attempts at unifying the Indian laws through a transplant of British laws. The large part of their claims resided in the diversity of the Indian cultural context, leading to what they claimed was a dysfunctional and fragmented system in desperate need of uniformity. Though little research has been carried out to provide a clear picture of the Indian legal systems prior to the arrival of the British, historians are always quick to characterize the Indian law as primitive. Rarely did scholars suggest that the Indian legal systems were worth preserving. The following sections will demonstrate that both, the Hindu and Mohammadan systems had their own practices which followed an internal logic that was unlike the Western ideas about justice, in order to particularize the universal notions surrounding judicial methods and practices. Hindu Law and Its Practices The Hindu system characterized the stages of legal problems and solutions based on whether they were generated by doubt or brought about by a dispute. The former proceeded through a consultative process while the latter was put through the more formal court processes. Legal doubt (or samedha) could accompany or precede a legal dispute (or virodha), but it could equally be resolved without the complainant enduring the formal legal process. Therefore, a legal problem was characterized as either a dilemma/ doubt or a conflict/dispute; thereafter it was expressed as a question/ inquiry/request (prasna/prarthana/paripracha) or a formal plaint (bhasa/ artha/pratijna) respectively; the final step was that of the legal responses and they ranged from an opinion/response to a verdict, depending on the formulation of the problem. A. primitive, but there were prominent Indian scholars like B. N Pandey and Motilal Setalvad (a former Chief Justice of India), who endorsed such view. The criticisms that Hindu law, for example, was based on superstitions and arbitrary religious beliefs found support amongst the natives themselves. See B. N. Pandey, The Introduction of English Law into India: The Career of Elijah Impey in Bengal 1774-1783 (1967), 19-25; M. Setalvad, The Common Law in India (1960). Parvathi Menon 186 Legal Consultations Studies show that the consultative processes were more common than the formal trials because the former, which involved consulting with a learned Brahmin (member of the priestly class) or Brahmin council, was quicker, less expensive and offered a more accessible alternative to formal court processes in medieval India. The histories of such consultations in Hindu law are devoid of much evidence owing to the oral nature of the processes. However, as Donald Davis enunciates in his wide research on the concept of the practice of legal consultations in Hindu legal systems,7 there nonetheless were pieces of evidence that allowed a sketching of its history. While the credit for the consultative process, that he calls responsas, is often attributed to the British, it was very much in existence prior to their rule. He describes the evidence of this to be present in material dating back to 1500 AD, in the narration of legal consultative practices found in the epic pieces of literature of Mahabharata and Ramayana and in the dharmasastra (which according to Davis contains, in clearly stipulated terms, evidence of legal consultation as a pivotal mechanism for the functioning of Hindu law). Albeit legal consultations have the veneer of an informal practice, in the context of many older legal systems (whether Roman, Canon, Jewish or Islamic), practices of ‘responsum’ provided an important source of law.8 The abstract nature of these legal consultations formed the basis of their characterization as an informal mechanism. The investigations surrounding the dispute were carried out by the religious leaders keeping in mind more of an abstract depiction of the facts, without indulging in the specificities. This was done mainly to allow the responsas to provide a future use, much like the concept of precedents;9 but given they were mainly unwritten, responsas rarely provided the precedential value intended. Through the legal consultations, there was a distinctiveness created from judicial proceedings, although certain Hindu texts on the legal procedure (e.g. nirnaya, vyavastha and parisad) are said to be better comprehensible in a combined 7 D. R. Davis, Responsa in Hindu Law: Consultation and Lawmaking in Medieval India, 3 Oxford Journal of Law and Religion (2014), 57-75. 8 Ibid., 59-60. 9 This, as I shall demonstrate in the later sections, was in contrast with how the Islamic jurisprudence was created; there was little room for precedents, with more room for specificities. One of the main reasons for the British to inculcate the use of precedents was in order to rid the legal system of its reliance on the religious leaders who were required for the interpretation of the law for each matter. The Procrustean Bed of Colonial Laws: A Case of the British Empire in India 187 study of both, the consultative processes and formal judicial procedures. Whilst the tradition of the consultative process was not limited to the Hindus, when the responders were Brahmins or other Hindu sectarian leaders, their determinations possessed a religious character that could be classified as Hindu, molded by the tradition of the Dharmasastra. Thus procedurally, the consultative processes did not rely on the formalities entailed in a court process, and focused more on simpler means to finding solutions. The procedures stressed on the morality of the religious leaders, who the scriptures did not deem outside the realm of its control. While the class structure of the society provided many concessions to the Brahmins (for e.g. fiscal immunities were granted to them for providing their religious merit), they were subjected to punishments much like the common man, if found in violation of the religious codes. The rights and duties of the Brahmins are outlined in the Manusmriti, which in turn relied on the Vedas.10 Formal Court Processes Apart from legal consultations, formal trials were as much an integral part of the Hindu legal system. Depicting a hierarchical structure, contrary to Galanter’s assertions, the Brihaspati Smriti (from the Dharmasastras) is evidence of how the King was at the apex, followed by the Chief Justice (also called Praadivivaka, or Adhyaksha), with the family courts at the lower end of the hierarchy. Within the family courts, the family arbitrator was considered to be at the bottom of the order.11 The court processes, unlike consultations, were rife with rules that governed its various aspects, both substantive and procedural. In the case of criminal law, the Manusmriti12 (from the Dharmasastras) details the rules that govern litigation, classifying crimes into eighteen different titles (or vyavahara-padas) in an ordered and systematic manner to which subsequent authors of smritis and other interpreters adhered. Given the king was at the helm of conducting the trial, there was a requirement under the Ma- 10 Vedas are a collection of ancient hymns and religious texts that provide the wisdom underlining the philosophy of Hinduism. 11 R. Lingat, The Classical Law of India (translation from the French by Duncan M. Derrett) (1973). 12 The Laws of Manu (translation from Sanskrit by Georg Buhler) (1886). The Manusmriti is an extensive document that spells out the laws for the Brahmin (priestly class) and the Kshatriyas (the administrative and warrior class), listing recommended virtues that different classes must possess. Parvathi Menon 188 nusmriti to provide at his disposal a means of enquiry and investigation. The justifications for the punishments for different crimes were based on strategies of retribution or prevention which, although scholars like Robert Lingat call arbitrary, are not different from the strategies behind the goals of punishments today.13 Procedurally, though the Manusmriti gives the morality of the judge more importance than to the demonstration of the trial, rules of a juridical character were often found mixed with moral exhortations.14 Not all aspects of procedure as we know today were covered by the sacred texts, but certain aspects received an elaborate description: for example, the rules of procedure governing means of proof. The Gautama Sutra (from the Dharmasastra) dedicates an entire chapter (XIII) to the procedure for gathering evidence from witnesses, including their conduct and the consequences of giving false evidence.15 Another aspect of the Hindu law practices that finds much mention in scholarly texts is of its extensive reliance on facts. The routes of legal procedure find explicit mention in one of the texts of the Dharmasastra, the Laws of Yajnavalkya. As Mitakshara’s commentary on the text describes: Just as a plaintiff and a defendant speak only the truth, so also must the ruler of the court and his judges be controlled by employing the standard techniques of friendly speech, etc. When this is the case, the decision can be made without considering witnesses or other means of proof (i.e., the facts are mutually stipulated). But precise ascertainment of the facts is not possible in every case. When it is not, a decision must be reached utilizing witnesses as an acceptable alternative. A legal procedure that follows the facts is the principal, and one that follows legal maneuvers is the alternative. In deciding a legal procedure using witnesses, documents, etc. sometimes a precise ascertainment of the facts is possible and sometimes not, because of the deviations and manipulations of witnesses, and so on. 13 For an overview of the manifestations of the traditional goals of criminal justice (retribution, rehabilitation and deterrence) in the jurisprudence of international criminal law today, see A. Heinze, International Criminal Procedure and Disclosure (2014), page 211 et seq. 14 For example, law no. 14, Chapter VIII, The Laws of Manu (translation from Sanskrit by Georg Buhler) (1886) which read: “Where justice is destroyed by injustice, while the judges look on, there they shall also be destroyed.” See also Lingat, supra note 11, page 93. 15 Gautama Sutra (1897) (translated by Georg Bühler), Chapter XIII. The Procrustean Bed of Colonial Laws: A Case of the British Empire in India 189 The importance given to facts can also be found in relation to the psychosocial facts of the judges, the witnesses and the litigants. In modern jurisprudence, the political leanings of the judges are often considered a barrier to their independence.16 In Hindu law scholarship, on the contrary, their psychological profiles, their social preferences, along with their education and the disciplines of their training were all considered insightful towards reducing the arbitrariness and unpredictability of the law they were interpreting. Such an advanced approach to the understanding of law and its readability was not common in most ‘civilized’ legal systems, even if based on a simple appeal to reason, logic and common sense (yukti, nyaya, etc.). The general approach of Hindu law had been to take into account the surrounding circumstances and motivations to a case while making judicial decisions. Therefore terms like “equity and good conscience” which became preponderant in the post-colonial legal terminologies of the Indian legal system, can be traced back to the Hindu law system, even if credit is often given to the British. I do not cite these examples simply to show a hangover of the Hindu system or as praise of a pre-modern sense of virtue. They merely serve as pushback against the narrative of a stark transition from primitive to modern, as claimed by the British. From the above descriptions of Hindu legal practices, it can be gathered that there were trends that were considered ‘primitive’ by the British during their reign, despite such practices sometimes resonating with Western judicial practices. Whether the informal nature of legal consultations or the reliance on religious customs, Hindu law practices were replete with what today can be called progressive means of thinking about the law and its application. There were aspects of the sastric system of justice that were criticized by historians, like the role of the ruler, the supposed lack of independence or impartiality of the judges, that litigants could not move a formal court without a prior petition to the ruler, etc.17 This, as was described by the critics of modern Hindu law,18 was the basis for the preference given to the uniform state statute law which met the constitutional and progressive standards19 of the British. This does not lead to the natural conclusion 16 For a critical take on the adjudicative process that constantly attempts to portray a depoliticized view of the judges and the legal system, see Duncan Kennedy, The Critique of Adjudication: Fin de Siecle (1997). 17 G. Smith and J. D. M. Derrett, Hindu Judicial Administration in Pre-British Times and Its Lesson for Today, 95 Journal of the American Oriental Society (1975). 18 See J. D. M. Derrett, Critique of Modern Hindu Law (1970). 19 Smith and Derrett, supra note 17, 421. Parvathi Menon 190 of the British system being superior. On the contrary, unlike what the British brought about through their sets of definitions and rigid approaches to law, the Hindu law, through the Dharmasastra, exemplified openness through its rejection of formalism and an awareness of the indeterminacy of law,20 the importance given to facts in adjudication,21 and an approach that prided itself on its practicality.22 Its context-driven approach with respect to different legal procedures exemplified a thinking that showcased its advantages; for example, as stated above, there were no automatic punishments for particular crimes. “The dharmasastras did not hold that the same punishment must be meted out for the same offence irrespective of the antecedents, characteristics or physical and mental condition of the offender. They always took extenuating circumstances into account.”23 This was in stark contrast to the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code that the British created for the Indians, in replacing the Hindu (and Islamic) laws. Thus whether it was, in fact, Hindu law that could be described as ‘primitive law', through a comparison with the British measures and concept of justice, is moot. Mohammadan Law and Its Practices Much like the relationship between the British and the Hindu legal system, the concept of law differed widely between the British and the Muslims as well. The Sharia was the accepted custom of the Muslim community in pre-British India, whether in terms of their doctrinal belief, ritual actions, commercial dealings or criminal punishment.24 During the rule of the Delhi sultanates and the Mughals in Medieval India, the application of Sharia law gave the rulers legitimacy, while knowing the adab—the rules of good conduct—amounted to being at the top of the hierarchy.25 The B. 20 H. Dagan, The Realist Conception of Law, 21 Tel Aviv University Law Faculty Papers (2005), 1–66. 21 B. Leiter, Legal Realism, in D. Patterson (ed.), A Companion to Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory (1996), 261–79. 22 W. Twining, Talk about Realism, 60 New York University Law Review (1985), 329–84. 23 P. V. Kane, History of Dharmasastra (1962). 24 S. A. Kugle, Framed, Blamed and Renamed: The Recasting of Islamic Jurisprudence in Colonial South Asia, 35(2) Modern Asian Studies (2001), 257-313. 25 E. Giunchi, The Reinvention of Sharia under British Raj: In Search of Authenticity and Certainty, 69(4) The Journal of Asian Studies (2010), 1119-1142. The Procrustean Bed of Colonial Laws: A Case of the British Empire in India 191 Mughals followed the previous empire’s pattern, by relying on the flexibility of the laws and much less on rigidifying. The majority of the Indian population comprised of non-Muslims, thus making the tenets of Islamic law applicable to a minority alone. Yet, there were many similarities as there were differences between the Islamic and Hindu traditions. The biggest similarity between the Hindu and Islamic legal systems was of the importance they both gave to historical contexts and social considerations. Islamic law has been called a “fluctuating, elastic quid”26 that accepted its internal contradictions and allowed the judge wide decision-making powers. Also, in settling disputes, more reliance was placed on customary practices than religious tenets found in written texts, on local arbiters than formal judicial methods. In making these judgments, more than sharia, the fiqh (or knowledge) was considered the text of reference by the qadi (or arbiter). The fiqh was the knowledge and understanding of the Sharia (through an interpretation (ijtihad) of the Quran) and Sunnah by Islamic jurists (also referred to as Ulamas). The fiqh texts provided the moral references for the judges.27 And the Fatawa-i-Alamgiri comprised of religious decrees from the Hanafi treatises that were compiled under the supervision of the then emperor, Aurangzeb, in a move to systematize and simplify legal precepts.28 Islamic Law and its Transformations The Pre-Colonial period of Mohammadan law in India can be divided into two parts: the Sultanate and the Mughal periods. In the Sultanate period, the Sharia laws were applied more than during the latter period. The Mughals enforced the separateness between the Muslim and non-Muslim world regarding law application. Allowing their non-Muslim subjects to be governed by their customs and practices, the rulers had to confront the rather mature body of laws the Hindus relied on: the Dharmasastras. There were different types of laws—the canon law (akhm-i-sharia) which related mainly to matters that were religious; criminal law (akham-i-jinayat, qanun-i-fawjdari) which comprised of criminal and tort matters; the king’s regulations (qanun-i-shahi) dealing mostly with matters of land under feu- 26 E. Carusi, The Scientific Problem of Muslim Law (1919). 27 Similar to the concept of dharma, the fiqh provided the moral context of the Islamic tenets. Unlike in Hindu law, the Muslims did have codified laws to govern them, too. 28 Giunchi, supra note 25, 1122. Parvathi Menon 192 dalism; customs and usages (qanun-i-urf), which was much like dharma; fatwas (or the use of precedents); and lastly, justice, equity and good conscience. Customs and usages were as important to Muslim law as it was to the Hindu system. But unlike in Hindu law, where Dharma overrode any written laws, the Sharia was considered to prevail over whatever custom that conflicted with it. Yet, there were local customary practices that differed from community to community but were preserved despite the contradictions. A commonly cited example is that of the Fatimid law as opposed to the Hanafi law, where the deep-rooted differences were maintained. Sharia doctrine does, however, admit urf (literally, “what is known” about a thing) as a legal principle of subsidiary and supplementary value.29 Albeit in certain areas of legal practice, like that of contract, Sharia law was wholly abandoned for customary practices. The use of precedents was not common in the Islamic system30 unlike under Common Law that the British introduced. But the concept of the fatwa bore resemblances to what we today call a precedent, in as much as it had the moral and legal authority owing to the scholars who issued them. Fatwas were preserved because they were considered to possess great persuasive value, even if not binding. Sharia doctrine did not recognize the notion of case-law, owing to being opposed to the idea of judicial precedent. The Islamic legal system, through its courts, applied the law and sought authority for each case through the texts alone. This, of course, led to instances where different qadis decided similar cases differently.31 Running counter to the modern insistence on uniformity and certainty, the Islamic law portrayed the characteristics that demonstrated the apparent indeterminacy of law; it debunked the myth around coherence of the law in what is often considered to be the superior colonial British transformations of the archaic Mohammadan systems. In general, the Islamic system during the rule of the Moghuls was a superior system of justice32 which the British rulers ‘reformed’ by introducing a system of judiciary, and principles of interpretation through the Charters of the 1600s, as the second part of this chapter will elucidate. 29 N. J. Coulson, Muslim Custom and Case-Law, 6 Die Welt des Islams (1959), 13-24. 30 A. A. Fyzee, Muhammadan Law in India (1941). 31 J. N. D. Anderson, Muslim Procedure and Evidence, 1(3) Journal of African Administration (1949), 15. 32 M. B. Ahmad, Administration of Justice in Medieval India (1941), 25. The Procrustean Bed of Colonial Laws: A Case of the British Empire in India 193 Criminal justice was administered in special courts which were called the fawdari courts, and civil justice was administered in the diwani courts. Criminal cases which otherwise invoked caste-related status, in the absence of castes in Islamic traditions, relied on possession of land.33 When it came to other forms of adjudicatory models, the concept of Siyasa, which was a type of procedural justice, was less a form of politics and more an ethos. Siyasa was the concept that ordered “law, state, and social interaction in Mughal South Asia.” Even if the word Siyasa can be translated to mean ‘politics’ in Persian, Arabic and Urdu, it was the real dispute settlement method under the Moghuls comprising of negotiation, and any other means of resolving disputes by enabling interaction between the disputing parties. It was often cited as the ruler’s “right to intervene in judicial affairs”, while the famous Persian writer Ibn Muquaffa in the early Abbasid period called Siyasa the “necessary element in the very genesis of Sharia as a religious ideal”.34 The Hierarchy of Courts and Judges in the Islamic Period (1526- 1707 AD) The Emperor (or the Khalif) was the highest judge. His court was considered to be the highest court of appeal, rather than of original proceedings. There was a Mir-Arz (loosely translatable to a bailiff or court-usher) who presented the people to the Emperor. The Quazi was the Chief Judge in the criminal matters, who was assisted by the Mufti who was expected to have an understanding of Islamic jurisprudence. There were local quazis for every city and large village. The Quazi-Ul-Quzat was the judicial officer on top of the hierarchy, made responsible for the management of judicial administration. There was also the Kotwal, or the police who was in charge of the administration of the fort, and a Muhtasib, who was in charge of censorship and public morality. It is thus clear that the Islamic system had in place a systematic method for carrying out both judicial and quasi-judicial functions. With regard to the courts, there were different judicial agencies that worked independently of each other, yet simultaneously. Firstly, there were the religious courts: these were presided over by the kazis, and based on a reading of the Quran. Secondly, there were the secular courts: these were 33 F. B. Hakeem, From Sharia to Mens Rea: Legal Transition to the Raj, 22(2) International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice (1998), 211-224. 34 A. al-Azmeh, Islams and Modernisms (1993). Parvathi Menon 194 presided over by Faujdars and Kotwals. These courts also had Hindu priests who presided over for matters concerning Hindus; the village councils or the Panchayats fell within this category. Thirdly, there were the political courts, which decided matters of interest to the State, including criminal activity; they were presided over by Faujdars and Kotwals. The nature of offences had three categories, too: offenses against God, offenses against the State and offenses against individuals. The punishments were decided based on these categories and also the decision to compound the offense or not also relied on these categorizations.35 The Hindu and Muslim systems relied on informal settings for meting out justice, whilst equally possessing the hierarchical structures and means for a more formal judicial method. Appreciating the malleability of the law and religious principles they relied on, religious leaders and judges alike were granted wide-decision making powers, albeit within the contours of high ethical standards, showing evidence of a brand of pragmatism that was prevalent in those societies. The underlying principle of legal procedure was to rely on facts, rather than legal ploys, taking into account the social circumstances and history that were crucial to the context of the Indian societies. The criticisms against settling disputes and bringing about justice in the aforementioned ways were many, but the hindrances they caused the British in governing India were specific: firstly, the excessive roles played by the native (religious) leaders, who possessed the sole expertise in discerning the religious texts, in settling disputes within their respective communities; secondly, the social structural complexity that played a large role in determining the optimal solution while resolving disputes between parties from different social strata. Overcoming these hurdles required obliterating the role played by the religious leaders, best achieved through an introduction of laws that did not rely on the religious texts. At the same time, in order not to antagonize the local populations and their religious sentiments, the substantive content of their laws were best kept intact. Thus, the British relied on introducing procedural guarantees that could enable an intrusion into the Indian native legal system, before subsuming the entire legal system within their own. 35 Hakeem, supra note 33, 216. The Procrustean Bed of Colonial Laws: A Case of the British Empire in India 195 A Turn to the Modern?: The Colonial Recalibration The pre-colonial legal system of India was multifaceted and could not lend itself easily to the Western liberal demands of homogeneity and uniformity. The peculiarities of the Indian system meant that the British needed to reduce the differences and homogenize the polity through a common lex fori,36 to gain control of the unwieldy dominion. Therefore, the establishment of common legal codes was deemed pivotal to the British administration of justice in India, second only to the regulation of commerce. Even if unwritten laws, like that of the common law of England, do not support an easy transplantation, the Criminal Procedure Code, 1861, the Indian Evidence Act of 1872 and the Code of Civil Procedure of 1908 introduced specific branches of English procedural law which had no counterpart in any other legal system.37 I argue in this section that contrary to the supposition that English laws and their phase of codification, from 1833 to 1882, brought about a heightened sense of fairness and equality through uniform procedural laws, the laws constructed racial difference and institutionalized inequality within the polity between the ‘whites’ and the ‘blacks’.38 Thus the recalibration by the British raised the questions whether their purported attempts to ‘modernize’ signified an improvement and if so, for whom. Scholarly writing on the legal history of India mostly allows the British credit for transforming what, as I described above, was a working, sometimes unsuccessfully, decentralized native system (that was deemed primitive) into a modern “unified” judicial system. The benefits accrued, as described by its plaudits, were of a simplified and systematized legal system and laws.39 One can discern various stages of the transformation of indigenous laws, but the gist of its change lay in the move from informal courts to government’s courts, the curtailed applicability of indigenous law and the gradual transformation of the indigenous law in its application by the III. 36 K. Lipstein, The Reception of Western Law in India, 9 International Social Science Bulletin (1957), 87-91. 37 Ibid., 92; Lipstein stresses that irrespective of such introduction of British law, it was important to ask only whether such law was beneficial within the Indian setting; he equally insisted that the British adapted the laws to suit the needs at the local level. 38 E. Kolsky, Colonial Justice in British India: White Violence and the Rule of Law (2009), 78. 39 Galanter, supra note 3, 68. Parvathi Menon 196 government’s courts.40 But the colonial codification also posed a dilemma: the uniform system of law would equalize everyone and place the colonizer and the colonized on the same legal footing. Thus rather than creating what was portrayed as a universal and non-discriminating law, the codified laws of the British delivered something else entirely.41 In this section, I shall explore the mechanisms introduced by the British which, when juxtaposed with the historical descriptions of the Hindu and Muslim pre-colonial legal systems, shall illuminate some of the myths surrounding the advantages of the British coherent, uniform system of law. From Deference to Displacement: The Evolution of the Colonial Strategy One of the first notable changes executed during the colonial period in India was the Charter of 1661 which permitted The East India Company to exercise civil and criminal jurisdiction over those who resided within the premises of its factories, according to the laws of England.42 The Company’s early legal system thrived on its demarcation between the Company’s officials and the Indian natives, while reimagining India as English territory and treating the Indians as aliens on their own land. Yet, the Company had not yet begun reimagining the entire polity as their own in the seventeenth century. The local laws and practices outside of the boundaries of the Company continued to maintain its relevance and applicability towards the natives. In the eighteenth century, the Company extended its legal reach by establishing a system of laws and court systems that ran parallel to the existing Indian ones. The Hastings Plan of 1772, named after the first Governor-General of India: Warren Hastings, established a hierarchy of civil and criminal courts, which were given the task of applying indigenous laws in matters that related to inheritance, marriage, caste and other religious usages.43 Hastings had created a binary category of Hindus (referred to as Gentoo) and Muslims (or Mohammadans); this binarism, even if partially reflective of the largest religious communities, did not reflect the diversity within the religions. As the first section of this chapter recounted, the Hin- A. 40 Galanter, supra note 3. 41 See Kolsky, supra note 38, 72. 42 See Kolsky, supra note 38, 30. 43 M. Anderson, Islamic Law and the Colonial Encounter in British India, in D. Arnold and P. Robb (eds.), Institutions and Ideologies: A SOAS South Asia Reader (1993). The Procrustean Bed of Colonial Laws: A Case of the British Empire in India 197 du and Mohammadan systems were not separately homogenous either; they each had their own set of nuances, whether desirable or not. “Not only did it [the Hastings Plan] fail to acknowledge the distinction between Shias and Sunnis and the differences among the schools within each; it also failed to address adequately the practices and beliefs of the many groups that adopted an eclectic approach to Islam and various forms of Hinduism.”44 The terms Hindu and Muslim, as Anderson very appropriately noted, were imbued with the Procrustean quality that forms the basis of my assessment in this section. Albeit uncaring of the complexities of the Hindu and Mohammadan systems respectively, the 1772 Regulations continued to show an apparent deference to the local practices. It laid down the basis for arbitration between Indians: officers would apply the local laws of Hindus and Muslims to matters of inheritance, marriage, caste and religious institutions, while the English officers would directly supervise the settlement of disputes by enforcing procedural regularities.45 Their inheritance and succession to lands, rents, goods, and all matters of contract and dealing between party and party, shall be determined in the case of Mahomedans [Muslims] by the laws and usages of the Mahomedans, and in the case of Gentoos [Hindus] by the laws and usages of Gentoos, and where one only of the parties shall be a Mahomedan or Gentoo, by the laws and usages of the defendant.46 The subtleties of the regulations turned the position given to the British Company officials into an invisible fulcrum around which all the indigenous laws revolved in actuality. Under the pretense of deferring to the Hindu and Muslim institutions on the one hand, on the other hand the British slowly began reordering both the legal and political structures. For example, to enable the British magistrates to interfere with the local courts in order to “supply the deficiencies and correct the irregularities”47 in the Muslim laws of sentencing, the British relied on siyasa, which was the right of (Mughal) rulers to circumvent the “formal procedures of Islamic fiqh”48 to allow the British officers to interfere. The reliance on the local customs and rules was a pall behind which the colonizers found their advantages. Structurally, there were less subtle initiatives carried out—to remove the In- 44 Ibid., 11. 45 Kugle, supra note 24, 262. 46 W. Hastings, Mufassal Regulations (1772) (formally enacted as the Regulations of 1780). 47 Kugle, supra note 24, 264. 48 Ibid. Parvathi Menon 198 dian officers and set up a governmental judiciary that was separate from the native population; Governor General Cornwallis kept the Indian officers in minor roles alone, while also demoting people of mixed race. These changes slowly allowed the British to occupy positions of superiority from mere supervisory roles. When it came to deference to local norms, there is evidence to show that the British did preserve the local laws and customs at first, but both the Islamic and Hindu law transformed into Anglo-Hindu law and Anglo- Mohammadan law. With the unwillingness to publish texts, procure translations or to record the local customs, there was an inconspicuous indifference to the local laws. By severing parts of the Hindu and Muslim laws from the large bodies to which they belonged, the British removed the contextual meanings of many of their laws. Some Hindu rules were "silently abolished" through this method of distortion.49 A Procedural Alteration of Substantive Laws One of the major measures implemented by the British was to engraft into the native legal system English procedural laws. The Anglicization of procedural laws was not inadvertent; it rested on strong theoretical grounds of why procedural, rather than substantive, laws were reformed. The first justification given by the British was ‘good government’, through a fair administration of justice. As Jorg Fisch describes, “while the Europeans administered or controlled indigenous material, they were bound to introduce, whether intentionally or unintentionally, parts of their own procedure, all the more so as European interference was justified with the lack of good government in the pre-European system”.50 The second justification was the assumption that rules of evidence and other rules of procedure were of a universal nature, less culturally sensitive than substantive laws.51 Thus the British presumed a “facile translatability”52 of procedural fields. And thirdly, a procedural similarity across the Empire allowed the British mobility B. 49 Derrett, Critique of Modern Hindu Law, supra note 18, 40. 50 J. Fisch, Law as a Means to an End: Some Remarks on the Function of European and Non-European Law in the Process of European Expansion, in W. J. Mommsen and J. A. De Moor (eds.), European Expansion and Law: The Encounter of European and Indigenous Law in 19th- and 20thCentury Africa and Asia (1992). 51 B. Blum, Evidence Rules of Colonial Difference: Identity, Legitimacy and Power in the Law of Mandate Palestine, 1917-1939 (2011). 52 Ibid. The Procrustean Bed of Colonial Laws: A Case of the British Empire in India 199 despite the variance in the substantive laws.53 Using British procedural methods, the substantive law was surreptitiously altered.54 There were situations in which a bringing about of a seemingly necessary procedural rule markedly altered the substantive rights.55 Most importantly, the colonial courts introduced new legal mechanisms—of bureaucratic procedure and methods of inquiry—that were widely divergent from the pre-colonial practices. Through procedural alterations, one of the most significant British innovations was brought about—of using documentation in matters of law and evidence.56 As demonstrated in the previous sections, the Hindu and Muslim legal processes relied largely on oral testimonies and the probity of witnesses.57 Thus, because laws such as the Al-Hidaya under Islamic law or Responsas in the Hindu legal system made no provision for documentary evidence (governing the admissibility of oral testimony alone, as under the Gautama Sutras, for example), this maneuver by the British resulted in a shift that obscured the natives. There was, therefore, a slow reduction of access to legal institutions for the mostly illiterate population. The Criminal 53 A. Likhovski, Law and Identity in Mandate Palestine (2006), 55. 54 D. M. Derrett, The Administration of Hindu Law by the British, 4 Comparative Studies in Society and History (1961), 10-52. 55 For example, in the famous Privy Council case of Her Highness Ruckmaboye v. Lulloobhoy Mottichund, by dealing with the procedural concept of Statute of Limitations, the court curtailed the assertion of the rights available. By emphasizing on what the Statute of Limitation entailed, the British set an important precedent that was followed for years to come in the Indian Courts. For example Khondkar Mahomed Saleh v. Chandra Kumar Mukerji A.I.R. 1930 Cal. 34; Baijnath v. Doolarey Hajjam A.I.R. 1928 All. 708; and Ram Karan v. Ram Das A.I.R. 1931 All. 635 at p. 639 lay down that law of limitation is procedural law. The Privy Council held in Shahid Ganj Mosque v. Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee A.I.R. 1940 P.C. 116 that the limitation for a suit is governed not by the law existing when the cause of action accrued but by the law existing at the time of the institution of the suit because limitation is "a matter of procedure" (per Sir George Rankin at p. 121). “The propositions that procedural law is retrospective and that law of limitation is procedural law gave rise to the proposition that law of limitation starts applying at once in the absence of words to the contrary, and a proceeding is governed by the law of limitation in force at the time of its institution and not by the previous law of limitation that might have existed at the time of accrual of the cause of action for it.” Khem Chand Keshrimal vs. Commissioner Of Sales Tax, 1967 19 STC 71 All, para 14. 56 R. S. Smith, Rule-by-records and Rule-by-reports: Complementary Aspects of the British Imperial Rule of Law, 19 Contributions to Indian Sociology (1985). 57 Anderson, Islamic Law and the Colonial Encounter in British India, supra note 43, 17. Parvathi Menon 200 Procedure Code of 1861 and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872 brought about the English procedural law and evidence into the Indian legal system in a form they imagined was systematic and uniformly applicable to both, Hindu and Muslim legal systems. Although the courts adopted a British model of procedure and adjudication, The Hastings Plan of 1772 provided for the maulvis and pandits to advise the court on matters related to Islamic and Hindu laws respectively. Except, the transformations of the laws into Anglo-Mohammadan and Anglo-Hindu laws had turned them into versions very unlike the original. These religious experts were attached to district and appeal courts on matters that the British considered religious, in order to help them retrieve the relevant norms contained in religious texts.58 Yet, the local advisors were deprived of their traditional roles; the English judges relied on a translator to ask for the doctrinal positions; these questions were often asked in an abstract manner, without any contextual details, in order to receive an equally abstract response. This enabled a wide enough margin for interpretation that suited the British needs. The British found their reliance on the religious experts disempowering, therefore the need to eradicate them from the judicial process was imperative. Thus, deciding to create what Giunchi calls a “direct relationship with the source texts”, starting in the second half of the eighteenth century, the British engaged in translations extensively in order to formulate clearer and less varied codes. The contextual consistencies of the local laws, like the fiqh, which brought about “the contextual consistency of the qadi, was thus transformed into formal and substantial consistency through precise formulas, procedures and concepts that the British judges could understand.”59 Language was power and translations were the key to permeate the indigenous systems in India. Stating Hindu or Muslim rules in English distorted their meaning, but touting it as an inevitable measure, the British desired for their own judges to apply the indigenous laws directly.60 Largely leading to an obsolescence of customs, the chasm between customary law and court law was reduced considerably. With the help of Warren Hastings who was an expert in Urdu and Persian, the British began translating the Fatwas and the Hedaya (a commentary on Islamic laws) from Arabic to Persian and then from Persian to English.61 Similarly, the Hindu text, Dharmasastra, was translated 58 Giunchi, supra note 25, 1126. 59 Ibid., 1127. 60 Anderson, Islamic Law and the Colonial Encounter in British India, supra note 43, 13. 61 Giunchi, supra note 25, 1127. The Procrustean Bed of Colonial Laws: A Case of the British Empire in India 201 into Persian from Sanskrit and then to English by an official from the East India Company, Nathaniel Brassey Halhead. This text was re-titled A Code of Gentoo Laws. As Giunchi points out in her critical appraisal of how the British reinvented the local laws, there was an Orientalist assumption underlying most of the changes made: “that the religious texts were internally inconsistent”,62 whilst in reality they fueled the imperialist mission of colonizing the laws. The nineteenth century saw more concerted efforts on the part of the British to enable their ‘civilizing mission’ through procedural mechanisms. The Code of Criminal Procedure (1861) provides a pertinent example of what the imperialist mission stood for in reality: a subversion of legal equality and the legal construction of racial difference. Complaining that they would be subject to the “barbarous and proselytizing law unsuited to Christian or civilized men”,63 the ‘uniform’ code stipulated that the juries for the Europeans would comprise of only Europeans, while inapplicable to the Indians; furthermore, the trials for the Europeans were granted at the higher courts (also called Presidency trials), while the Indians were granted access only to the local courts. The schedules for punishment were equally differentiated based on race, leading to a legal inequality the Company officials claimed was a pre-existing characteristic of “a caste-saturated and backward place like India”.64 Apart from the procedure codes for criminal acts, many Jurisdiction Bills were also passed that explicitly maintained the racial differences under the law. British subjects were exempted from the mofussil courts. Indian elites, like Rajah Kally Krishna and Ram Gopal Ghose, protested that the practical effects of the British system placed the Englishmen above the law. From the use of the English language that was unknown to the millions of Indians, to being governed by laws that were beyond their comprehension, the legal system internalized the belief that the Englishman was a superior being who could not be subjected to the same laws which gov- 62 Ibid., 1128. 63 “Memorial of the undersigned persons of English, Scottish and Irish birth or descent, inhabitants of the territories of the Crown of India at present under the Government of the East India Company,” 22 January 1850, Legislative Consultations of 10 May 1850, No. 44, British Library, IOR, P/207/60. 64 Judicial dispatch from Court of Directors, No. 6, 30 September 1835, Legislative Proceedings, 10 October 1836, Nos. 20-21; See also Kolsky, supra note 38, 78. Parvathi Menon 202 erned the barbarians.65 “Equality for all” was indeed a “miserable sham”66 if it purported that the Europeans and the Indians were standing on equal footing, said Calcutta Supreme Court Justice Arthur Buller. The Myth of the Procrustean Bed of Colonial Laws The notion that the European legal mechanisms were well-suited to the Indian subcontinent was based on a concerted attempt to transform the polity to one that the British could manage. The judicial systems formed the crux of the British imperial system, and within that a procedural guarantee that demonstrated their desire to bring about good governance and a fair administration of justice was a more plausible argument to make to the local population, while resolutely strategizing ways to maintain the inequality. While on the one hand suggesting the primitiveness of the native laws and on the other hand creating a ‘uniform’ system that they could exempt themselves from, the myth of modernizing of the Indian legal system became a self-perpetuating prophesy that exists even today. In this paper, through a demonstration of what the Hindu and Islamic laws were in pre-colonial India, it becomes clear that there was a legal system that functioned to serve the needs of its diverse local population, with the members of the local community retaining personhood. The idea of a uniform code was unfathomable to a populace that thrived on their cultural distinctiveness, moreover because it moved the space of legal action away from the population it served. Thus leaving only personal laws outside their control, the British imposed their abstract notions of procedural, and later substantive, guarantees in a way that deemed it predictable and universal. Such predictability came with the guarantee that all would enjoy the same rights, equally and impartially under the law, except that the British would be above the law. The promise of equality brought about two further promises, as Cohn writes: one, of Britain working to maintain the diversity in the Indian society, of its religion and culture, and second, of Britain ameliorating India’s social and material well-being. The contradiction lay in the fact that in order to fulfil the first, the colonizers needed to protect India’s traditional feudal society, whilst in order to fulfil the sec- IV. 65 R. G. Ghose, Remarks on the “Black Acts”, 412-413, 420. 66 Sir Arthur Buller’s speech of 09 March 1857, National Archives of India, Legislative Council Proceedings (1857), Vol III. The Procrustean Bed of Colonial Laws: A Case of the British Empire in India 203 ond promise, Britain felt a modernization of the society was essential through an inevitable destruction of the feudal and religious society. Parvathi Menon 204 Evidence Requirements before 19th Century Anti-Slave Trade Jurisdictions and Slavery as a Standard of Treatment Michel Erpelding* Introduction: Treatment as a key component of 19th century legal instruments for the international suppression of the slave trade The intensity of 19th century state practice relating to the suppression of the slave trade1 inevitably raises the question of how international law actors defined this phenomenon. A cursory glance at declarations made by state representatives and legal scholars of the period, seem to confirm Howard Hazen Wilson’s formalistic definition of the slave trade as: [a] business of moving human chattels from a land where prisoners of war were slaves, to a land where slaves were res.2 For instance, in a memorandum addressed to the Quai d’Orsay in 1854, the French minister of the Navy, Théodore Ducos (1801-1855), defined the slave trade as: [t]he buying and exportation of slaves intended for transportation to colonies where slavery exists, and where they must become the property of settlers, with all the consequences which the right of ownership entails.3 I. * Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law. A more detailed account of the issues examined in this chapter can be found in: M. Erpelding, Le droit international antiesclavagiste des “nations civilisées” (1815-1945) (2017). 1 See in particular J. Allain, The Nineteenth Century Law of the Sea and the British Abolition of the Slave Trade, 58 BYIL (2007), 1, 342-388. Reprinted in: J. Allain, The Law and Slavery: Prohibiting Human Exploitation (2015), 46-100. 2 H. H. Wilson, Some principal aspects of British efforts to crush the African slave trade, 1807-1929, 44 AJIL (1950), 1, 505-506. 3 “L’achat et l’exportation d’esclaves destinés à être transportés dans des colonies où l’esclavage existe, où ils doivent devenir la propriété des colons, avec toutes les conséquences du droit de possession”. Quoted by: C. Flory, De l’esclavage à la liberté force: Histoire des travailleurs africains dans la Caraïbe française au XIXe siècle (2015), 46. 205 In his Dictionnaire de droit international public et privé published in 1885, the Argentine publicist Carlos Calvo (1824-1906) gave an almost identical definition.4 This formalistic view does not hold up to actual state practice as derived from domestic legislation and international treaties. As a matter of fact, once it came to identifying and prosecuting individual cases of slave trading, considerations based on the legal status of the trade’s victims – whether past, present, or future – were much less decisive than references to a concrete standard of treatment. Definitions contained within domestic legislation outlawing the slave trade were not, in fact, explicitly premised on the existence of slavery as a legal status. The British Slave Trade Act of 1807 defined the slave trade as: [a]ll manner of dealing and trading in the purchase, sale, barter, transfer of Slaves, or of Persons intended to be sold, transferred, used, or dealt with as Slaves, practiced or carried on, in, at, to or from any part of the Coast of Countries of Africa.5 This definition, which was confirmed and further broadened by the subsequent acts passed in 1811,6 1815,7 and 1824,8 includes a double reference to a standard of treatment. First, it recognizes that it is not only possible to purchase, sell, barter, and transfer slaves (whose legal status was that of chattels), but also persons that were legally free.9 Second, the 1807 definition requires that persons purchased, sold, bartered, or transferred in such a way must be “intended to be sold, transferred, used, or dealt with as 4 Evidently considering it a thing of the past, Calvo defined the slave trade as “the buying and selling of negroes that used to take place on the coasts of Africa with the purpose of transporting these negroes to the colonies or to a country in the new world where slavery existed, and selling them there as slaves” (“l’achat et la vente des nègres qu’on faisait autrefois sur les côtes d’Afrique pour les transporter aux colonies ou dans les pays du nouveau monde où l’esclavage existait, et les y vendre comme esclaves”). C. Calvo, Dictionnaire de droit international public et privé, vol. 2 (1885), 265. 5 An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade (47 Geo. III, Sess. 1, cap. 36), s. 1. 6 An Act for Rendering More Effectual an Act Made in the 47th Year of His Majesty’s Reign, intituled ‘An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade’ (51 Geo. III, cap. 23), s. 1. 7 An Act to Provide for the Support of Captured Slaves during the Period of Adjudication (55 Geo. III, cap. 172), s. 1. 8 Slave Trade Act 1824 (c.113, 5 Geo. IV), s. 2. 9 It should be noted that section 1 of the abovementioned Slave Trade Act of 1811 characterized the victims of the slave trade as “any native or natives of Africa, held and treated as slaves, or other person or persons held or treated as slaves”, supra note 6. Michel Erpelding 206 Slaves”. While the sale or transfer of a person “as a slave” might refer to the existence of a legally recognized contract or deed, and, accordingly, imply the existence of slavery as a legal institution within the jurisdiction where the sale or transfer takes place, one does not see why this should necessarily be the case where one person accomplishes the material acts of “using” or “dealing with” another person “as a slave”. Defining the slave trade as an operation premised not so much on the transportation of human chattels rather than on the deportation and treatment of individuals as if they were chattels, was hardly a British idiosyncrasy. Thus, despite her initial reluctance to give any precise definitions in its legislation, where the slave trade was referred to as “la traite des noirs”, and its victims as “les noirs de traite”,10 France eventually resorted to a standard of treatment in order to allow its cruisers to free Christian prisoners of war who had been enslaved by Muslim rulers on the Barbary Coast, in Egypt, and in the Levant. Under an 1823 ordinance, French ship-owners and captains were forbidden from using and fitting out ships in order to transport slaves, “irrespective of the origin of said slaves and the nation into whose hands they have fallen” (“quelles que soient l’origine desdits esclaves et la nation au pouvoir de laquelle ils sont tombés”), while French naval officers were instructed to arrest “any French ship on board of which passengers are treated as slaves” (“tout navire français à bord duquel des passagers traités comme esclaves se trouveroient”).11 Treaties for the suppression of the slave trade also included references to the treatment of its victims, even if most of them did not provide any definition of the slave trade. The Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1814 merely stated that “no Inhabitants of that Country [Guinea, i.e. West Africa] shall be sold or exported as Slaves”,12 whereas the Anglo-Portuguese treaty of 1817 bound 10 See in particular Ordonnance du roi qui pourvoit au cas où il serait contrevenu aux ordres de Sa Majesté concernant l’Abolition de la Traite des Noirs, 8 January 1817, Bulletin des lois, ser. 7, vol. 4, 105; Loi qui prononce des Peines contre les individus qui se livreraient à la Traite des Noirs, 15 April 1818, Bulletin des lois, ser. 7, vol. 6, 234; Loi relative à la Répression de la Traite des Noirs, 25 April 1827, Bulletin des lois, ser. 8, vol. 6, 377; Loi concernant la Répression de la Traite des Noirs, 4 March 1831, Bulletin des lois, ser. 8, vol. 2, part 2, 35. 11 Ordonnance du Roi qui défend, sous les peines y exprimées, à tout armateur et capitaine français d’employer et d’affréter les bâtiments qui leur appartiennent ou qu’ils commandent, à transporter des esclaves, 18 January 1823. Bulletin des lois, ser. 7, vol. 16, 18. 12 Convention relative to the Dutch Colonies, Trade with the East and West Indies, etc. (Great Britain, Netherlands), signed at London on 13 August 1814, 2 BFSP (1814-1815), 370, Article. 8. Evidence Requirements before 19th Century Anti-Slave Trade Jurisdictions 207 its parties to “ensure that their respective subjects do not engage in the illicit traffic in slaves” (“de veiller mutuellement à ce que leurs sujets respectifs ne fassent pas le Commerce illicte d’Esclaves”).13 The Anglo-Spanish treaty signed that very same year forbade Spanish subjects “to purchase slaves, or to carry on the slave trade, on any part of the coast of Africa, North to the Equator”.14 Only three treaties, all of which were signed with states that still recognized slavery as a legal institution, included an express definition of the slave trade. The Anglo-Venezuelan treaty of 1839 and the Anglo-Ecuadorian treaty of 1841 noted that: [f]or want of a proper explanation of the real spirit of the phrase ‘Traffic in Slaves’, [the parties to the treaty in question] do here mutually declare to be understood by such traffic, such only which is carried on in negroes brought from Africa, in order to transport them to other parts of the world for sale; as opposed to purely internal transportation of slaves.15 In a similar spirit, the Anglo-Portuguese treaty of 1842 defined the slave trade as: [t]he infamous and piratical practice of transporting the natives of Africa by sea, for the purpose of consigning them to slavery.16 Taken out of context, this definition could be read as a vindication of Minister Ducos’ restrictive approach. However, Article. 5 of the same treaty added that the prohibition of the slave trade did not question the right of Portuguese subjects “to be accompanied, in voyages to and from the Portuguese possessions off the coast of Africa, by slaves who are bona fide household servants”. In order to prevent abuses, the treaty provided a criteria allowing for an effective distinction between household slaves and victims of the slave trade. In addition to a formal criterion (household slaves had to be issued passports by the highest civil authority at the port of em- 13 Additional Convention for the prevention of the Slave Trade (Great Britain, Portugal), signed at London on 28 July 1817, 4 BFSP (1816-1817), 85, Article. 1. Editor’s translation. The original Portuguese version also mentions the “commercio illicito de escravos”. 14 Treaty for the Abolition of the Slave Trade (Great Britain, Spain), signed at Madrid on 23 September 1817, 4 BFSP (1816-1817), 33, Article. 2. 15 Treaty for the Abolition of the Slave Trade (Great Britain, Venezuela), signed at Caracas on 15 March 1839, 27 BFSP (1838-1839), 669, Article. 1. Treaty for the Abolition of the Traffic in Slaves (Great Britain, Ecuador), signed at Quito on 24 May 1841, 30 BFSP (1841-1842), 304, Article. 1. 16 Treaty for the Suppression of the Traffic in Slaves (Great Britain, Portugal), signed at Lisbon on 3 July 1842, 30 BFSP (1841-1842), 527, Article. 1er. Michel Erpelding 208 barkation), it mostly relied on a standard of treatment: household slaves had “to be found at large and unconfined in the vessel; and clothed like Europeans in similar circumstances”; moreover, there could be no other slaves on board the vessel, nor could there be any equipment characteristic of a slave ship.17 References to this kind of equipment had become a key component of the law of evidence applicable before Mixed Commissions18 and domestic courts19 assigned with the task of implementing treaties for the suppression of the slave trade. They are further proof of the role treatment played in the latter’s legal definition. From the 1820s onwards, it had become possible to condemn ships as slavers despite the fact that no victims of the trade had been found aboard. Courts could now rely on the mere presence of signs showing that a vessel had been actually used, or merely equipped, for the purpose of confining hundreds of men and women under inhumane conditions, deporting them to foreign lands against their will, and subjecting them to various abuses in order to ensure their submission. As slavers were aware that the first treaties for the suppression of the slave trade only allowed for the detention of ships actually having slaves on board;20 they had often reacted to the presence of British cruisers by putting their slaves ashore, or, more alarmingly, by throwing them overboard. States adapted by agreeing on new rules of evidence in two stages. At first, courts were allowed to take into account the presence of slaves on 17 Ibid., Article. 5. A comparable although less detailed rule could already be found in the Anglo-Portuguese treaty of 1815: Treaty for the restriction of the Portuguese Slave Trade and for the annulment of the Convention of Loan of 1809 and Treaty of Alliance of 1810 (Great Britain, Portugal), signed at Vienna on 22 January 1815, 2 BFSP (1814-1815), 348. 18 On these Mixed Commissions, or Mixed Courts, see in particular L. Bethell, The Mixed Commissions for the Suppression of the Transatlantic Slave Trade in the Nineteenth Century, 7 Journal of African History (1966), 1, 79-93; J. Martinez, The Slave Trade and the Origins of International Human Rights Law (2012). 19 On a particularly important British court, see T. Helfman, The Court of Vice Admiralty at Sierra Leone and the Abolition of the West African Slave Trade, 115 Yale Law Journal (2005-2006), 1, 1122-1156. 20 Thus, pursuant to Article.10 of the Anglo-Spanish treaty of 1817, “No British or Spanish Cruizer shall detain any Slave Ship not having Slaves actually on board; and in order to render lawful the detention of any Ship, whether British or Spanish, the Slaves found on board such Vessel must have been brought there for the express purpose of the Traffic”. Article. 7 of the Anglo-Portuguese treaty of 1817 and Article. 2 of the Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1818 contained similar rules. Evidence Requirements before 19th Century Anti-Slave Trade Jurisdictions 209 board a ship during a stage of its voyage preceding its capture.21 In practice, this meant that, given the extreme conditions on board slave ships and the catastrophic sanitary situation resulting thereof, the presence of a characteristic pestilential smell was deemed prima facie evidence of slave trading.22 During the second phase, “equipment clauses” were added to slave treaties:23 from now on, proving that a ship had been built or equipped for the purpose of transporting, sequestrating, and feeding hundreds of captives was sufficient to have it detained as a slaver.24 21 See the supplementary clauses signed by Spain on 10 December 1822: BFSP, vol. 10 (1822-1823), 87. The Netherlands signed a similar instrument on 31 December 1822, ibid., 554; Portugal did the same on 15 March 1823: 11 BFSP (1823-1824), 23. 22 Bethell, supra note 18, 86. 23 Equipment clauses can be found in almost all treaties for the repression of the slave trade negotiated between Britain and other Western powers after 1823. The Netherlands was the first country to agree to such a clause: Explanatory and Additional Articles to the Treaty between Great Britain and the Netherlands, for the Prevention of the Traffic in Slaves (Great Britain, Netherlands), signed at Brussels on 31 December 1822 and 25 January 1823, 10 BFSP (1822-1823), 554. 24 For example, Article. 9 of the Anglo-Portuguese treaty of 1842 (supra note 16) contained the following equipment clause: “Any vessel, British or Portuguese, which shall be visited by virtue of the present Treaty, may lawfully be detained, and may be sent or brought before one of the Mixed Commissions established in pursuance of the provisions thereof, if any of the things hereinafter mentioned shall be found in her outfit or equipment, or shall be proved to have been on board during the voyage in which the vessel was proceeding when captured, namely: (1) Hatches with open gratings, instead of the close hatches which are usual in merchant-vessels. (2) Divisions or bulk-heads, in the hold or on deck, in greater number than are necessary for vessels engaged in lawful trade. (3) Spare plank fitted for being laid down as a second or slave-deck. (4) Shackles, bolts, or handcuffs. (5) A larger quantity of water, in casks or in tanks, than is requisite for the consumption of the crew of the vessel, as a merchant- vessel. (6) An extraordinary number of water-casks, or of other vessels for holding liquid, unless the master shall produce a certificate from the Custom House at the place from which he cleared outwards, stating that sufficient security had been given by the owners of such vessel, that such extra quantity of casks, or of other vessels, should only be used for the reception of palm oil, or for other purposes of lawful commerce. (7) A greater quantity of mess tubs or kids, than are requisite for the use of the crew of the vessel, as a merchant-vessel. Michel Erpelding 210 Treaties for the suppression of the slave trade were also based on the premise that states had the obligation to guarantee the effective freedom of the slaves they had liberated. Almost all instruments for the repression of the slave trade concluded after 1817 included an express provision obliging state parties to guarantee the freedom of any African found on board a condemned slave ship.25 It was usually added that liberated slaves were placed at the disposal of the government on whose territory adjudication had taken place, and that the government in question had the right to employ them as servants or free labourers.26 Recruitment into the armed forces was also an option. Great Britain, for instance, enrolled almost (8) A boiler, or other cooking apparatus, of an unusual size, and larger, or fitted for being made larger, than requisite for the use of the crew of the vessel, as a merchant-vessel; or more than one boiler, or other cooking apparatus, of the ordinary size. (9) An extraordinary quantity of rice, of the flour of Brazil manioc, or cassada, commonly called farinha, of maize, or of Indian corn, or of any other article of food whatever, beyond what might probably be requisite for the use of the crew; such rice, flour, maize, Indian corn, or other article of food, not being entered on the manifest, as part of the cargo for trade. (10) A quantity of mats or matting, larger than is necessary for the use of the crew of the vessel, as a merchant-vessel. Any one or more of these several things, if proved to have been found on board, or to have been on board during the voyage on which the vessel was proceeding when captured, shall be considered as prima facie evidence of the actual employment of the vessel in the transport of negroes or others for the purpose of consigning them to slavery; and the vessel shall thereupon be condemned, and shall be declared lawful prize, unless clear and incontestably satisfactory evidence, on the part of the master or owners, shall establish to the satisfaction of the Court, that such vessel was, at the time of her detention or capture, employed on some legal pursuit, and that such of the several things above enumerated, as were found on board of her at the time of her detention, or had been on board of her on the voyage on which she was proceeding when captured, were needed for legal purposes on that particular voyage”. 25 The only exception to this rule was the Anglo-French treaty of 1845: Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Slaves (Great-Britain, France), signed at London on 29 May 1845, 33 BFSP (1844-1845), 4. 26 This clause first appeared in Article. 7 of the Regulations for the Mixed Commissions annexed to the 1817 Anglo-Portuguese and Anglo-Spanish treaties, as well as in Article. 6 of the Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1818. Another example of it can be found in Article. 11 of the Anglo-French treaty of 1833 which was later joined by six other countries. Supplementary Convention for the more effectual Suppression of the Traffic in Slaves (Great Britain, France), signed at Paris on 22 March 1833, 20 BFSP (1832-1833), 286. Evidence Requirements before 19th Century Anti-Slave Trade Jurisdictions 211 12,000 “recaptives” as soldiers or sailors between 1808 and 1840.27 It was understood that the new vocations of the former slaves must not give rise to treatment characteristic of slavery. As this was often not the case, Britain persuaded Spain, Portugal, and several Latin American states to agree to regulations fleshing out the meaning of the effective liberation clause. These regulations took two forms. A short version, comprising eight articles, obliged its signatories to ensure the “permanent good treatment” of liberated Africans, as well as their “full and complete emancipation” (after 1839, this expression was replaced by “full and complete freedom”), adding that this should be done “in conformity with the humane intentions of the High Contracting Parties”.28 The second collection of regulations can be found as annexes to the Anglo-Uruguayan treaty of 1839 and the Anglo- Portuguese treaty of 1842.29 Comprising 33 articles, they organized a transitional regime during which the former slaves were to familiarize themselves with salaried work, based on coercion and protection against abuses characteristic of slavery.30 Whilst internal legislation and treaty provisions both implied that acts of slave trading could be proved by having recourse to a standard of treatment, ultimate proof of the existence of such a standard can be found in the case law of international and domestic jurisdictions favouring treatment over legal status in order to condemn individual ships as slave traders. As a matter of fact, several emblematic cases show that de jure considerations, such as the emancipated status of passengers (ii), or even the fact that slavery no longer existed in the country of destination (iii), did not prevent judges from holding, based on a de facto standard of treatment, that acts of slave trading had been committed. 27 Flory, supra note 3, 32. 28 Titled ‘Regulations for the good treatment of liberated negroes’, this kind of regulation was introduced by Article 13 and Annexe C of the Anglo-Spanish treaty of 1835. Such an Annex C was equally mentioned in Article 12 of the Anglo-Chilean treaty of 1839, in Article 11 of the Anglo-Argentinean treaty of 1839, in Article 12 of the Anglo-Bolivean treaty of 1840, and Article 12 of the Anglo-Mexican and Anglo-Ecuadorean treaties of 1841. 29 See Annexe C of these treaties, titled ‘Regulations in respect of the treatment of liberated negroes’. 30 Ibid. Michel Erpelding 212 The preeminence of treatment over individual emancipation certificates As the “Regulations for the good treatment of liberated negroes” had already indicated, emancipated slaves, despite their status as free persons, were at a particular risk of remaining in practical slavery. Nineteenth-century antislavery courts acknowledged this risk; thus, in the Uniao case of 1844, the Anglo-Portuguese Mixed Commission at the Cape used a standard of treatment to hold that emancipated individuals treated as servants and sailors were not slaves (A). In the 1840 case of the Sénégambie, British judges in the Gambia and Sierra Leone had already decided that emancipated individuals deported overseas against their will could be considered slaves (B). Emancipated individuals treated as servants and sailors are not slaves: the Uniao case (1844) Decisions issued by Mixed Commissions for the repression of the slave trade confirm that treatment was indeed a key factor for the purpose of identifying individual cases of trade in slaves.31 The case of the Uniao, judged on 4 November 1844 by the Anglo-Portuguese Mixed Commission at the Cape, is particularly striking in this regard.32 On 29 July 1844, while anchoring off Quelimane, in Mozambique, the Portuguese brig Uniao was captured by two Royal Navy sloops. Their commanders had decided to act after making two observations. First, they had found various fittings on board the Uniao which they deemed unusual for a ship engaged in legitimate trade, and rather evocative of the items listed by the 1842 Anglo-Portuguese treaty’s “equipment clause”.33 Second, during their inspection of the Uniao, the British naval officers had found “six negroes, supposed to be slaves”. Stating that they feared for their safety on board the Uniao, they had II. A. 31 The Foreign Office transferred the decisions issued by these Mixed Commissions to the House of Commons which published them within the special series of its Blue Books dedicated to the suppression of the slave trade. This series was later reedited by the Irish University Press: British Parliamentary Papers – Slave Trade, Shannon, Irish University Press, 1968-1971 (hereafter BPP: Slave Trade). For the decisions issued by Mixed Commission, see 9-51 BPP: Slave Trade (1823-1869). 32 For all essential documents relating to this case (correspondence, judgments, witness statements, expert reports, etc.), see 29 BPP: Slave Trade (1846), Class A, No. 260, 611-663. 33 Ibid., 618. Evidence Requirements before 19th Century Anti-Slave Trade Jurisdictions 213 been transferred to the HMS Bittern.34 However, once the alleged slaver had been brought to the Cape for judgment by the local Anglo-Portuguese Mixed Commission, the facts soon proved more complex than in the captor’s version. The discussion of the facts by the parties shows that, in case of doubt, the only efficient way to prove an act of slave trading was to prove the existence of a certain standard of treatment with regard to its alleged victims. This applied both to the ship’s equipment and the condition of the Africans found aboard. Thus, a commission of survey appointed by the Mixed Commission found that most fittings described by the captors as “suspicious” (e.g. a large main hatchway, additional partitions on a second deck, a fireplace larger than necessary for the crew) were actually quite compatible with those of a ship engaged in legitimate trade.35 The commission itself determined that the ship’s cargo, which included large quantities of rice, was legitimate.36 The rice’s inferior quality had initially raised suspicions: one witness had claimed that it was inedible for Europeans, and only fit to be fed to slaves.37 This account was later challenged by other witnesses on two grounds: first, this type of rice was apparently quite commonly exported to London, where it was used as soup-rice; second, rice found on slavers was actually “rather more weevil-eaten” than the one found aboard the Uniao.38 Since neither the ship’s fittings nor its cargo were clearly indicative of an act of slave trading, the commission eventually concentrated on another piece of equipment mentioned by Article 9 of the 1842 treaty, namely, the presence of shackles, bolts, and handcuffs. Quite strikingly, the captor’s declaration did not list any of these items, only “several iron bars”.39 Eventually though, once the ship had been brought to the Cape, various bolts were retrieved from it. One witness who had examined them at the Queen’s warehouse stated that they could have been used to confine several men.40 Convinced that a close examination of these bolts would provide decisive proof of the Uniao’s true nature, the Mixed Commission had the equipment brought before them, and they were subjected to the scrutiny of a shipwright and a commission of survey. All eventually agreed that only 34 Ibid., 618-619. 35 Ibid., 636-637. 36 Ibid., 618. 37 Ibid., 630. 38 Ibid., 632-633. 39 Ibid., 618. 40 Ibid., 629-630. Michel Erpelding 214 one bolt could have been used as a shackle.41 Now, as noted by one witness, having an instrument “for the purpose of confining refractory people” was rather common for a merchant vessel at that time.42 Eventually, not even the attorney-general, speaking on behalf of the captors, was ready to declare that there had been slave shackles on board the Uniao.43 Accordingly, the Mixed Commission concluded that no slave-trading equipment within the meaning the 1842 treaty had been found.44 Irrespective of its equipment, the Uniao could have been lawfully detained and judged had its captors proved that the Africans found aboard had indeed become the victims of the slave trade. Here, too, unforeseen difficulties emerged. The first obstacle was the Africans’ legal status. Contrary to their earlier declarations, the six Africans found aboard the Uniao were no longer slaves, at least according to Portuguese domestic law. One of them, who went by the name of “Joze Mozambique”, was very likely a free man, and served as a personal attendant to one of the passengers.45 As for the five remaining Africans, they had been manumitted by the Uniao’s captain shortly after entering his service as sailors. The corresponding deeds of manumission, bearing the signature of a notary in Mozambique, had been given to the captors, who transferred them to the Mixed Commission.46 Furthermore, the five Africans in question were listed as crew members on the Uniao’s manifest.47 It should be noted that in the eyes of the Mixed Commission, authentic documentary proof of legal status under domestic law was clearly not sufficient to dispel doubts about the Africans’ possible status as traded slaves under the 1842 treaty. As mentioned earlier, this treaty defined the slave trade as: [t]he infamous and piratical practice of transporting the natives of Africa by sea, for the purpose of consigning them to slavery. 41 Ibid., 616 and 636-637. 42 Ibid., 633. 43 Ibid., 617-618. 44 Ibid., 618. 45 Documents provided by the Mixed Commission give little information about “Joze Mozambique”, apart from the fact that he was the only African who had embarked on the Uniao of his own free will. It should also be noted that he was also the only African who refused to re-embark on the ship after its release. The commissioners’ report adds that Joze Mozambique’s master “[offered] no opposition to his leaving his service”, ibid., 613, 626. 46 Ibid., 622-623. 47 Ibid., 619-620. Evidence Requirements before 19th Century Anti-Slave Trade Jurisdictions 215 This definition could very well apply to persons who, under domestic law, were not anymore, or not yet, considered as slaves. In the case of the Uniao, the captain’s attitude toward his African crew members was hardly irreproachable. When called before the Mixed Commission, all of them testified that they had boarded the Uniao against their will. All of them appeared to have been sold to the captain, including those who had stated that they had been free men until then.48 However, for the attorney-general before the Mixed Commission, legal status, rather than concrete treatment, seemed to be the key factor. In his view, the mere fact of embarking slaves already constituted an act of slave trading: With regard to the negroes, he observed, that one of them Sabino, had not been manumitted till a month after he was shipped, and that two others, named Izidoro and Joze Maria, had also been on board as slaves; whence he contended that the vessel had been employed in the Slave Trade within the meaning of the Treaty, the negro sailors being all purchased, shipped, as they informed the captors, clearly against their will, and made free on the voyage.49 The attorney-general’s formalistic reasoning was very likely not meant to provide an authentic interpretation of the 1842 treaty, but rather to produce an authoritative argument in order to secure the Uniao’s condemnation and the liberation of all Africans found aboard, irrespective of whether they had been manumitted before or after embarkation.50 The Mixed Commission rejected this approach, favouring reasoning more in line with the 1842 treaty’s references to a concrete standard of treatment. The identical questions submitted to the Africans found on the Uniao were quite telling in this regard. Apart from the circumstances of their embarkation, the following questions related to their subsequent treatment. Did they consider themselves to be free men? Had they been informed of their manumission? What clothes did they wear? Were they subjected to physical abuse? Did they receive remuneration for their work? And if so, how much? Did they want to re-embark on the ship? All of the Africans had an- 48 Two of the five sailors stated that they had embarked on the Uniao as free men, but that they had been ordered to do so by their “employer”. However, owing to the circumstances described by them and other witnesses, it seems pretty straightforward that they had, in fact, been sold to the ship’s captain, ibid., 625-626. 49 Ibid., 617. 50 The attorney-general’s formalism appears even more specious with regard to his earlier statement that “all [the Africans] were slaves, or recently so”, which clearly implied that their status under Portuguese law was not decisive in his eyes, ibid. Michel Erpelding 216 swered that they considered themselves to be free men and felt treated as such; that they wore normal clothes; that they had agreed on a salary although not all of them had yet been paid. As to physical abuse, their answers differed: two stated that they had been unfairly beaten; two others declared they had suffered no bodily harm; a fifth declared that he had only been punished for disciplinary offences, as any sailor would have been. Two of the men stated their desire to return on board; whilst the two who had been subject to beatings said that they would prefer to remain at the Cape. A fifth African remained hesitant.51 The statements were confirmed by a Portuguese passenger, who had reported that all of them had been treated, fed and clad “in the same manner as the white sailors on board”.52 The commission inferred that the Africans of the Uniao had indeed been employed as sailors, and were not meant to be “consigned to slavery”. Thus, they had not been the victims of an act of slave trading. Upholding the applicant’s claims, the commission ordered the ship and its cargo to be released, and its owners to be compensated. All African sailors eventually reembarked on the Uniao.53 While the Uniao case was decided mainly with regard to objective treatment factors such as clothing and food, an earlier case showed that the subjective element of consent, or rather the lack thereof, could also be a criterion for determining that emancipated Africans were, in fact, treated as slaves. Emancipated individuals deported overseas against their will are slaves: the Sénégambie case (1840) Between France and Great Britain, the question of treatment of emancipated slaves sparked a controversy that would last more than twenty years. France, lacking Britain’s naval strength, could not rely on similar numbers of “recaptives” to provide its colonies with labourers and soldiers. In the 1820s, French authorities came up with an alternative solution: the government would buy captives from African chiefs, emancipate them, and deport them to French colonies as indentured labourers. As France knew that her policy of “redemption” (“rachat”) was likely to contravene both her B. 51 Ibid., 625-626. 52 Ibid., 626-627. It should be noted that this assessment might however be questionable, coming from Joze Mozambique’s master. 53 Ibid., 613 and 618. The commissioners’ report does not provide any information on their subsequent fate. Evidence Requirements before 19th Century Anti-Slave Trade Jurisdictions 217 own legislation for the suppression of the slave trade and the bilateral treaties signed with Britain, she had taken a number of formal precautions. For instance, the French government would only act through foreign intermediaries, who were specifically asked not to transport the slaves bought from African rulers by sea, instead only by land and on internal waters. More characteristically of France’s formalistic approach, the intermediaries were ordered to draw up “provisional deeds of future liberation” (“acte provisoire de libération à temps”) at the location of the exchange, in order to clarify that the persons bought as slaves would not be resold nor re-enslaved in the future.54 Despite these precautions, the dreaded diplomatic crisis eventually materialized in 1840, with the capture of the French schooner Sénégambie. Under a contract signed with the French authorities in Senegal, the owner of the Sénégambie had agreed to provide the colony with “one hundred indentured Blacks intended to form a company of military pioneers at Cayenne” (“cent Noirs, engagés à temps, destinés à former à Cayenne une Compagnie de Pionniers militaires”). In turn, the French authorities had agreed to provide a warship as an escort to the Sénégambie from the location where the Africans had been bought to the place where they were to be disembarked. Before they were to disembark, a government official was to draw up deeds of manumission.55 After entering Gorée with a first shipment of Africans bought in Bissau, the Sénégambie embarked on a second voyage. Having called at the port of Bathurst, the main British colony in the Gambia, she was seized by a British cruiser as a slave trader.56 The owner of the Sénégambie was brought before a grand jury at Bathurst and indicted for slave trading.57 The ship and its crew were transferred to Freetown, and tried by the local British courts.58 The Vice- Admiralty Court at Freetown decided to condemn the Sénégambie as a ship 54 Flory, supra note 3, 39-40. 55 Marché pour le rachat de cent Noirs destinés pour Cayenne, 21 October 1839, 20 BPP: Slave Trade (1841), Class C, 6-7. 56 Messrs. Forster and Smith to Viscount Palmerston, 9 May 1840, 20 BPP: Slave Trade (1841), Class C, 1-2. 57 Regina v. Marbeau, 13 February 1840, 20 BPP: Slave Trade (1841), Class C, 19. After he was formally indicted before the local Court of Session, Marbeau chose to ignore the summons issued by the British authorities in the Gambia. He left the colony and resumed executing his contract with the French government. Flory, supra note 3, 39-40. 58 The French authorities tried to challenge the British courts’ jurisdiction by invoking the Anglo-French treaties of 1831 and 1833 which declared that slave ships should be judged by the flag state. M. Dagorme to Lieutenant-Governor Ingram, 14 February 1840, 20 BPP: Slave Trade (1841), Class C, 13-14. The British govern- Michel Erpelding 218 fitted for the slave trade.59 As for the crew, they were handed one-month prison sentences by the local Court of Session.60 The discussions before all three courts essentially focused on the treatment given to the “redeemed” slaves. In order to distinguish the latter from victims of the slave trade, the French authorities had ordered their contractor to provide the indentured Africans with a certain standard of treatment. As a result he was prohibited from chaining them up,61 and legally bound to provide them with European-style clothes and the native soldier’s food ration.62 In their statements, several of the accused stressed that the “redeemed” Africans, not being in chains, had been free to move about the ship.63 The court at Bathurst expressly rebutted this argument. Not only did the French policy of “redemption” openly run counter to the letter of British domestic legislation, which outlawed any act of buying slaves, even with the intention of freeing them; it was also manifest that it was ultimately based on coercion. For the court, this was apparent in two ways. In a more general sense, French authorities had made no mention of the captives’ prior consent to their serving as indentured labourers at Cayenne. More specifically, with regard to the Africans’ treatment on board the ship, the court noted that the French navy had provided the Sénégambie with a code of signals that included a flag to be hoisted in the event of a passenger revolt. In the judges’ opinion, this treatment was impossible to distinguish from that inflicted on victims of the slave trade, as they concluded that “Such compulsory employment of persons bought at a price for the purposes of labour [constituted], to the best of our judgment, an act of slavery”.64 ment rebutted this argument, since the 1831 and 1833 treaties did not question the signatories’ competence to seize and judge slavers found within their respective internal waters. “Acting Lieutenant-Governor Ingram to Governor Dagorme”, 17 February 1840, ibid., 15. 59 Vice Admiralty Court of Sierra Leone, 4 March 1840, 20 BPP: Slave Trade (1841), Class C, 31-32. 60 Memorandum containing an abstract of the communication from the Colonial Department on the case of the French schooner ‘Sénégambie’, 10 June 1840, 20 BPP: Slave Trade (1841), Class C, 39. 61 Flory, supra note 3, 41. 62 Supra note 55. 63 See in particular the witness statement by Sénégal, the captain of the Sénégambie. When asked by the court how the redeemed slaves were treated on board his ship, he declared that they “were not ironed or handcuffed when they came on board, or in any way treated as slaves; they had as much liberty on board as he”. The Queen v. Marbeau, 10 February 1840, 20 BPP: Slave Trade (1841), Class C, 17. 64 Regina v. Marbeau, 13 February 1840, 20 BPP: Slave Trade (1841), Class C, 19. Evidence Requirements before 19th Century Anti-Slave Trade Jurisdictions 219 The Foreign Office endorsed this analysis. In a letter addressed to French Prime Minister Adolphe Thiers, the British ambassador to France stressed that the main reason why France and Great Britain were fighting the slave trade was that [i]t is an unjustifiable cruelty to seize the natives of Africa, and to carry them away by force from their own country to other parts of the world, in order there to make them perform labour and engage in occupations not of their own choice.65 Therefore, hiring “redeemed” slaves against their will was nothing but another form of the slave trade, since [t]hese negroes do not enlist, of their own accord, into the French service, but are handed over to the French Authorities by force; they are to be kept down by force during the voyage, and instead of being free agents, when they arrive at the end of their voyage, they are then to be compelled by force to labour. The condition, therefore, of these negroes, notwithstanding the pretended certificate of emancipation, is in all respects that of slavery.66 None of the July Monarchy’s successive governments endorsed Britain’s views on the forcible deportation of “redeemed” slaves: although they somewhat reduced the amount of slaves that were purchased and subsequently freed by France (especially in the vicinity of British colonies), they persistently refused to assimilate “redemption” to the slave trade.67 France’s position would only change with the advent of the second French Republic in 1848, when France’s leading abolitionist politician, Victor Schœlcher (1804-1893), became Under-Secretary of the Navy. Schœlcher not only declared that slave “redemption” was counterproductive as it encouraged the slave trade within Africa, but also that it was tantamount to a temporary form of slavery.68 As a result, the abolitionist decree of 27 April 1848, authored by Schœlcher, abolished both colonial chattel slavery and “the system of temporary indentures established in Senegal” (“le système d’engagement à temps établi au Sénégal”).69 65 Lord Granville to M. Thiers, 16 June 1840, 20 BPP: Slave Trade (1841), Class C, 19. 66 Ibid. 67 Flory, supra note 3, 43-45. 68 Ibid., 44. 69 Décret relatif à l’abolition de l’Esclavage dans les Colonies et Possessions françaises, 27 April 1848, Bulletin des lois, ser. 10, vol. 1, p. 321, Article 2. Michel Erpelding 220 However, as subsequent French governments refused to enforce the abolition of slave “redemption”,70 anti-slavery courts were soon confronted with the question of determining whether a state whose domestic law no longer recognized slavery as a legal institution could nevertheless be found in violation of international treaties against the slave trade. The preeminence of treatment over legal abolition One might have expected that mutual accusations of trading in slaves between European nations would have ceased after most of them had erased the institution of slavery from their domestic legislations. As a matter of fact, in as early as 1839 the Anglo-Portuguese Mixed Commission at Freetown had briefly raised this question in an obiter dictum without providing an answer.71 Subsequent international practice would show that an abolitionist country could very well be accused of trading in slaves. Indeed, accusations of slave trading made during two prominent cases involving French ships would eventually persuade France to replace her practice of forcibly recruiting African labourers for deportation overseas,72 by a policy III. 70 Even the Second French Republic (1848-1852) put an entire end to the policy of immigration by “redemption”. The Second French Empire (1852-1870) resumed this policy on a massive scale after 1857, before negotiating treaties with Great Britain for the immigration of Indian coolies in 1860 and in 1861. Flory, supra note 3, 44-45, 59-81. 71 In December 1838, the Portuguese schooner Aurelia Feliz was captured by the Royal Navy as a slaver because it carried a young boy bought on the island of Bolama, in present-day Guinea-Bissau, which was at that time disputed between Great Britain and Portugal. The Mixed Commission at Freetown, before releasing the ship on the ground that the young slave was employed on board as a cabinboy, and had therefore not been shipped “for the purposes of the traffic”, noted that it was “unnecessary to enter upon the questions, whether the Island of Bulama [sic] be British or Portuguese territory, or whether we can presume the possibility of any person existing in a state of slavery whilst under the nominal protection of British law”. Report of the case of the Portuguese Schooner Aurelia Feliz, Manoel de Jesus Silva, Master, 14 February 1839, 18 BPP – Slave Trade (1840), Class A, 98-99 (emphasis added). 72 Based on a decree of 1852, the French system for the recruitment of African labourers theoretically ensured that government officials verify the consent of the indentured African emigrants and their humane treatment on board the ships that carried them to the Americas. France, Décret sur l’émigration d’Europe et hors d’Europe à destination des Colonies françaises, 27 March 1852, Bulletin des lois, ser. 10, vol. 9, 1018, in particular Article 8. In practice, the emigrants’ consent was often doubtful, since they were either “redeemed” slaves or had been encour- Evidence Requirements before 19th Century Anti-Slave Trade Jurisdictions 221 of voluntary Asian immigration regulated in such a way as to ensure the humane treatment of the workers concerned.73 Although these cases did not result in trials, they saw the use of evidence similar to that of the Uniao and Sénégambie cases (A). In 1872-1875, Japan used the Maria Luz case to show that the international legal notion of slavery could also be used for the suppression of practices relating to the exploitation of indentured workers that were not Africans (B). Even an abolitionist state can be found guilty of treating people as slaves: the Regina Cœli and Charles-et-Georges cases (1857-1858) The first case that attracted international attention to the French labour recruitment system in Africa was that of the Regina Cœli.74 In April 1858, the French consul at Monrovia had requested the assistance of his British homologue in order to recapture the Regina Cœli, a French ship whose passengers, all of which were “emigrants” recruited on the coast of Liberia, had revolted against the crew, slaughtering almost everyone. The mission was entrusted to a captain of the British mail steamer Ethiope, who ensured the peaceful surrender of the “pirates”.75 The British authorities soon discovered the reasons behind the revolt: most of the 170 passengers had been bought as slaves; only a minority had embarked of their own free will as labourers bound for the French colony of Réunion; all of them, “redeemed” slaves and free labourers alike, had been put into chains immediately after embarking (their wrists and ankles still bore the marks of this treatment).76 Once it had been towed back to Monrovia, the Regina Cœli was handed over to a Liberian Admiralty Court for adjudication of its salvage.77 Rather than risking a discussion of the circumstances of the capture, France decided to put an end to the procedure by having one of its warships illegally secure the vessel. Liberia’s president solemnly protested this unilateral action, adding that the French ship had been guilty of trad- A. aged to board the emigration ships under false pretenses. As for the conditions on board these ships, they resulted in a mortality rate almost as high as that observed during the final years of the legal slave trade. Flory, supra note 3, 151-214, 241. 73 Ibid., 68-103. 74 For the facts at hand and the parties’ arguments, see 49 BFSP (1858-1859), 1011-1014, 1019-1024. 75 Consul Campbell to the Earl of Malmesbury, 30 April 1858. Ibid,. 1022-1024. 76 Mr. Croft to Consul Newnham, 15 April 1858, ibid., 1011-1014. 77 Mr. Moore to Consul Newnham, undated, ibid., 1022. Michel Erpelding 222 ing in slaves.78 Several months earlier, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, who was aware that his country might face this kind of accusation, had already denied all British accounts of Africans having been put in chains and mistreated on board the Regina Cœli.79 From December 1857 to October 1858, a second case, that of the Charles-et-Georges, almost resulted in a war between France and Portugal.80 The facts at hand closely resembled those of the Regina Cœli case. The Charles-et-Georges had received written instructions by French authorities to sail to Mozambique, where she was to embark African indentured workers bound for the island of Réunion. The Portuguese authorities in Mozambique had marked their disapproval of this venture. The Charles-et- Georges moved off the colony, but subsequently re-appeared at another point of the coast, where it embarked 110 Africans. The Portuguese governor-general, who had expected such a move, had the ship seized and appointed a commission to investigate the circumstances which had given rise to the capture.81 In its report, the commission not only addressed the ship’s equipment, which it held to be that of a slave ship, but also the condition of the Africans found aboard it. While it recognized that none of the Africans had been found imprisoned, it immediately added that “this was owing to the greater part being old men and children”. All declared that they had been sold and forced to embark against their will. As an additional formal criterion, it was also noted that the captain had not been able to present passports or labour contracts for his passengers. From these facts, the commission concluded that the Charles-et-Georges had been in violation of the Portuguese decree of 10 December 1836 against the slave trade.82 The Governor-general decided to transfer the case to the local court which confirmed the commission’s report and condemned the vessel and her captain, while the remaining crew members were released, together with the French government official found aboard the ship.83 The French government was infuriated by this decision, even though the Por- 78 Message of the President of Liberia, on the Opening of the Legislature, 9 December 1858, ibid., 81-82. 79 Earl Cowley to the Earl of Malmesbury, 22 June 1858, ibid., 1040. 80 For a rather complete account of the case, see, 49 BFSP (1858-1859), 599-697. 81 Mr. Howard to the Earl of Clarendon, 17 February 1858, ibid., 600-602. 82 Report of the Commission appointed by the Governor-general of Mozambique to investigate the circumstances under which the French barque Charles-et-Georges was captured on the coast of Quitangonha by the Portuguese man-of-war Zambesi, 1 December 1857, ibid., 617-619. 83 Sentence, 8 March 1858, ibid., 630-632. Evidence Requirements before 19th Century Anti-Slave Trade Jurisdictions 223 tuguese had made it clear that the French official was not to blame in any way. For France, condemning a ship with a French state agent on board as a slaver was all the more intolerable as it implied that an abolitionist government could in fact be accused of slavery.84 When the owners of the Charles-et-Georges appealed the decision of the Mozambique court before the Court of Relaçao in Lisbon,85 France demanded the ship’s immediate release,86 and backed up its demand by sending a naval squadron into the Tagus estuary.87 Confronted with the threat of having their capital subjected to naval bombardment, the Portuguese government eventually gave in, handing over the vessel and her captain to the French authorities.88 The case of the Charles-et-Georges sparked considerable unease amongst other European governments89 and international law scholars such as Paul Pradier-Fodéré (1827-1904).90 Napoleon III himself concluded from it that the forced recruitment of Africans, which was impossible to distinguish 84 In a note of 14 September 1858 addressed to the Portuguese prime minister, the French ambassador stressed that the Charles-et-Georges had operated with the assent of the French government and under the supervision of a French government agent. As this “[excluded] the very possibility of accusing, or even suspecting, [the ship of having committed an act of] slave trading, the Government of the Emperor [could] not tolerate that the Charles-et-Georges be considered a slaver and judged accordingly”. (“[C]es actes incontestables émanés d’une autorité française [excluaient] jusqu’à la possibilité d’une accusation ou même d’un soupçon de traite, le Gouvernement de l’Empereur n’admet pas que le Charles-et-Georges ait put être considéré et jugé comme négrier”). The Marquis de Lisle to the Marquis de Loulé, 14 September 1858, ibid., 627. 85 Mr. Howard to the Earl of Malmesbury, 16 August 1858, ibid., 610. 86 Earl Cowley to the Earl of Malmesbury, 2 October 1858, ibid., 624. 87 Mr. Howard to the Earl of Malmesbury, 4 October 1858, ibid., 642. 88 Extract from the Diario do Governo, 25 October 1858, ibid., 682-684. 89 As noted by H. F. Howard, the British ambassador to Portugal, “the conduct pursued by the French Government in sending a squadron here to intimidate the Portuguese Government, before even the answer of the latter had been taken into consideration, is very generally blamed by the foreign diplomatists here, and more particularly by the Representatives of the weaker Powers”. Mr. Howard to the Earl of Malmesbury, 8 October 1858, ibid., 656. 90 Pradier-Fodéré, who authored the 19th century’s most comprehensive French-language manual of international law, deplored that the question whether the Charles-et-Georges was indeed a slaver (which, in his eyes, was a perfectly legitimate one) had not been “resolved according to principles, but […] settled by force, as is all too often the case when a weak state is in conflict with a powerful state” (“résolue d’après les principes, mais […] tranchée par la force, comme cela n’a lieu que trop souvent, lorsqu’un État faible se trouve en conflit avec un État fort”). P. Pradier-Fodéré, Droit international public européen et américain, vol. 5 (1891), 1065-1067. Michel Erpelding 224 from the slave trade, and, therefore, “[contrary] to progress, humanity, and civilization”, should be replaced by “free Indian coolie labour”.91 Less than three years later, France abandoned her policy of “redemption” by signing a treaty with Britain allowing her to recruit Indian contractual workers92 for all of her colonies.93 91 In a letter to his cousin Prince Jérôme, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte explained his policy change as follows: “I demanded that Portugal restitute the Charles-et- Georges, because I will always maintain the integrity of the national flag. In regard to this matter, only my deep conviction that I was in my right could persuade me to jeopardize the friendly relations I gladly maintain with the King of Portugal. However, as regards the principle of indenturing blacks, my mind is hardly made up. If, indeed, workers are recruited against their will on the shores of Africa, if this recruitment is nothing but a form of slave trade in disguise, I will not have it, not at any price. For most certainly I shall nowhere encourage any venture contrary to progress, to humanity, to civilization. I therefore urge you to seek out the truth, using the same zeal and intelligence you apply to all matters you deal with. And since the best way of putting an end to these continual causes of conflict would be to replace black labour with free Indian coolie labour, I ask you to come to an understanding with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to resume negotiations with the British government [to that end]”. (“J’ai réclamé énergiquement auprès du Portugal la restitution du Charles-et-Georges, parce que je maintiendrai toujours intacte l’indépendance du drapeau national; et il m’a fallu dans cette circonstance, la conviction profonde de mon bon droit pour risquer de rompre avec le Roi du Portugal les relations amicales que je me plais à entretenir avec lui. Mais, quant au principe de l’engagement des noirs, mes idées sont loin d’être fixées. Si, en effet, des travailleurs recrutés sur la côte d’Afrique n’ont pas leur libre arbitre, et si cet enrôlement n’est autre chose qu’une Traite déguisée, je n’en veux à aucun prix. Car ce n’est pas moi qui protégerai nulle part des entreprises contraires au progrès, à l’humanité, et à la civilisation. Je vous prie donc de rechercher la vérité avec le zèle et l’intelligence que vous apportez à toutes les affaires dont vous vous occupez; et comme la meilleure manière de mettre un terme à des causes continuelles de conflit serait de substituer le travail libre des coolies de l’Inde à celui des nègres, je vous invite à vous entendre avec le Ministre des Affaires Étrangères, pour reprendre, avec le Gouvernement Anglais, les négociations [en ce sens]”). “The Emperor to his Imperial Highness the Prince in charge of the Ministry of Algeria and the Colonies“, 30 October 1858, Le Moniteur universel du soir, 8 November 1858. 92 Convention relative to the Emigration of Labourers from India to the French Colonies (France, Great Britain), signed at Paris on 1 July 1861, 51 BFSP (1860-1861), 35. The treaty was followed by a unilateral declaration in which Napoleon III, abandoning his former reference to the consent of workers in favour of a purely formalistic criterion, underscored that France’s former policy of “redeeming” slaves had not been, in fact, tantamount to trading in slaves: “It should be recognized that his form of recruitment is entirely different from the slave trade; as a matter of fact, whereas the [slave trade] originated and resulted in Evidence Requirements before 19th Century Anti-Slave Trade Jurisdictions 225 However, replacing African migrant workers with Asians did not put an end to the question of whether some of these non-European workers were subjected to a treatment prohibited under international legal rules against the slave trade. Toward freedom from slavery as a universal human right: the Maria Luz case (1872-1875) The Anglo-French convention of 1861, with her detailed regulations on workers’ consent,94 conditions of transportation,95 and working conditions,96 did everything to ensure that Indian coolies would not be subject- B. slavery, [slave “redemption”], on the contrary, leads to freedom. The negro slave, once he becomes an indentured labourer, is free, and not bound by any obligations save those contained within his contract. However, doubts have been raised about the consequences that these indentures might have upon the African populations. It was asked whether the price paid for redemption did not in fact encourage slavery. […] We must [now] find in India, in the French possessions of Africa, and in those lands where slavery is prohibited, all the free workers that we need.” (“Ce mode de recrutement, il faut le reconnaître, diffère complètement de la Traite; en effet, tandis que celle-ci avait pour origine et pour but l'esclavage, celui-là, au contraire, conduit à la liberté. Le nègre esclave, une fois engagé comme travailleur, est libre, et n'est tenu à d'autres obligations que celles qui résultent de son contrat. Toutefois, des doutes se sont élevés quant aux conséquences que ces engagements peuvent avoir sur les populations Africaines. On s'est demandé si le prix de rachat ne constituait pas une prime à l’esclavage. […] Nous devons [désormais] trouver dans l'Inde, dans les possessions françaises de l'Afrique, et dans les contrées où l'esclavage est proscrit, tous les travailleurs libres dont nous avons besoin”). “The Emperor of the French to the Minister of Marine and of the Colonies”, 1 July 1861, ibid., 48. 93 One year before, the two powers had already signed a similar convention restricted to workers bound for the island of Réunion: Convention relative to the Emigration of Labourers from India to the Colony of Réunion (France, Great Britain), signed at Paris on 25 July 1860, 50 BFSP (1859-1860), 86. 94 Article 6 of the treaty bound the parties to ensure that the emigrant “that his engagement is voluntary, that he has a perfect knowledge of the nature of his contract, of the place of his destination, of the probable length of his voyage, and of the different advantages connected with his engagement”. Moreover, Article 9 limited the duration of the contracts to five years, supra note 92. 95 Pursuant to the treaty of 1861, emigrants were entitled to clothes and a double blanket in winter (Article 13), access to a “European surgeon” and an interpreter (Article 14). The size of their cabins was also regulated (Article 15). Ibid. 96 Thus, the working time was limited to nine hours and a half day over six days a week (Article 10), ibid. Michel Erpelding 226 ed to a treatment which international and domestic courts had identified as a characteristic of slavery. Other agreements relating to Asian migrant workers contained comparable provisions.97 As early as the 1840s, the practice of recruiting Asian workers on long-term indentures in order to ship them off to the Mascarene Islands, Africa, and the Americas, had sometimes been described as “coolie trade”.98 Scholars regularly raised the question whether it could degenerate into slavery.99 Elements of state practice confirmed that the boundaries between slave labour and coolie labour may be fleeting: thus, during the US Civil War, Congress had passed a bill prohibiting the “coolie trade”,100 using the same wording the US Constitu- 97 Great Britain concluded another treaty for the regulated emigration of Indian workers with the Netherlands: Convention relative to the emigration of labourers from India to the Dutch Colony of Surinam (Great Britain, Netherlands), signed at the Hague on 8 September 1870, 60 BFSP (1869-1870), 22. The end of the 1870s also saw the conclusion of conventions regulating the emigration of Chinese workers: Convention for regulating the emigration of Chinese subjects to Cuba (China, Spain), signed at Peking on 6 December 1878, 69 BFSP (1877-1878), 362; Treaty for the Regulation of Chinese immigration into the United States (China, United States), signed at Peking on 17 November 1880, 71 BFSP (1879-1880), 103. Hawaii also concluded two conventions guaranteeing the individual freedom and good treatment of immigrants from Japan and Portuguese colonies: Convention for regulating, temporarily, commercial relations and emigration (Hawaii, Portugal), signed at Lisbon on 5 May 1882, 73 BFSP (1881-1882), 561; Convention respecting Emigration (Hawaii, Japan), signed à Tokyo on 28 January 1886, 77 BFSP (1885-1886), 941. 98 See in particular F. M. Farley, The Chinese Coolie Trade 1845-1875, 3 Journal of Asian and African Studies (1968), 1, 257-270, and H. Tinker, A New System of Slavery: The Export of Indian Labour Overseas 1830-1920, 2nd ed. (1993). 99 In a first phase, critics of the “coolie trade” focused on recruitment and transportation conditions. At the end of the 19th century, it was the coolies’ labour conditions that persuaded prominent figures like Victor Schœlcher and Paul Leroy-Beaulieu (1843-1916) to brand it as a form of slavery. J. Weber, L’émigration indienne à la Réunion: ‘contraire à la morale’ ou ‘utile à l’humanité’? (1829-1860), in E. Maestri (ed.), Esclavage et abolitions dans l’océan Indien (1723-1860) (2006), 327-328. 100 Act to Prohibit the ‘Coolie Trade’ by American Citizens in American Vessels, 18 February 1862, 68 BFSP (1876-1877), 441-443. Pursuant to this Act, “no citizen or citizens of the United States, or foreigner coming into or residing within the same, shall for himself or for any other person whatsoever, either as master, factor, owner, or otherwise, build, equip, load, or otherwise prepare any ship or vessel, or any steam-ship or steam-vessel, registered, enrolled, or licensed, in the United States, or any port within the same, for the purpose of procuring from China, or from any port or place therein, or from any other port or place, the Evidence Requirements before 19th Century Anti-Slave Trade Jurisdictions 227 tion had used to refer to slaves.101 The realization that the use of Asian migrant labour might lead to new forms of slavery called for a reform of the international legal vocabulary against slavery, which since the 1815 Vienna Declaration had been largely focused on the suppression of the “trade in African negroes” (“la traite des nègres d’Afrique”).102 In 1879, the German legal scholar Carl Gareis (1844-1923) took up this challenge by sketching out a broader theoretical framework for international antislavery law.103 For Gareis, the transatlantic slave trade and the worst forms of coolie trade were both particular manifestations of the slave trade (Sklavenhandel), a term which he suggested be replaced by the more universalist “trade in human beings” (Menschenhandel).104 Although Gareis himself believed that his conception of slavery did not entirely correspond to 19th century positive international law,105 the outcome of a recent dispute between Japan and Peru proved that his views were, on the contrary, validated by elements of state practice. On 10 July 1872,106 the Peruvian bark Maria Luz, while engaged in the transportation of Chinese coolies from the Portuguese colony of Macao to Peru, had pulled into the port of Yokohama under stress of weather.107 After one of the coolies had jumped overboard and sought refuge on a British warship, the British chargé d’affaires decided to make an unofficial inquiry into conditions on board the Maria Luz. Having found that the coolies were showing signs of ill-treatment, he requested the Japanese auinhabitants or subjects of China, known as ‘coolies’, to be transported to any foreign country, port, or place whatever, to be disposed of, or sold, or transferred, for any term of years or for any time whatever, as servants or apprentices, or to be held to service or labour” (emphasis added). 101 United States, Constitution, signed at Philadelphia on 17 September 1787, Article IV, Sect. 2, paragraph 3: “No person held to service or labour in one state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labour, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labour may be due” (emphasis added). 102 Déclaration des Puissances sur l’abolition de la traite des Nègres (Austria, Spain, France, Great Britain, Portugal, Prussia, Russia, Sweden-Norway), signed at Vienna on 8 February 1815, 3 BFSP (1815-1816), 971-972. 103 C. Gareis, Das heutige Völkerrecht und der Menschenhandel (1879). 104 Ibid., 5-8. 105 Ibid., 26-34. 106 In the Sabansho, before his Excellency Oye Tak, Governor, this day, 18 September 1872, Foreign Relations of the United States (hereafter FRUS), 1873-1874, vol. 1, 544. 107 Mr. Watson to Soyeshima Tane-omi, 3 August 1872, ibid., 529. Michel Erpelding 228 thorities to detain the ship and interrogate the crew.108 The request was granted, and the Chinese passengers were brought ashore.109 Since they did not want to return on board, and the Japanese authorities refused to force them back, the ship’s captain sued them individually for breach of contract before a local judge at Kanagawa.110 As in earlier proceedings dealing with African indentured labourers, discussions before the Kanagawa court largely focused on the passengers’ treatment, including their informed consent to their contracts, rather than simply acknowledging their status as free individuals under Peruvian law (Peru had formally abolished slavery in 1854111). The claimant’s version was, in substance, that the Chinese had embarked by their own free will after signing valid contracts whose terms they had fully understood.112 Their accommodation and food were allegedly better than those of the crew.113 All had been happy before entering Japanese waters; none had been flogged or chained up, except those guilty of disciplinary offences.114 These declarations contrasted with those made by the coolies themselves,115 a Chinese doctor,116 and the British chargé d’affaires.117 Even the claimant’s account contained enough contradictions to make it seem 108 Ibid., 530. 109 Mr. De Long to Mr. Fish, 3 September 1872, ibid., 524-525. 110 For a copy of the court proceedings and judgment in the matter of Heriero vs. Chinese (sic): supra note 106, 533-553. 111 Peru, Decreto de la Abolición de la Esclavitud, 3 December 1854, available at (last visited on 29 September 2018). 112 Supra note 106, 535-536. 113 Ibid., 539. 114 Ibid., 535. 115 Several of the coolies mentioned that food was insufficient and that they had been beaten. In addition, “Coolie No. 8” said that the captain had ordered him to beat “Coolie No. 5” with a stick, and that he had been “forced to sign [his own indenture] by a foreigner”. “Translation from Japanese minutes of visit to ship, return, and report of Hayoshi Gontenji and Geo. Hill”, 15 August 1872, FRUS, 1873-1874, vol. 1, 594-595. 116 The doctor, Chum Ping Him, stated that those who had revolted against the captain had been “beaten very hard with rattans, and then with a bull’s hide”. Generally, he thought that the coolies “would be better off in their villages than on the ship, as they would be free and not confined”, supra note 106, 542-543. 117 During his short visit aboard the Maria Luz, the British chargé d’affaires in Japan, R. G. Watson, had “found many of the coolies debilitated, emaciated, and suffering, and all apparently in a very melancholy and unhappy condition”. He took measurements of their space, and found it to be too small. He also “observed marks about the legs of the men and scrofulous marks”, ibid., 543-544. Evidence Requirements before 19th Century Anti-Slave Trade Jurisdictions 229 rather dubious. Thus, the captain recognized that he had embarked twelve boys, taken from their parents in exchange for money. He added that he had done this in his personal capacity, since the charter-party disapproved of this practice.118 He also confessed that those flogged and chained had been punished either for secretly selling tea to the other passengers (which called into question his earlier declaration that passengers had permanent access to tea),119 or for conspiring twice to “make a revolution on board”.120 Worse still, several members of the crew recognized that three passengers had committed suicide by jumping overboard and that others had collected straw to set fire to the ship.121 In its judgment, the court at Kanagawa dismissed the captain’s claim. Its essential holding was that the long-term indentures signed by the coolies of the Maria Luz had effectively reduced them, “[s]ubstantially”, to the “practical status” of “slavery”, as they could be assigned from one employer to another against their will, and had been left ignorant of the law that would govern their indentures (as had the court). Thus, enforcing these contracts – which, in any case, had been rendered void by the abuse later inflicted upon the coolies – would have been contrary to Japanese public policy.122 Peru, infuriated by this decision, sent a plenipotentiary to Japan, entrusting him with the mission to obtain reparations before establishing formal treaty relations between both countries.123 According to the Peruvian minister, the Kanagawa court had lacked impartiality in assessing the coolies’ condition: far from being a new form of the slave trade, the “socalled coolie trade” was in fact “nothing else but the free and spontaneous emigration of a very small part of the exuberant population of the celestial empire, which is frequently subject to the horrors of hunger, wars, and pestilence, unavoidable among so an immense an accumulation of people”. Their attempts to escape from the ship had merely been caused by “the ennui which life on board always causes to those who are not accustomed to it”. In any case, the passengers of the Maria Luz were no slaves, as “slaves [could] not exist” in abolitionist Peru.124 The Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs gave a biting reply to these arguments. He clarified that his govern- 118 Ibid., 537. 119 Ibid., 536-537. 120 Ibid., 537. 121 Ibid., 539-542. 122 Ibid., 548-552. 123 Mr. De Long to Mr. Fish, 9 March 1873, FRUS, 1873-1874, vol. 1, 572-582. 124 Minister of Peru to Minister of Foreign Affairs, 31 March 1873, FRUS, 1873-1874, vol. 1, 586-594. Michel Erpelding 230 ment’s inquiry into the situation on board the Maria Luz had been triggered by “the beating, maiming, and imprisonment of persons whom to the last hour, Captain Heriera designated as passengers”. Quoting extensively from the accounts made by individual coolies (whom he referred to by their names, rather than assigning them a number), he concluded that “[i]t was unmistakably shown that [they] were dissatisfied with their treatment, and alarmed about the prospects for their future”. He reminded the Peruvian minister that they had been preparing “to sacrifice their lives by setting fire to their ship at sea”, hardly a usual occupation for “free passengers” plagued by ennui. In any case, for Japan, it was out of the question to “drive them outside of the protection to which they were entitled […] by the laws of humanity […]”.125 Japan and Peru eventually agreed to refer the matter to the arbitration of the Russian Czar, who ruled in favour of Japan.126 Although the arbitrator did not specify the reasons for his decision, prominent legal scholars of the period acknowledged the award as an important legal development, especially with regard to the notion of public policy in private international law.127 In my view, the Maria Luz case should also be seen as an early attempt to extend the international fight against slavery and the slave trade; so as to encompass the worst forms of unfree labour, even those practiced by states that no longer recognized slavery as a legal institution, and, irrespective of the origins of its victims. As a matter of fact, in his 1883 international law manual, the presumed author of the Russian award of 1875, Fyodor Martens (1845-1909),128 gave a very broad definition of slavery in international law. In his view, slavery was first and foremost a question relating to “human rights” (droits de l’homme), because “[all] civilized states agree that man is a person” (“[tous] les États civilisés s’accordent sur ce point que l’homme est une personne”), endowed with “imprescriptible rights [which states] must respect in their relations with each other” (“des droits imprescriptibles [que les États] doivent respecter dans leurs relations 125 Mr. De Long to Mr. Fish, 19 June 1873, FRUS, 1873-1874, vol. 1, 607-616. 126 For the two protocols signed by the parties on 19 and 25 June 1873, as well as the award of the Russian Czar, given on 17 (29) May 1873: H. La Fontaine, Pasicrisie internationale (1902), no. LIX, 197-199. 127 See in particular L. Strisower, Affaire des navires Creole et autres: note doctrinale, in A. La Pradelle, N. Politis (eds.), Recueil des Arbitrages Internationaux, vol. 1 (1905), 706. Several manuals also mentioned the case: A. Rivier, Principes du droit des gens, vol. 1 (1896), 150-151. H. Bonfils, P. Fauchille, Manuel de droit international public (1914), 667. 128 C. G. Roelofsen, International Arbitration and Courts, in B. Fassbender, A. Peters, The Oxford Handbook of the History of International Law (2012), 163-164. Evidence Requirements before 19th Century Anti-Slave Trade Jurisdictions 231 réciproques”).129 Thus, fighting slavery did not merely mean to abolish it as a legal status, but to guarantee “the absolute respect of the human person” (“le respect absolu de la personne humaine”), which had now become the “guiding principle for European nations in their external relations” (“le principe dirigeant des nations européennes dans leurs relations extérieures”).130 However, it would take Western states another 65 years to formally recognize this principle, by proclaiming the international human right to freedom from slavery.131 129 F. de Martens, Traité de droit international (1883), 428. 130 Ibid., 430. 131 Pursuant to Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ‘No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948, A/RES/3/217A. Michel Erpelding 232 La qualité étatique accordée par le juge interne : Une reconnaissance procédurale de l’État ? Mehdi Belkahla* « La reconnaissance en ce qui concerne les facultés juridiques que le droit commun international attribue […] n’a pas besoin d’intervenir lorsque ces facultés ne sont pas contestées. En ce cas, elle sera l’œuvre d’un tribunal […] »1 Introduction La reconnaissance : des enjeux multiples La question de la reconnaissance, institution classique du droit international,2 constitue l’un des sujets les plus fascinants de la discipline.3 Cette fascination a pu toutefois être supplantée par une forme de frustration, comme en témoignent les propos de J. Dugard selon lequel « [t]out juriste prétendant examiner les mystères de la […] reconnaissance et ayant pour dessein d[’en] fournir une explication cohérente […] dans le cadre d’une théorie juridique s’exposera immanquablement à la dérision et à la vitupération ».4 L’expression de son scepticisme n’a évidemment pas entamé sa témérité ni celle de nombreux membres de la doctrine, puisque la reconnais- I. A. * Research Fellow à l’Institut Max Planck Luxembourg pour le droit procédural ; Doctorant à l’Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris II). 1 G. Scelle, Règles générales du droit de la paix, 46 R.C.A.D.I. (1933), 327, 379. 2 J. Verhoeven, Les relations internationales de droit privé en l’absence de reconnaissance d’un État, d’un gouvernement ou d’une situation, 192 R.C.A.D.I. (1985), 9, 19 [Verhoeven, Les relations internationales] ; R. Y. Jennings, General Course on Principles of International Law, 121 R.C.A.D.I. (1967), 323, 349 ; J. Chatelain, La reconnaissance internationale, in Ch. Rousseau (dir.), La technique et les principes en droit public : Études en l’honneur de Georges Scelle (1950), 717, 719 : « […] [C]ertains […] [ont] vu [dans la notion de reconnaissance] "l’institution fondamentale du Droit des gens" ». 3 J. Verhoeven, La reconnaissance internationale dans la pratique contemporaine : les relations publiques internationales (1975), 1 [Verhoeven, Reconnaissance]. 4 J. Dugard, Recognition and the United Nations (1987), 5 [notre traduction]. 233 sance fait encore et toujours l’objet d’une attention particulière. Il apparaît, à cet égard, que trois qualités propres à la question fondent l’intérêt que continuent de lui porter les internationalistes : sa juridicité, sa complexité et son actualité. Le débat sur l’appartenance de l’institution de la reconnaissance à la discipline juridique n’a jamais cessé d’agiter la doctrine. Certains réalistes affirment ainsi sans ambages son ancrage dans la sphère des relations internationales et de la science politique.5 Et, il faut en convenir, il serait illusoire de tenter d’imposer un apolitisme absolu à la reconnaissance sans s’écarter dangereusement d’une vérité éprouvée et approuvée.6 Néanmoins, si d’aucuns ont pu insister plus que de raison sur la prépondérance du politique sur l’ensemble des étapes menant à l’adoption de l’acte de reconnaissance et à ses conséquences,7 dans leur immense majorité, les internationalistes ont su justifier l’intérêt porté à la reconnaissance par la science juridique.8 La position de I. Brownlie est à cet égard tout à fait à propos. Il affirme que bon nombre d’aspects attachés à la reconnaissance ont incontestablement une dimension politique, mais pas davantage que toute autre 5 H. Lauterpacht, Recognition of States in International Law, 53 Yale Law Journal (1944), 385, 386 [Lauterpacht, Recognition of States] : « La majorité des auteurs adhèrent à l’idée que l’acte de reconnaissance en tant que tel n’est pas une matière régie par le droit, mais une question de nature politique » [notre traduction] ; R. Bierzaneck, La non-reconnaissance et le droit international contemporain, 8 Annuaire français de droit international (1962), 117, 124 : « On a exprimé bien des fois l’opinion que la reconnaissance, étant un acte de caractère purement politique, ne relève point du droit international ». 6 C. Hillgruber, The Admission of New States to the International Community, 9 European Journal of International Law (1998), 491 : « […] [L]’importance du caractère politique de la reconnaissance d’État est indéniable […] » [notre traduction] ; Jennings, supra note 2, 356 : « En tout état de cause, il y a un manque certain de réalisme de la part des doctrines prônant le fait que les décisions [de reconnaissance] puissent être prises en vertu de motifs purement juridiques sans avoir égard à des motivations politiques » [notre traduction]. 7 J. Verhoeven, Droit international public (2000), 74 ; H. Fromageot, Comité d’experts pour la codification progressive du droit international de la Société des Nations, Procès-verbaux de la première session, 7 mai 1925, 40 : « La reconnaissance […] n'est pas une matière qui puisse être réglée juridiquement ; elle est exclusivement d’ordre politique ». 8 E. Wyler, Théorie et pratique de la reconnaissance d’État : une approche épistémologique du droit international (2013), xvi [E. Wyler, Théorie et pratique] : « Nous ne croyons pas que la fécondité d’une analyse politique exclue toute approche juridique ». Mehdi Belkahla 234 question intéressant le droit international.9 Il s’ensuit que les scientifiques du droit seraient bien affligés s’ils devaient se détourner d’un objet d’étude uniquement parce que celui-ci présenterait des traits extra-juridiques. Les discussions entourant la question de la juridicité de la reconnaissance laissent poindre toute la complexité du sujet. Il règne, en effet, une quasi-unanimité au sein de la doctrine sur la reconnaissance des difficultés posées par la reconnaissance.10 Les vocables ne manquent pas pour témoigner des obstacles que le juriste doit surmonter pour ne serait-ce que s’essayer à une définition de la notion. Nombreux sont ceux qui parlent de la « confusion »11 qui enserre la question, tandis que d’autres évoquent de façon plus emphatique « un fardeau de difficultés et de malentendus »12 en la matière. La rudesse de l’étude de ce sujet a ainsi pu autoriser de nombreuses tentatives de (re-)théorisation.13 Ces ambitions doctrinales sont également le corollaire de l’actualité de la question. Récemment, la reconnaissance, sous sa variante étatique ou gouvernementale, a fait l’objet d’un regain d’intérêt au vu des développements qui secouent la société internationale. La série de changements révolutionnaires de gouvernement dans le monde arabe, les velléités de l’Autorité palestinienne d’intégrer certaines institutions internationales ou en- 9 I. Brownlie, Recognition in Theory and Practice, 53 British Yearbook of International Law (1982), 197, 201 ; voir également, R. Lapidoth et K. N. Calvo-Goller, Les éléments constitutifs de l’État et la déclaration du Conseil national palestinien du 15 novembre 1988, 96 RGDIP (1992), 777, 801 : « La reconnaissance obéit principalement à des mobiles politiques, elle ne constitue pas moins un acte juridique ». 10 S. Talmon, Recognition of Governments in International Law: With Particular Reference to Governments in Exile (1998), 21. 11 Ch. H. Alexandrowicz-Alexander, The Quasi-Judicial Function in Recognition of States and Governments, 46 American Journal of International Law (1952), 631 : « […] [Une certaine] confusion […] entour[e] les débats […] sur la question » [notre traduction] ; I. Brownlie, supra note 9, 197 : « La confusion […] règne [sur la question] » [notre traduction] ; H. Kelsen, Recognition in International Law: Theoretical Observations, 35 American Journal of International Law (1941), 605, 606 [Kelsen, Recognition] : « […] [L]a confusion prév[aut] » [notre traduction] ; Bierzaneck, supra note 5, 123 : « La doctrine […] en matière de reconnaissance est confuse et divergente […] ». 12 F. Münch, Quelques problèmes de la reconnaissance en droit international, in Miscellanea Walter Jean Ganshof Van Der Meersch: studia ab discipulis amicisque in honorem egregii professoris edita (1972), 157, 167. 13 En langue française, une des études de référence est celle de J. Charpentier, La reconnaissance internationale et l’évolution du droit des gens (1956). Pour une étude récente, voir E. Wyler, Théorie et pratique, supra note 8. La qualité étatique accordée par le juge interne 235 core la question controversée des quasi-États14 représentés par des entités aussi diverses que Taïwan, le Kosovo ou la Transnistrie sont en effet autant de problématiques qui, sans être réduites à la question de la reconnaissance, ont un rapport évident avec celle-ci. D’autres enjeux non pas inédits mais remarquables ont pu récemment être relevés dans le cadre de la reconnaissance. En effet, il semblerait que le monopole dont pouvaient jouir les exécutifs internes15 en la matière s’est vu bousculé par des initiatives parlementaires16 et des incursions judiciaires.17 Notre contribution se proposera d’étudier les cas, relativement nombreux, où la question de la qualité étatique d’une entité se pose au cours de l’instance, et plus particulièrement les affaires dans lesquelles le juge interne accepte effectivement de se prononcer sur celle-ci en mettant en œuvre une opération juridique spécifique. Certains commentateurs ont pu qualifier très tôt cette pratique de « reconnaissance judiciaire ».18 De la même manière, nous pourrons envisager dans quelle mesure l’on pourra parler ou non, dans ces hypothèses, d’une (non-)reconnaissance procédurale19 de l’État. Aussi conviendra-t-il de confronter ce phénomène à l’institution 14 P. Kolstø, The Sustainability and Future of Unrecognized Quasi-States, 43 Journal of Peace Research (2006), 723. 15 J. Charpentier, La reconnaissance internationale et l’évolution du droit des gens, supra note 13, 3 : « Ce sont les États qui reconnaissent, par l’organe de leurs gouvernements et plus spécialement du pouvoir exécutif ». 16 Certains parlements ont récemment adopté des résolutions appelant leur gouvernement à reconnaître un État palestinien ; voir p. ex., Assemblée nationale de la République française, Résolution portant sur la reconnaissance de l’État de Palestine, n° 439, 2 décembre 2014. 17 Certains auteurs ont pu relever une nette tendance contemporaine de la part de certaines juridictions internes à faire fi de l’absence de reconnaissance par l’exécutif dans la résolution des litiges qui se présentent devant elles. Cette situation semble être le fruit d’une lente évolution ; voir à ce sujet, F. Couveinhes-Matsumoto, L’effectivité en droit international (2014), 274-284, paras 266-273. 18 A. D. McNair, Judicial Recognition of States and Governments and the Immunities of Public Ships, 2 British Yearbook of International Law (1921), 57 ; F. A. Mann, The Judicial Recognition of an Unrecognised State, 36 International and Comparative Law Quarterly (1987), 348 ; Verhoeven, Les relations internationales, supra note 2, 23 : « […] [D]’aucuns n’ont point hésité à affirmer l’existence d’une reconnaissance en quelque sorte judiciaire, qui exprimerait […] la reconnaissance autonome d’un juge […] ». 19 Expression inspirée de la notion « d’État procédural » forgée par E. Wyler, Le droit de la succession d’États à l’épreuve de la fiction juridique, in G. Distefano et al. (dir.), La Convention de Vienne de 1978 sur la succession d’États en matière de traités – Commentaire article par article et études thématiques (2016), 1607, 1655, para 54, [E. Wyler, La succession d’États]. Cette expression permettra également Mehdi Belkahla 236 juridique de la reconnaissance telle qu’elle est classiquement admise en droit international comme acte juridique unilatéral prononcé par le gouvernement d’un État ; acte auquel sont attachées des conséquences juridiques déterminées. Si la formulation du problème en ces termes peut, dès l’abord, faire douter de la pertinence de la qualification de reconnaissance pour décrire lesdits phénomènes20 – notamment au regard de la théorie des actes unilatéraux et plus encore du monopole de l’exécutif dans la conduite des relations internationales –, l’étude exigera, en tout état de cause et au préalable, une tentative de définition de la reconnaissance. La reconnaissance : éléments de définition Il apparaît d’emblée que la reconnaissance est une catégorie générale du droit qui ne saurait se limiter à la seule reconnaissance de gouvernement ou d’État ;21 déclinaison ayant la préférence des auteurs de traités de droit international. Elle peut, à ce titre, se rapporter à maints objets en droit international public22: la reconnaissance d’un traité,23 d’une responsabilité internationale,24 d’une zone de pêche avec droits préférentiels,25 etc. Dans cette perspective, M. Jones définit la reconnaissance, « dans un sens générique et large [comme] toute acceptation […] d’une situation […] internationale […] formulée par l’organe exécutif d’un État […] de manière à [l’]engager […] ».26 Dans cette formulation, comme dans d’autres, trois élé- B. de ne pas confondre le phénomène étudié avec la notion de reconnaissance de facto. Voir à ce sujet, infra note 55. 20 Verhoeven, Les relations internationales, supra note 2, 23. 21 Brownlie, supra note 9, 200-202. 22 Jennings, supra note 2, 349 : « […] [S]es domaine[s] d’application [sont] extrêmement large[s] » [notre traduction] ; J. Combacau et S. Sur, Droit international public, 11è éd. (2014), 289 : « Elle connaît des applications dans la plupart des domaines du droit international ; tout ou presque peut faire l’objet de reconnaissance […] » ; J. Charpentier, Reconnaissance (1ère publication 1998, actualisation 2009), Répertoire Dalloz de Droit International, para 2 : « Les objets de la reconnaissance sont […] très divers » ; J. Chatelain, La reconnaissance internationale, supra note 2, 717 : « [La reconnaissance] a […], par sa nature même, un champ d’application extrêmement vaste et s’étend à toute une série d’hypothèses […] ». 23 Traité de Versailles, 28 juin 1919, Art. 231, 225 CTS 188. 24 Huilca Tecse c. Pérou, CIADH arrêt du 3 mars 2005, Série C., n° 121, para 103. 25 Affaire de la compétence en matière de pêcheries (Royaume-Uni c. Islande), fond, arrêt, CIJ Rec. 1974, 3, 26, para 59. 26 M. Jones, The Retroactive Effect of the Recognition of States and Governments, 16 British Yearbook of International Law (1935), 42 [notre traduction]. La qualité étatique accordée par le juge interne 237 ments de définition sont ici d’une importance notable : le fait, le consentement au fait et l’opposabilité du fait. Lorsque M. Jones évoque une « situation », d’autres mentionnent un « fait »27 ou une « situation de fait ».28 La première pierre d’achoppement de la question de la reconnaissance apparaît ici immédiatement : qui établit le fait soumis à reconnaissance ? Posons très simplement l’exemple mentionné de la reconnaissance d’une responsabilité internationale. Dans ce cas, un État établit qu’il y a eu préjudice causé à son endroit. En d’autres termes, l’État supposément lésé établit le fait et demande qu’il soit reconnu. Certains ont ainsi pu laisser entendre que l’établissement objectif du fait était une chimère et que l’objet de la reconnaissance n’était rien de moins qu’une prétention.29 De la même manière, dans le cadre de la reconnaissance d’État, ce qui est soumis à la reconnaissance est la revendication de la qualité étatique par les organes mêmes de ce supposé État.30 Il serait, par conséquent, plus à propos dans notre définition de parler de proposition de fait plutôt que de fait.31 Le deuxième élément saillant de la définition est le consentement à la proposition de fait. Il suppose une action unilatérale de la part d’un sujet – typiquement un État – traduisant son acquiescement à la proposition. En d’autres termes, le consentement ne laisse apparaître que l’accord de celui qui l’exprime face à une prétention. Un certain nombre d’auteurs considèrent ainsi que la théorie doit dissocier le consentement à la proposition – et par extension, la reconnaissance – de la connaissance du fait situé en 27 J. Charpentier, La reconnaissance internationale et l’évolution du droit des gens, supra note 13, 3 : « [Les objets de la reconnaissance] ont ceci de commun d’être des faits […] ». 28 Combacau et Sur, Droit international public, supra note 22, 289 : « La reconnaissance est l’acte juridique unilatéral par lequel un État atteste l’existence à son égard d’une situation de fait […] ». 29 Brownlie, supra note 9, 202 : « [Il est d’abord] nécessaire de formuler certaines questions quant à "l’ambition factuelle" de l’entité en question avant […] [d’envisager] les conséquences juridiques auxquelles l’entité peut aspirer » [notre traduction]. 30 A. Jolicoeur, De la reconnaissance en droit international, 6 (2) Les Cahiers de droit (1965), 85, 86 : « La reconnaissance juridique d’un État doit d’abord être faite par la communauté qui la compose ». 31 J. F. Williams, La doctrine de la reconnaissance en droit international et ses développements récents, 44 R.C.A.D.I. (1933), 199, 206 : « La reconnaissance […] est la réponse favorable à une prétention de posséder un certain caractère, un certain "status" » ; F. Münch, supra note 12, 158 : « […] [L]a reconnaissance […] signifie le consentement à une proposition, son acceptation comme base de la discussion ultérieure et du comportement futur ». Mehdi Belkahla 238 amont de la proposition.32 En effet, nous l’avons laissé entendre, le fait proposé peut être plus ou moins conforme au fait réel puisque soumis à la subjectivité de celui qui aspire à sa reconnaissance. Mais, le fait proposé pourrait tout aussi bien correspondre à la réalité, cependant que tout consentement lui serait dénié.33 La connaissance ontologique du fait n’est, par conséquent, pas la reconnaissance ; laquelle n’est que le consentement libre à la proposition de fait.34 Le dernier élément de la définition est l’opposabilité.35 Par la reconnaissance de la proposition de fait, le sujet « s’engage à […] tirer les conséquences que le droit attache » au fait reconnu.36 Aussi, en reprenant un des exemples susmentionnés, l’État qui reconnaît sa responsabilité pour le préjudice subi par un autre État peut-il s’en voir opposer les implications juridiques ;37 typiquement une obligation de réparation. Cette opposabilité repose sur le principe fondamental de volonté, que la reconnaissance – en tant que mode de formation volontaire du droit38 – partage avec la tech- 32 Brownlie, supra note 9, 204. 33 Bierzaneck, supra note 5, 123 : « […] [N]ous sommes en présence de discordances flagrantes entre ce qui est reconnu et ce qui existe en réalité ». Ce constat a pu trouver une illustration concrète dans le cas de la Rhodésie du Sud. Voir à cet égard Brownlie, supra note 9, 204 : « Dans [le] cas [de la Rhodésie du Sud,] c’est le statut, et non pas la réalité, qui est refusé » [notre traduction]. 34 Williams, supra note 31, 215-216. L’auteur y présente un exemple particulièrement éloquent ; celui de la reconnaissance par Louis XIV du fils de Jacques II comme roi d’Angleterre : « Que fit exactement Louis quand il "reconnut" ainsi "Jacques III" ? Évidemment, il n’admettait pas l’existence d’un fait. "Jacques III" […] n’était pas, en fait, roi d’Angleterre. Louis admettait donc, ou plutôt affirmait, la justesse d’une prétention ; […] il affirmait que pour lui-même, Louis, subjectivement, l’ancien prétendant était bien roi d’Angleterre. […] C’était […] une affirmation de ce que Louis croyait ou prétendait croire ». 35 P. Daillier et al., Droit international public, 8è éd. (2009), 619, para 364 ; Charpentier, Reconnaissance, supra note 22, para 14. Certaines théories interrogent néanmoins les rapports entre reconnaissance et opposabilité. Voir p. ex., Verhoeven, Reconnaissance, supra note 3, 6. Les travaux de la Commission de droit international semblent même suggérer que l’opposabilité ne constitue qu’une des conséquences juridiques de la reconnaissance. Voir à ce titre, V. Rodríguez Cedeño, Rapporteur spécial de la CDI sur les actes unilatéraux des États, Sixième Rapport, A/CN.4/534, para 67. 36 Combacau et Sur, supra note 22, 289. 37 Daillier et al., supra note 35, 619, para 364 : « […] [Le] sujet […] accepte que [la] situation [lui] soit opposable [: il] admet que les conséquences juridiques de [celle-ci] s’appliquent à lui ». 38 Ibid., 393, para 234. La qualité étatique accordée par le juge interne 239 nique conventionnelle.39 Le consentement exprimé par l’État le liera juridiquement et aura des effets de droit donnés. Il serait naturellement impossible d’aborder la question de la reconnaissance sans avoir évoqué le schisme qui n’a pas manqué de diviser la doctrine entre les tenants d’une conception constitutive de l’acte de reconnaissance et les partisans de sa nature et sa portée déclaratives.40 En dépit des qualités de chaque vue et de la tentative de synthèse engagée par H. Lauterpacht qui affirme que « la reconnaissance [est] déclaratoire de faits et […] constitutive de droits »,41 elles renferment toutes deux leur propre contrariété. L’approche déclarative conçoit l’acte de reconnaissance comme une simple déclaration de la qualité étatique de son objet : la reconnaissance est extérieure à l’État et ne le constitue, ni ne le crée.42 En vertu de celle-ci, l’État existe tant et pourvu qu’il réunisse les trois critères prescrits par le droit international : un territoire défini, une population permanente et un gouvernement effectif et indépendant.43 Il s’ensuit logiquement que la per- 39 Certains vont, par ailleurs, très loin dans l’analogie entre les deux modes de formation du droit. Voir à ce titre H. Kelsen, Théorie générale du droit international public – Problèmes choisis, 42 R.C.A.D.I. (1932), 117, 278-279 : « La reconnaissance n’est donc rien d’autre qu’une convention […]. [Elle] est […] tout simplement la convention introductive à laquelle se rattache la naissance de normes juridiques pour certains sujets, et par conséquent la personnalité juridique réciproque de ces sujets. Et en effet, la réciprocité […] [est] propr[e] à l’idée de reconnaissance » ; A. Lagerwall, Le principe ex injuria non oritur en droit international (2016), 506 : « [L’]école critique choisit […] [d’]attribuer à l’acte de reconnaissance une nature conventionnelle qui relie la volonté de l’État revendiquant la reconnaissance d’une situation à la volonté d’un autre État acceptant de lui octroyer cette reconnaissance ». 40 Williams, supra note 31, 206 : « Le point principal d’incertitude – de controverse même […] repose sur la question de savoir si la reconnaissance d’un […] État […] est de caractère constitutif ou simplement déclaratoire […] ». 41 Lauterpacht, Recognition of States, supra note 5, 455 [notre traduction]. 42 R. Erich, La naissance et la reconnaissance des États, 13 R.C.A.D.I. (1926), 427, 461 : « Quand un gouvernement étranger reconnaît un nouvel État, il constate, par la même, qu’on se trouve devant un fait, un statut organisé dont l’existence lui paraît incontestable. On le reconnaît parce qu’il existe. On ne le reconnaît pas afin qu’il prenne naissance […] » ; Williams, supra note 31, 207 : « [La reconnaissance] n’indique pas une opération créatrice d’un fait objectif ». 43 Notre définition s’inspire de certaines positions doctrinales qui font reposer la condition d’indépendance ou de souveraineté – laquelle est fréquemment considérée comme une quatrième condition sine qua non – sur le critère du gouvernement. Voir à cet égard E. Jouannet, Le droit international (2013), 40 : « […] [L]’existence [de l’État] dépend de la réunion d’un certain nombre de faits (terri- Mehdi Belkahla 240 sonnalité juridique précèderait la reconnaissance,44 et que l’État reconnu ou non serait doté des droits et obligations qu’emporte ce statut.45 Cependant, si cette approche est pleinement pertinente quant à la suffisance des trois critères originels pour établir le fait-État, leur satisfaction ne suffit pas toujours à faire de celui-ci, comme le démontre la pratique, un État au sens juridique ou un fait juridique-État.46 De plus, affirmer que la reconnaissance est un acte purement déclaratoire reviendrait à mettre sérieusement en doute sa nature et ses effets juridiques.47 La conception constitutive, quant à elle, suggère que la proposition de fait-État devient – par le truchement de la reconnaissance agissant comme un prisme – un fait juridique- État. Exprimée de façon prosaïque et poussée jusqu’à sa logique extrême, cette vision signifierait que la reconnaissance ferait entrer l’État « dans le monde du droit »48 et qu’à défaut de celle-ci, l’État serait dépourvu de personnalité juridique et de droits.49 La reconnaissance serait ainsi conçue toire, population, gouvernement effectif et indépendant) dont le droit international ne fait que prendre acte » ; B. Stern, La succession d’États, 262 R.C.A.D.I. (1996), 9, 68 : « On sait qu’un État doit posséder trois éléments constitutifs : un territoire, une population et un gouvernement exerçant la souveraineté, aussi bien interne qu’internationale » ; J. Verhoeven, La reconnaissance internationale : déclin ou renouveau, 39 Annuaire français de droit international (1993), 7, 37 : « À l’ordinaire, [l’Etat] naît ou meurt de la présence ou de l’absence d’éléments de pur fait : un territoire, une population, un gouvernement indépendant » ; F. Poirat, La doctrine des droits fondamentaux de l’État, 16 Droits (1992), 83, 89 : « Population, territoire, gouvernement effectif et indépendant, nous sommes en présence, pour le droit international, des éléments constitutifs de l’État » ; H. M. Blix, Contemporary aspects of recognition, 130 R.C.A.D.I. (1970), 587, 622 : « En droit, une entité est généralement réputée être un État si elle possède un territoire, une population, un gouvernement indépendant des autres […] » [notre traduction] ; Lauterpacht, Recognition of States, supra note 5, 408 : « […] [L]es conditions de la qualité étatique telles qu’elles sont établies par le droit international […] [correspondent à] l’existence d’un gouvernement indépendant exerçant une autorité effective sur une zone définie » [notre traduction]. 44 A. Cassese, International Law, 2è éd. (2005), 73 : « L’acte de reconnaissance n’a aucun effet juridique sur la personnalité internationale de l’entité […] » [notre traduction]. 45 Combacau et Sur, supra note 22, 290. 46 H. Ruiz Fabri, Genèse et disparition de l’État à l’époque contemporaine, 38 Annuaire français de droit international (1992), 153, 163. 47 Kelsen, Recognition, supra note 11, 605-606. 48 C. Santulli, Le statut international de l’ordre juridique étatique. Étude du traitement du droit interne par le droit international (2001), 25. 49 I. Brownlie, supra note 9, 206 : « […] [Selon] la théorie constitutive, […] l’acte […] de reconnaissance […] est une condition préalable à l’existence de droits » [notre traduction]. La qualité étatique accordée par le juge interne 241 comme une condition supplémentaire et nécessaire à l’existence d’un État.50 Toutefois, à y regarder de plus près, contrairement aux trois critères mentionnés – lesquels sont objectifs – la reconnaissance est extrinsèque à l’entité étatique. L’État en tant que fait n’est que l’addition de trois conditions factuelles.51 La reconnaissance ne devrait, par conséquent, pas être envisagée comme une condition d’existence de l’État. Reconnaissance de jure et reconnaissance procédurale de l’État : champ de l’étude et problématique Nous le voyons, les difficultés de théorisation et de définition de la reconnaissance d’État ressortissent principalement à l’absence de consensus quant à sa nature et à ses effets. Toutefois, dans le cadre de notre étude, l’acte de reconnaissance – parce qu’il se limite à la relation bilatérale entre le sujet étatique en situation de reconnaître et l’entité qui a l’ambition d’être reconnue52 – est nécessairement constitutif.53 Ainsi définie, la reconnaissance dans le contexte de la situation intersubjective entre États54 est à assimiler à la reconnaissance de jure,55 notion qui décrit la forme absolue C. 50 V.-D. Degan, Création et disparation de l’État à la lumière du démembrement de trois fédérations multiethniques en Europe, 279 R.C.A.D.I. (1999), 195, 254-255 : « [Cette approche] prétend que la reconnaissance […] est […] le quatrième critère de l’existence même de l’État nouveau ». 51 E. Borchard, Recognition and non-recognition, 36 American Journal of International Law (1942), 108, 110 : « Les indices révélateurs de la qualité étatique sont déterminés et établis par des faits objectifs, non pas par une reconnaissance subjective » [notre traduction]. 52 Verhoeven, Droit international public, supra note 7, 78. 53 Cette « reconnaissance individuelle » déploie des effets juridiques constitutifs non pas sur le plan du « droit international général » mais uniquement en « droit international particulier » et dans les droits internes des deux États « à la relation de reconnaissance » ; comme l’explique Wyler, La succession d’États, supra note 19, 1646-1648, paras 43-45 ; voir également Wyler, Théorie et pratique, supra note 8, 267-284 ; Chatelain, La reconnaissance internationale, supra note 2, 720 : « La reconnaissance est l’acte de volonté par lequel chaque État déclare vouloir considérer une autre [entité] […] comme un autre État. Elle fait ainsi naître […] l’État reconnu au regard de l’État auteur de la reconnaissance […] ». 54 Combacau et Sur, supra note 22, 290. 55 Notre définition de la reconnaissance de jure n’est pas ici conçue négativement comme le pendant de la reconnaissance de facto, notion controversée et incertaine au regard de la pratique. Voir à ce titre H. Lauterpacht, Recognition in International Law (1947), 329 : « La reconnaissance de facto est une notion relativement insaisissable au regard du droit de la reconnaissance. Il n’existe pas de consensus au- Mehdi Belkahla 242 que prend l’acte en pratique.56 La reconnaissance de jure produit ainsi la totalité des effets juridiques de la reconnaissance dans sa forme théorisée.57 C’est pour cela qu’elle a pu être décrite comme une reconnaissance complète,58 pleine,59 sans réserve,60 plénière,61 entière62 ou encore illimitée.63 En d’autres termes, la reconnaissance de jure de la qualité étatique d’une entité lui confère l’ensemble des droits et obligations associés au statut d’État dans sa relation avec l’État qui la reconnaît en tant que tel.64 C’est parce que la reconnaissance de jure d’État accordée par l’exécutif interne demeure la référence65 qu’il est permis de l’utiliser comme étalon à l’aune duquel sera étudié le mécanisme que nous avons décidé d’appeler, par convention, la reconnaissance procédurale d’État prononcée par le juge interne. La logique exige que cette mise en parallèle se fonde sur un élément d’identité – ou à tout le moins de similarité – entre les deux mécanismes pour qu’elle soit justifiée. Cet élément, nous le postulons, est constitué par la conséquence générale qu’implique la mise en mouvement tour d’une signification juridique précise. […] Certains […] doutent qu’en droit elle puisse être distinguée de la reconnaissance de jure. Ils la considèrent comme une variante politique de celle-ci. Certains l’assimilent à la reconnaissance implicite. D’autres jugent que sa particularité tient au fait qu’elle implique une capacité internationale plus limitée que celle qui découle de la reconnaissance de jure. D’autres la considèrent comme conditionnelle ou provisoire, voire les deux. Certains pensent que sa caractéristique essentielle réside dans son caractère révocable. D’autres encore pensent que ses effets se limitent à l’absence de relations diplomatiques ordinaires ou complètes » [notre traduction]. 56 L’identité entre la reconnaissance (non qualifiée ou théorique) et la reconnaissance de jure est attestée par la pratique, dans la mesure où les exécutifs étatiques utilisent les deux expressions comme des synonymes. Voir à ce titre Talmon, supra note 10, 91. 57 Daillier et al., supra note 35, 629. 58 P. M. Brown, Cognition and Recognition, 47 American Journal of International Law (1953) 87, 88. 59 Daillier et al., supra note 35, 629. 60 Brownlie, supra note 9, 207. 61 Institut de droit international, Résolution sur la reconnaissance des nouveaux États et des nouveaux gouvernements, 23 avril 1936, Art. 3. 62 Daillier et al., supra note 35, 629. 63 Brown, supra note 58, 88. 64 Charte de l’Organisation des États américains, 30 avril 1948, Art. 10, 119 RTNU 49, 57 : « La reconnaissance implique l’acceptation, par l’État qui l’accorde, de la personnalité du nouvel État avec tous les droits et devoirs fixés, pour l’un et l’autre, par le droit international ». 65 Jennings, supra note 2, 355. La qualité étatique accordée par le juge interne 243 des deux mécanismes : l’octroi ou le refus d’octroi de la qualité étatique et du statut qui en découle. Le phénomène au centre de l’étude brille par son extension géographique. Les juges français, canadien, allemand, états-unien, néerlandais ou encore japonais se sont en effet prononcés sur la qualité étatique d’une entité au cours de l’instance. L’objectif n’est cependant pas ici de témoigner de l’existence d’une dynamique universelle de reconnaissance par le juge interne, ni d’identifier les politiques jurisprudentielles en la matière propres à chaque système juridictionnel interne,66 ni même encore de procéder à une étude de droit comparé, mais davantage de décrire le phénomène général de la reconnaissance procédurale d’État en ce qu’il présente de commun parmi l’ensemble des affaires identifiées. L’analyse de celles-ci permettra, dans un premier temps, de réfléchir à la nature juridique du mécanisme de la reconnaissance procédurale (II) et d’identifier, dans un second temps, les effets de droit qu’elle implique (III). Nature et modalités de la reconnaissance procédurale d’État Il est permis de décrire l’opération juridique de la reconnaissance procédurale en ayant égard au contexte dans lequel elle se déploie (A) et à la structure qu’elle adopte lorsqu’elle est mise en œuvre (B). Cet essai de définition externe et interne nécessitera toutefois préalablement une description axiomatique,67 intensionnelle68 et succincte permettant d’identifier l’objet empirique dont il est question. À ce titre et au risque de nous répéter, nous postulons que la (non-)reconnaissance procédurale de l’État est l’opération juridique par laquelle un juge accepte ou refuse d’octroyer la qualité étatique à une entité au terme d’un raisonnement consistant à confronter des faits à la norme d’origine internationale prescrivant les conditions d’existence de l’État. II. 66 Certains évoquent la difficulté, pour ne pas dire la stérilité, d’une telle approche ; l’un des problèmes tenant à l’absence de cohérence jurisprudentielle interne à chaque État. Voir Verhoeven, Droit international public, supra note 7, 80 ; Verhoeven, Les relations internationales, supra note 2, 26-27. Mehdi Belkahla 244 Le cadre de la reconnaissance procédurale Bien que l’observation du contexte dans lequel intervient le mécanisme de la reconnaissance procédurale révèle une indétermination générale de la configuration juridictionnelle et procédurale des différentes affaires pertinentes (1), il apparaît toutefois qu’il n’est mis en mouvement que dans la mesure où le juge parvient à écarter un certain nombre d’obstacles (2). Une mise en œuvre indifférente aux caractéristiques générales de l’organisation juridictionnelle et de l’instance69 Une appréciation superficielle d’un échantillon restreint mais représentatif d’affaires70 montre, tout d’abord, que la summa divisio entre les systèmes juridiques civilistes et ceux basés sur la common law n’est pas déterminante dans la survenance du phénomène. Si bon nombre d’affaires dans lesquelles la reconnaissance procédurale intervient procèdent de juridictions na- A. 1. 67 L’identification et la description de tout objet d’étude scientifique ne peuvent, par définition, pas être détachées d’axiomes et de postulats posés par le sujet investiguant. L’impossibilité logique d’une objectivité absolue de la démarche scientifique a pu être rendue par la célèbre métaphore d’un philosophe des sciences allemand. Voir à ce sujet O. Neurath, Énoncés protocolaires (1932), in A. Soulez (dir.), Manifeste du Cercle de Vienne et autres écrits : Rudolf Carnap, Hans Hahn, Otto Neurath, Moritz Schlick, Friedrich Waissman (2010), 209, 211 : « Il n’y a aucun moyen qui permettrait de faire, d’énoncés protocolaires dont on se soit définitivement assuré de la pureté, le point de départ des sciences. Il n’y a pas de tabula rasa. Nous sommes tels des navigateurs obligés de reconstruire leur bateau en pleine mer, sans jamais pouvoir le [mettre en cale sèche] […] ». 68 Intension, in A. Lalande (dir.), Vocabulaire technique et critique de la philosophie, 3è éd. (1er tirage 2010, 2013), 528 : « […] [L’intension] sert à désigner, au sens le plus large, l’ensemble des caractères représentés par un terme général » ; G. Tusseau, Critique d’une métanotion fonctionnelle : La notion (trop) fonctionnelle de notion fonctionnelle, Revue française de droit administratif (2009), 641, 654, para 47 : « Les définitions intensionnelles […] fonctionnent en indiquant un ensemble de critères au moyen desquels peuvent être sélectionnés des objets, qui rentrent dans la catégorie à définir ». 69 S. Guinchard et al., Droit processuel : Droit commun et droit comparé du procès, 3è éd. (2005), 1219, para 786 : « La définition procédurale de l’instance en tant que contenant permet […] [de la concevoir comme] un mécanisme, déclenché par la saisine de la juridiction, qui s’achève […] par l’acte de dessaisissement de cette juridiction, [à] savoir la décision […] ». 70 Nous avons pu identifier le mécanisme étudié dans une douzaine d’affaires couvrant une période de 60 ans (1954-2014). La qualité étatique accordée par le juge interne 245 tionales de tradition romano-germanique,71 les cours et tribunaux anglosaxons la pratiquent eux aussi ;72 tout comme les systèmes mixtes.73 De même, toute juridiction au sein de chaque système peut être amenée à mettre en œuvre l’opération juridique identifiée quelle que soit sa place dans l’organisation juridictionnelle horizontale et verticale de l’État : au plan fédéral74 ou de l’entité fédérée ;75 dans l’ordre judiciaire76 ou administratif ;77 en première instance,78 en appel79 ou au niveau suprême.80 Au-delà de l’organisation juridictionnelle, les caractéristiques de l’instance de chacune de ces affaires sont également étrangères à l’opportunité pour le juge de déclencher le mécanisme. L’observation de trois aspects généraux de la procédure processuelle permet d’illustrer ce constat. S’agissant des différentes phases de l’instance d’abord, la reconnaissance procédurale 71 Tribunal de grande instance de la Seine, Clerget c. Représentation commerciale de la République démocratique du Viêt-Nam, 15 mars 1967, 71 Revue générale de droit international public (1967), 1120 [France] ; Tribunal d’arrondissement de La Haye, République démocratique du Timor Oriental, Fretilin et autres. c. Pays-Bas, 21 février 1980, 87 ILR 73 [Pays-Bas] ; Cour suprême de cassation, Italie c. Djukanovic, 28 décembre 2004, ILDC 74 (IT 2004) [Italie]. 72 Cour fédérale de district du district de Columbia, Gilmore et autres c. Autorité palestinienne intérimaire autonome et autres, 7 mars 2006, 422 F.Supp.2d 96 (2006) [États-Unis] ; Haute Cour de Justice, République de Somalie c. Woodhouse Drake & Carey et autres, 13 mars 1992, 94 IRL 608 [Royaume-Uni]. Il importe de souligner que cette dernière décision met en œuvre le mécanisme de reconnaissance procédurale afin de déterminer la qualité gouvernementale d’une entité. 73 Tribunal de district de Tokyo, Limbin Hteik Tin Lat c. Union de Birmanie, 9 juin 1954, 32 ILR 124 [Japon] ; Cour supérieure du Québec, Parent et autres c. Singapore Airlines Ltd., 22 octobre 2003, 2033 CanLII 7285 (QC CS) [Canada]. 74 Cour d’appel fédérale pour le 1er circuit, Ungar et autres c. Organisation de libération de la Palestine, 31 mars 2005, 402 F.3d 274 (2005) [États-Unis]. 75 Parent et autres c. Singapore Airlines Ltd., supra note 73. 76 Cour d’appel de Paris, Strategic Technologies c. Procurement Bureau of the Republic of China – Ministry of National Defence, 30 mars 2011, RG n° 10/18825 [France]. 77 Tribunal administratif de Cologne, Duché de Sealand, 3 mai 1978, 80 ILR 683 [Allemagne]. 78 Gilmore et autres c. Autorité palestinienne intérimaire autonome et autres, supra note 72. 79 Cour d’appel de Paris, Clerget c. Banque commerciale pour l’Europe du Nord et Banque du commerce extérieur du Vietnam, 7 juin 1969, 74 Revue générale de droit international public (1970), 522 [France]. 80 Tribunal fédéral, Wang et consorts c. Office des juges d’instruction fédéraux, 3 mai 2004, ILDC 90 (CH 2004) [Suisse]. Mehdi Belkahla 246 peut être mise en œuvre aussi bien au stade de la recevabilité,81 que lors du traitement au fond de l’affaire.82 Quant à la situation processuelle dans laquelle se trouve l’entité faisant l’objet de la mise en œuvre du mécanisme, elle peut être partie (demanderesse83 ou défenderesse84) ou tiers (intervenant forcé,85 tiers total86) à l’instance. S’agissant enfin de la nature du litige87 au principal auquel il incombe au juge d’apporter une solution, là encore, l’hétérogénéité est de mise.88 Le mécanisme de la reconnaissance procédurale a ainsi pu être mis en mouvement alors que la question juridique au centre de la procédure consistait pour le juge à statuer sur : l’existence d’une immunité pénale au profit du Premier ministre monténégrin,89 la nullité de l’assignation introductive d’instance délivrée au défendeur taïwanais,90 la perte de la nationalité allemande d’un particulier en raison de l’acquisition de la nationalité sealandaise,91 la légalité d’une décision de l’administration suisse d’accorder l’entraide judiciaire à Taïwan92 ou encore le bénéfice de l’immunité de juridiction aux autorités palestiniennes,93 etc. Si le contexte juridictionnel et processuel n’a que très peu d’impact sur l’existence du phénomène, deux constantes peuvent toutefois être relevées à ce stade parmi l’ensemble des affaires évoquées ; lesquelles contribuent à l’unité du phénomène étudié. Premièrement, la qualité étatique de l’entité 81 République démocratique du Timor Oriental, Fretilin et autres. c. Pays-Bas, supra note 71. 82 Ungar et autres c. Organisation de libération de la Palestine, supra note 74. 83 République démocratique du Timor Oriental, Fretilin et autres. c. Pays-Bas, supra note 71. 84 Strategic Technologies c. Procurement Bureau of the Republic of China – Ministry of National Defence, supra note 76. 85 Parent et autres c. Singapore Airlines Ltd., supra note 73. 86 Duché de Sealand, supra note 77. 87 Entendu dans un sens général, commun à l’ensemble des procédures processuelles. Voir à ce titre A. Bolze, La notion de litige juridique, in Études offertes à Jacques Dupichot : Liber Amicorum (2004), 41, 59 : « [Le litige résulte] d’une indétermination du droit applicable à une situation qui appelle l’intervention d’un organe pour y mettre fin par une décision en droit […] ». 88 La nature hétéroclite des contentieux explique en partie la pluralité des juridictions amenées à appliquer le mécanisme et la diversité des recours y relatifs. 89 Italie c. Djukanovic, supra note 71. 90 Strategic Technologies c. Procurement Bureau of the Republic of China – Ministry of National Defence, supra note 76. 91 Duché de Sealand, supra note 77. 92 Wang et consorts c. Office des juges d’instruction fédéraux, supra note 80. 93 Ungar et autres c. Organisation de libération de la Palestine, supra note 74. La qualité étatique accordée par le juge interne 247 soumise au test de la reconnaissance procédurale est, par définition, toujours controversée car cette dernière ne bénéficie jamais d’une reconnaissance de jure de la part de l’exécutif de l’État du for.94 Deuxièmement, la question de la qualité étatique de l’entité n’est jamais autonome en ce qu’elle ne s’identifie pas à la question litigieuse principale et ne constitue qu’une étape, certes nécessaire,95 vers sa résolution. Le dépassement d’obstacles potentiels à la mise en œuvre du mécanisme Il n’est, en principe, pas interdit au juge de se prononcer sur la question de la qualité étatique d’une entité lorsqu’il remplit son office.96 Dans les hypothèses où il prend le parti de ne pas y répondre, il s’autolimite d’une certaine façon.97 Mais, lorsqu’il décide de juger de la qualité étatique de l’entité, des limites extérieures peuvent s’imposer à lui et influer sur la possibili- 2. 94 Couveinhes-Matsumoto, supra note 17, 282, para 270. 95 Cette condition de nécessité est évidemment largement soumise à la subjectivité du juge. En effet, est ici déjà suggérée l’importance de la liberté de celui-ci dans la mesure où s’il applique le mécanisme de la reconnaissance procédurale, c’est qu’il estime que ce type de raisonnement est non seulement nécessaire mais aussi le plus opportun. Toutefois, un juge peut très bien considérer qu’il y a nécessité de répondre à la question de la qualité étatique d’une entité afin de trancher un litige, en mettant en œuvre un autre test que celui de la reconnaissance procédurale. Il se fondera, en général, sur l’existence ou non d’une reconnaissance de jure de la part de l’exécutif pour en déduire la qualité étatique de l’entité. Voir à ce sujet, une affaire où le juge écarte expressément l’application du mécanisme de reconnaissance procédurale jugé comme inopportun : Cour suprême, Civil Aeronautics Administration c. Singapore Airlines Ltd., 14 janvier 2004, ILDC 86 (SG 2004) [Singapour]. Enfin, le caractère tout à fait relatif de la nécessité est évident lorsqu’un juge refuse de se prononcer sur la qualité étatique d’une entité, tout en statuant tout de même sur le litige au principal ; usant ainsi de stratégies d’évitement. Une de ces stratégies trouve son expression dans la doctrine jurisprudentielle américaine de non justiciability doctrine ou de political question doctrine ; bien que le juge américain ait tendance à en réduire le champ. Voir à ce titre, p. ex., Cour fédérale de district du district sud de New York, Sokolow et autres c. Organisation de libération de la Palestine et autres, 30 septembre 2008, 583 F.Supp.2d 451. Si ces deux dernières pratiques judiciaires ne nous intéressent pas directement ici, elles permettent de délimiter négativement le cadre de la reconnaissance procédurale. 96 Verhoeven, Les relations internationales, supra note 2, 29. 97 Voir supra note 95 sur les stratégies d’évitement. C’est d’ailleurs ce qu’a fait la Cour de cassation française dans l’affaire, Strategic Technologies c. Procurement Bureau of the Republic of China – Ministry of National Defence, 19 mars 2014, Mehdi Belkahla 248 té de mettre en œuvre le mécanisme visé. Si de nombreux commentateurs ont pu suggérer que l’occurrence du phénomène de la reconnaissance procédurale était plus limitée dans les systèmes de common law – précisément en raison de la place du juge anglo-saxon par rapport à l’exécutif98 – qu’au sein des juridictions de tradition civiliste, il apparaît toutefois que les données externes qui s’imposent aux deux juges sont comparables bien qu’elles puissent faire l’objet d’un traitement quelque peu différent.99 En tout état de cause, c’est la liberté dont se prévalent pleinement les deux juges qui participera de la mise en mouvement du mécanisme.100 Parce que l’opération juridique de la reconnaissance procédurale est – nous le verrons plus avant – un mécanisme de qualification juridique des faits, la disponibilité, la place et surtout la valeur probante de ces faits auront une incidence sur la survenance du mécanisme, et ceux-ci pourront même constituer un obstacle à sa mise en œuvre effective. Typiquement, deux éléments factuels – ayant une origine commune en ce qu’ils sont générés par l’exécutif – auront une influence déterminante sur le mécanisme, influence qui sera fonction du traitement que leur réservera le droit de la preuve. Ces deux éléments sont : l’absence de reconnaissance de jure et l’avis gouvernemental.101 Premièrement, la non-reconnaissance de la qualité étatique de l’entité par l’exécutif a été mentionnée plus haut comme un des éléments constants du cadre général dans lequel survient la reconnaissance procédurale. Il peut s’agir soit d’une simple absence de reconnaissance, soit d’un re- 119 Revue générale de droit international public (2015), 276. Saisie sur pourvoi, afin d’infirmer la décision de la Cour d’appel de Paris ayant reconnu procéduralement Taïwan (voir supra note 76), la Cour de cassation confirme la décision d’appel en évitant de se prononcer sur la qualité étatique de Taïwan. Certains commentateurs y voient la mise en œuvre d’une « stratégie d’évitement ». Voir à cet égard, le commentaire de la décision par : B. Tranchant, 119 Revue générale de droit international public (2015), 279, 286. 98 J. Crawford, The Creation of States in International Law, 2è éd. (2006), 17 ; Lauterpacht, Recognition in International Law, supra note 55, 70. Voir également Verhoeven, Les relations internationales, supra note 2, 33 : « Il y a[urait] là deux attitudes apparemment contradictoires. […] Sommairement rapportée, la pratique anglo-saxonne de soumission à l’exécutif contraste en effet avec l’indépendance totale dont jouit en principe le juge dans les pays de civil law » [nous soulignons]. 99 Verhoeven, Les relations internationales, supra note 2, 35. 100 Ibid., 37 : « Qu’il soit de common law ou de civil law, le juge est souverain dans l’appréciation du droit où se manifeste pleinement son indépendance. Il n’y a de ce point de vue aucune différence de principe entre les deux systèmes ». 101 La question de leur admissibilité en preuve est, en général, toujours acquise. La qualité étatique accordée par le juge interne 249 fus exprès de reconnaître. Dans tous les cas, cette circonstance ne peut évidemment pas être ignorée par le juge,102 lequel ne manque que rarement de la relever. Il est patent, à ce titre, que les juridictions continentales et mixtes refusent en général d’accorder toute force probante à celle-ci.103 Tout au plus, elles lui confèrent une valeur peu concluante ou indicative.104 La situation est plus complexe en ce qui concerne les juridictions de common law. Rares sont les cours qui, comme la Cour suprême singapourienne, attachent pleine force probante à l’absence de reconnaissance de jure,105 rendant logiquement superflue la mise en œuvre du mécanisme de reconnaissance procédurale. Aux États-Unis, il est plus difficile de dresser un tableau cohérent de la valeur probante qu’accordent les juges à la non reconnaissance de jure. Si certains juges suggèrent, de manière obscure, « qu’il pourrait être soutenu qu’un État étranger […] est une entité qui a été reconnue comme souveraine par le gouvernement des États-Unis »,106 et appliquent par la suite, sans grande conviction, le mécanisme de la reconnaissance procédurale ;107 d’autres ne mentionnent même pas l’absence de reconnaissance de la part de l’exécutif – lui déniant a fortiori toute perti- 102 Clerget c. Banque commerciale pour l’Europe du Nord et Banque du commerce extérieur du Vietnam, supra note 79, 524 ; Strategic Technologies c. Procurement Bureau of the Republic of China – Ministry of National Defence, supra note 76, 4. 103 Italie c. Djukanovic, supra note 71, para 14 : « Dans le cas présent, il est tout à fait indifférent que l’Italie (comme d’autres États) ait reconnu ou non le Monténégro en tant qu’État indépendant » [notre traduction, nous soulignons]. 104 République démocratique du Timor Oriental, Fretilin et autres. c. Pays-Bas, supra note 71, 74, para 3 : « S’agissant de l’existence de la République [du Timor Oriental] en tant qu’État, les parties conviennent que le fait que les Pays-Bas et pratiquement l’ensemble de la communauté internationale ne reconnaissent pas la République n’est pas déterminant. La Cour partage l’opinion des parties […] » [notre traduction, nous soulignons]. Si dans certains systèmes, les juridictions ne semblent pas expliciter la valeur probante accordée à la non-reconnaissance de jure, leur motivation laisse peu de doute quant à la place que celle-ci occupe dans leur raisonnement. Voir Parent et autres c. Singapore Airlines Ltd., supra note 73, para 55 : « La reconnaissance d’un État par les autres États ne crée pas l’État […] » ; Limbin Hteik Tin Lat c. Union de Birmanie, supra note 73, 124 : « […] [L’]Union [de Birmanie] doit être reconnu en tant qu’État étranger […] même si le Japon ne l’a pas reconnue » [notre traduction]. 105 Voir Civil Aeronautics Administration c. Singapore Airlines Ltd., supra note 95, paras 25, 31. 106 Ungar et autres c. Organisation de libération de la Palestine, supra note 74, para 4 [notre traduction]. 107 Ibid. Cette décision a été rendue en appel et confirme la décision attaquée (Cour fédérale de district du district de Rhode Island, Ungar et autres c. Autorité pales- Mehdi Belkahla 250 nence et valeur probante dans la question de la détermination de la qualité étatique.108 Il apparaît toutefois que lorsque l’exécutif « s’oppose catégoriquement à l’idée de [voir] en [l’entité] un [État] souverain »109 – et non pas, lorsqu’il s’est simplement abstenu de reconnaître,110 – le juge y voit un élément à forte valeur probante que le test de la reconnaissance procédurale ne pourrait renverser.111 La logique qui a cours dans la détermination de la valeur probante de la décision de l’exécutif de ne pas reconnaître de jure l’entité se retrouve peu ou prou dans le traitement réservé aux avis112 de l’exécutif. Ceux-ci sont des actes de procédure – car émis spécifiquement dans le cadre de l’instance –, par un organe dépendant de l’exécutif ou appartenant à celui-ci,113 exprimant une opinion s’agissant d’une question qui, dans notre cas, correstinienne et autres, 23 avril 2004, 315 F.Supp.2d 164 (D.R.I. 2004)). Toutefois, le ratio decidendi du jugement de première instance défie, à notre avis, toute logique juridique. Le juge met préalablement en œuvre notre méthode de détermination de la qualité étatique d’une entité (test qui s’avère non concluant) pour en refuser finalement toute portée décisive en raison de l’absence de reconnaissance de jure de la part de l’exécutif états-unien : « […] [L]a Palestine ne satisfait pas aux quatre critères constitutifs de la qualité étatique et n’est pas un État au regard des principes juridiques internationaux en vigueur. […] Même à supposer […] que l’État de Palestine existe, l’[Autorité palestinienne] n’est pas en droit de bénéficier de l’immunité [de juridiction] car rien ne prouve que les États-Unis aient reconnu […] la Palestine en tant qu’État souverain » [notre traduction]. 108 Gilmore et autres c. Autorité palestinienne intérimaire autonome et autres, supra note 72. 109 Ungar et autres c. Autorité palestinienne et autres, supra note 107, [notre traduction]. 110 Wyler, Théorie et pratique, supra note 8, 183, para 33 : « […] [U]ne distinction doit être faite entre refus exprès de reconnaissance […] et absence de décision en la matière […] ». 111 Cette position a pu être expliquée par la propension du juge de common law à vouloir parler « d’une seule et même voix » avec l’exécutif. Voir ibid., 181, para 31. Toutefois, il a pu être dit que le fait pour le juge de conférer une valeur probante à une (non-)reconnaissance par l’exécutif lorsque celle-ci est fondée sur des motivations politiques peut entamer la logique juridique et le bien-fondé de sa décision. Voir à ce sujet, Affaire Tinoco (Royaume-Uni c. Costa Rica), 18 octobre 1923, 1 RIAA 369, 381 ; Brownlie, supra note 9, 200. 112 Le nominalisme n’est pas de mise. Chaque droit interne use de son propre vocabulaire en la matière : avis en France, certificat au Canada, statement ou certificate au Royaume-Uni et aux États-Unis, nota en Italie, etc. 113 Nous ne faisons pas de différence ici entre l’avis du Ministère public – lequel est partie à l’instance (voir Loïc Cadiet et al., Théorie générale du procès, 1è éd. (2010), 715-717) – et l’avis produit par l’administration ministérielle (laquelle est tiers à l’instance). La qualité étatique accordée par le juge interne 251 pond à celle de la qualité étatique d’une entité. Bien que les modalités d’édiction de ces avis diffèrent selon les pays,114 dans toutes les juridictions, lorsqu’un avis est un émis par l’exécutif, celui-ci constitue un élément de preuve important dont il doit obligatoirement être tenu compte.115 A contrario, l’absence d’avis prive le juge d’un élément de preuve à haute valeur probante, mais l’autorise ainsi à mettre en œuvre le mécanisme de reconnaissance procédurale, mécanisme qui mobilisera des éléments de preuve qui, eux, sont disponibles.116 Si un avis est communiqué au juge et aux parties, il appartient au juge de déterminer sa place par rapport aux autres faits et de l’interpréter afin de lui attacher une certaine valeur probante. Dans certaines affaires, un avis exprimé en termes sibyllins a pu être reproduit dans la décision sans que le juge n’ait semblé ni l’interpréter, ni en tenir compte dans la détermination de la qualité étatique de Taïwan ; 117 suggérant la faible valeur probante de cet élément. Toutefois, il apparaît généralement que lorsque l’avis est interprété par le juge comme clair, alors il constitue un élément, certes probant, mais non pas déterminant pour 114 Là où la procédure est accusatoire, il incombe, en général, aux parties de saisir le ministère des affaires étrangères d’une demande d’avis quant à la qualité étatique d’une entité donnée. Voir République de Somalie c. Woodhouse Drake & Carey et autres, supra note 72, 618 : « En […] l’espèce, le ministère des affaires étrangères et du Commonwealth a répondu à trois reprises aux demandes formulées par les avocats des parties […] » [notre traduction] ; Parent et autres c. Singapore Airlines Ltd., supra note 73, paras 21-22 : « La preuve de [la défenderesse en garantie] ne comporte pas de certificat […]. Le Tribunal ignore si [elle] a tenté d’obtenir ou non un tel certificat. De son côté, […] la partie adverse, a communiqué avec le ministère [des affaires étrangères et du commerce international] à ce sujet. En réponse à sa demande, [il] a indiqué ne pas pouvoir y répondre positivement et […] qu’aucun certificat ne serait émis […] ». Dans les autres systèmes, l’affaire est, en principe, simplement communiquée par la juridiction au ministère pour lui donner la possibilité de s’exprimer. Mais le juge peut également, de manière plus formelle, requérir directement un avis auprès de celui-ci. Voir Italie c. Djukanovic, supra note 71. 115 Il apparaît que, dans de nombreux systèmes, notamment de common law, l’avis émis est considéré comme contraignant. Toutefois, il appartient au juge de l’interpréter souverainement. Voir à ce sujet Crawford, The Creation of States in International Law, supra note 98, 17 ; Parent et autres c. Singapore Airlines Ltd., supra note 73, para 49 : « [Le certificat] dépos[é] au dossier étant concluan[t], le tribunal est alors lié par le contenu sous réserve toutefois de l’interpréter ». 116 Parent et autres c. Singapore Airlines Ltd., supra note 73 ; Ungar et autres c. Organisation de libération de la Palestine, supra note 74, para 2. 117 Strategic Technologies c. Procurement Bureau of the Republic of China – Ministry of National Defence, supra note 76, 4. Mehdi Belkahla 252 conclure à l’existence ou à l’absence de qualité étatique ; révélant ainsi sa place parmi les autres éléments factuels.118 Au-delà de l’apparente disparité du traitement réservé à ces deux types d’éléments de fait portés119 devant le juge, il apparaît que ceux-ci, lorsqu’ils ne sont pas absents dans les affaires identifiées, ne sont jamais considérés comme des preuves parfaites. L’indisponibilité de faits concluants – appréciation qui révèle la pleine liberté du juge – permet ainsi à celui-ci de justifier du recours au mécanisme de la reconnaissance procédurale. La mise en œuvre de la reconnaissance procédurale La mise en œuvre de l’opération juridique de la reconnaissance procédurale par le juge suit la logique syllogistique du raisonnement judiciaire120 (1). Celui-ci a, en effet, recours à la méthode de la confrontation des faits au B. 118 Ainsi, dans deux affaires, l’exécutif a émis des avis reposant sur des éléments factuels et concluant à l’absence de qualité étatique et de qualité gouvernementale des entités concernées ; ce qui n’a pas empêché le juge d’appliquer le test de la reconnaissance procédurale. Voir respectivement, Italie c. Djukanovic, supra note 71, paras 17, 26 ; République de Somalie c. Woodhouse Drake & Carey et autres, supra note 72, 619 : « […] [Il est] question pour la Cour […] d’apprécier elle-même les preuves, de formuler des conclusions de fait sur la base de toutes les preuves pertinentes présentées devant elle et d’en tirer la conclusion juridique qui s’impose […]. [Les avis] du ministère des affaires étrangères et du Commonwealth ne constituent qu’une part des preuves dans cette affaire » [notre traduction]. 119 Et, c’est bien en sens qu’ils peuvent être des limites potentielles à la mise en œuvre de la reconnaissance procédurale. Contrairement aux faits mobilisés dans l’opération juridique étudiée – lesquels sont, nous le verrons, produits par le juge lui-même agissant comme un juge d’instruction –, l’avis gouvernemental et la non-reconnaissance de jure sont des faits reçus par le juge et qu’il ne peut ignorer. Nous pouvons, à ce titre, rapprocher ce constat de celui de L. Cadiet et E. Jeuland, Droit judiciaire privé, 8è éd. (2013), 429, para 544 : « Il est clair que le juge n’est [pas seulement] celui qui, passivement, reçoit le fait […] ; il est […] celui qui, de manière active, peut prendre lui-même le fait […] ». 120 Sur les critiques tendant à considérer le raisonnement juridictionnel comme ne se réduisant pas à une formulation de propositions syllogistiques, voir C. Perelman, Logique juridique : Nouvelle rhétorique, 2è éd. (1979), paras 2-3, 98. Voir également E. Jeuland, Syllogisme judiciaire, in L. Cadiet (dir.), Dictionnaire de la justice (2004), 1269. La qualité étatique accordée par le juge interne 253 droit121: il choisit la norme applicable, établit les faits pertinents de l’espèce et les qualifie juridiquement.122 Cette démarche trahit la prépondérance du fait dans la reconnaissance procédurale, une caractéristique qui autorise à s’interroger sur la véritable nature du mécanisme étudié (2). Le triomphe du raisonnement logico-déductif123 L’analyse de l’ensemble des décisions pertinentes nous convainc que la reconnaissance procédurale est le résultat de l’application de la méthode syllogistique ;124 laquelle est présente à un niveau ou à un autre dans le raisonnement de tout juge quel que soit le système dans lequel il officie.125 Audelà, il peut être dit que la nature de la reconnaissance procédurale se confond avec l’office même du juge, lequel doit, en définitive, toujours faire droit à une prétention en la reconnaissant. Illustrons ce constat en posant un litige dans lequel le demandeur, victime d’un accident de la route, souhaiterait établir la responsabilité délictuelle du défendeur, chauffeur du véhicule à l’origine de l’accident. Il est, par conséquent, demandé au juge par le plaignant de reconnaître une proposition de fait. Sa prétention, sa proposition de fait est qu’il a été lésé, qu’il a subi un préjudice – et accessoirement, que la responsabilité du défendeur est engagée et qu’il est en droit d’obtenir réparation. Afin de faire droit ou non à sa demande, le juge ne pourra pas se dispenser de l’établissement du fait au-delà de la proposition de fait. Il aura à confronter la norme – sur laquelle se fonde la proposition de fait – aux faits. Très sommairement, s’il y a identité entre la proposition de 1. 121 J.-L. Bergel, Méthodologie juridique (2001), 361 ; Alexandrowicz-Alexander, The Quasi-Judicial Function in Recognition of States and Governments, supra note 11, 632. 122 En pratique, il est toutefois difficile de discerner – aussi bien dans l’opération intellectuelle du juge que dans le raisonnement tel qu’il apparaît dans la motivation – les contours de chaque étape et leur chronologie véritable. 123 Voir à ce sujet la synthèse tout à fait pertinente de la question par P. Deumier, Présentation, in P. Deumier (dir.), Le raisonnement juridique : Recherche sur les travaux préparatoires des arrêts (2013), 1, 1-3. 124 La logique syllogistique dans l’application du droit par le juge peut être rendue de la manière suivante : « La conclusion, exprimée dans […] la décision de justice, s[e] déduit du rapprochement [de deux] prémisses : la majeure, constituée par l’énoncé de la règle de droit, et la mineure consistant dans la constatation des faits de l’espèce ». Voir J.-L. Bergel, Méthodologie juridique, supra note 121, 362. 125 Sur une critique de l’absence d’universalité du raisonnement judiciaire syllogistique, voir Jeuland, Syllogisme judiciaire, supra note 120, 1272. Mehdi Belkahla 254 fait et le résultat de la qualification juridique des faits établis, le juge reconnaîtra la première. Ainsi relativement à cette simulation de litige, le juge devra établir le(s) fait(s) suivants : le préjudice de la victime est dû à l’accident de la route, le défendeur est le chauffeur du véhicule, l’accident a été causé par la faute du chauffeur, etc. Le juge s’évertuera ensuite à confronter ces faits à la norme, laquelle prévoit les conditions à satisfaire pour que soit reconnue sa prétention (la responsabilité délictuelle et le droit à indemnisation). Dans le cadre de la reconnaissance procédurale, la logique est strictement identique. Nous nous proposons, dans cette perspective, d’analyser le raisonnement adopté par le juge dans deux126 des affaires identifiées. Ce choix se justifie dans la mesure où, au regard de plusieurs éléments de fait et de droit,127 ces deux décisions mettant en jeu l’opération juridique de la reconnaissance procédurale se situent aux deux extrémités d’un spectre qui rassemble l’ensemble de la douzaine d’affaires évoquées depuis le début de notre contribution. La première affaire qui nous intéresse est celle dont a eu connaître une juridiction canadienne, relative à la détermination du statut étatique de Taïwan128: Parent et autres c. Singapore Airlines.129 En l’espèce, le requérant, citoyen canadien, emprunte le 31 octobre 2000 un vol de la compagnie aérienne Singapore Airlines entre Singapour et Montréal, vol qui effectue une escale à Taipei, sur l’île de Taïwan. Lors du décollage depuis l’aéroport international de Taipei, l’appareil s’écrase faisant 81 morts et un blessé ; François Parent. Celui-ci introduit un recours en responsabilité contre la compagnie aérienne. Singapore Airlines réfute sa responsabilité et engage, à son tour, celle du gestionnaire et exploitant de l’aéroport : l’Administration de l’aviation civile (AAC) du ministère des transports de la République de Chine.130 En réponse, l’AAC invoque l’immunité de juridiction dont bénéficie tout État devant les juridictions étrangères. Singapore Air- 126 Parent et autres c. Singapore Airlines Ltd., supra note 73 ; Duché de Sealand, supra note 77. 127 Ces éléments distinctifs – lesquels ressortissent à l’entité faisant l’objet de l’opération juridique visée, au résultat de la mise en œuvre du mécanisme, au litige au principal, au contexte juridictionnel et de l’instance, aux éléments saillants du raisonnement judiciaire – seront révélés dans les développements dédiés à chaque espèce. 128 Voir à ce sujet un commentaire succinct de l’affaire par P. L. Hsieh, An Unrecognized State in Foreign and International Courts: the Case of the Republic of China on Taiwan, 28 Michigan Journal of International Law (2008), 765, 790-791. 129 Supra note 73. 130 La République de Chine est la dénomination officielle de Taïwan. La qualité étatique accordée par le juge interne 255 lines conteste cet argument car, de son avis, Taïwan n’est pas un État. Ainsi, la question incidente, nécessaire à la résolution du litige au principal, était de savoir si l’AAC bénéficiait de l’immunité de juridiction. Cette question procédait de la proposition de fait défendue par l’AAC, au nom de l’exécutif taïwanais, selon laquelle Taïwan était doté de la qualité étatique. Pour confirmer ou infirmer cette prétention, la Cour supérieure du Québec emploie le raisonnement décrit ci-dessus. Elle établit d’abord les faits.131 En l’espèce, les éléments factuels les plus importants établis par la Cour sont les suivants : le gouvernement taïwanais est propriétaire de l’aéroport international de Taipei ; l’AAC est l’opérateur de l’aéroport international de Taipei et un département du ministère des transports et des communications du gouvernement de Taïwan sans existence juridique distincte de ce ministère ; le Canada reconnaît la validité d’un passeport émis par les autorités de Taïwan ; Taïwan n’est pas reconnu comme État par le gouvernement canadien ; le ministère des affaires étrangères canadien n’a pas émis de certificat au cours de la procédure. Et surtout, la Cour déclare les faits suivants comme incontestables132: l’île de Taïwan constitue un territoire défini d’une surface de 36 006 km² ; l’île de Taïwan est occupée par une population permanente de 22,5 millions d’habitants ; un gouvernement effectif existe sur l’île de Taïwan, il s’agit d’une démocratie parlementaire avec chef d’État et Premier ministre ; le gouvernement de Taïwan entre en relation avec d’autres États. La Cour procède, en second lieu, à une qualification juridique de ces faits.133 Les faits établis vont être confrontés à la norme qui prescrit les conditions d’existence de l’État. Cette norme, pour laquelle le juge opte, est d’origine internationale134 et peut être formulée sous la forme d’une « proposition hypothétique »135 simplifiée – laquelle commande un raison- 131 Encore une fois, il est difficile de croire que l’établissement des faits – phase qui, dans le cas d’espèce, apparaît la première dans la motivation du juge – précède véritablement en pratique l’identification par le juge de la norme applicable. 132 Parent et autres c. Singapore Airlines Ltd., supra note 73, para 20. 133 Elle peut être conçue, en termes généraux, comme une « opération intellectuelle […] juridique […] consistant à prendre en considération l’élément qu’il s’agit de qualifier […] et à le faire entrer dans une catégorie juridique[,] d’où résulte, par rattachement, le régime juridique qui lui est applicable ». Voir Qualification, in G. Cornu (dir.), Vocabulaire juridique, 10è éd. (2014), 835. 134 Fréquemment, la norme que cherche à appliquer le juge provient d’une source écrite de droit interne qui contient en son sein l’énoncé de la qualité « État », mais qui ne la définit pas. Le juge recherchera donc, dans le droit international, la définition à appliquer. 135 Expression empruntée à la typologie de Santulli, supra note 48, 22-25. Mehdi Belkahla 256 nement syllogistique – selon laquelle : si l’entité a un territoire défini, une population permanente et un gouvernement effectif et indépendant, alors l’entité est un État. Aussi le juge commence-t-il par se fonder sur l’énoncé de la norme codifiée dans la Convention de Montevideo de 1933,136 pour y confronter les faits pertinents et conclure par syllogisme à la satisfaction par l’entité taïwanaise des conditions factuelles faisant d’elle un État. Il parvient donc à la décision – après avoir vérifié que le résultat de la qualification juridique des faits correspondait à la proposition de fait – que, Taïwan étant un État, il est en droit de bénéficier de l’immunité de juridiction. La deuxième affaire qui offre matière à réflexion, malgré son caractère pour le moins surréaliste, est celle dont a eu à connaître une juridiction administrative allemande.137 Le plaignant, allemand de naissance, s’adresse, en premier lieu, à l’administration allemande afin qu’elle reconnaisse sa nouvelle nationalité, récemment obtenue de la Principauté de Sealand.138 En effet, selon une disposition du droit interne allemand, un individu qui n’est ni domicilié, ni résident permanent en Allemagne perd la nationalité allemande s’il acquiert une nationalité étrangère. Toutefois, l’administration notifie au plaignant qu’il n’a pas perdu sa nationalité allemande car la Principauté de Sealand ne constitue pas un État étranger. Le plaignant demande ainsi au juge d’annuler la décision administrative et de la réformer. Le Tribunal administratif de Cologne confirme la décision : « Étant donné que la […] Principauté de Sealand ne constitue pas un État au sens du droit international, le plaignant n’a pas acquis de nationalité étrangère ».139 Le raisonnement syllogistique adopté par le Tribunal pour parvenir à cette 136 Convention sur les droits et devoirs des États, 26 décembre 1933, Art. 1, 165 RTSDN 19, 24 : « L’État comme personne de droit international doit réunir les conditions suivantes : une population permanente, un territoire déterminé, un gouvernement, la capacité d’entrer en relation avec d’autres États ». La Convention, on le voit, énonce une quatrième condition d’existence de l’État. Cette capacité d’entrer en relation avec d’autres États est fréquemment conçue par la doctrine comme le critère d’indépendance que certains juristes rattachent directement au troisième critère (celui du gouvernement effectif et indépendant, voir supra note 43). La motivation de la décision confirme bien que le juge canadien conçoit ce critère comme réductible à l’indépendance du gouvernement taïwanais. 137 Duché de Sealand, supra note 77. 138 La Principauté de Sealand est une ancienne plateforme militaire britannique en Mer du Nord, datant de la seconde guerre mondiale. Après son abandon par les autorités, Roy Bates, ancien major de l’armée britannique, s’en empare. L’indépendance de la principauté est proclamée le 2 septembre 1967. La plateforme possède une surface de 550 m² et compte 4 à 28 habitants selon l’époque. 139 Duché de Sealand, supra note 77, 685 [notre traduction]. La qualité étatique accordée par le juge interne 257 conclusion est identique à celui mis en évidence dans la décision précédente.140 Il vérifie si la proposition de fait dont le plaignant souhaite obtenir la reconnaissance – sa nationalité sealandaise et, en amont, la qualité étatique de la Principauté – est juridiquement avérée par la confrontation de la norme aux faits. En élaborant une motivation très fouillée et largement appuyée sur la doctrine, le juge allemand caractérise l’absence d’au moins deux des trois conditions indispensables à la qualité étatique de la Principauté de Sealand : le territoire déterminé et la population permanente.141 La portée n’est pas anecdotique. La décision concluant à l’absence de qualité étatique de l’entité a pour corollaire l’inexistence des conséquences juridiques découlant normalement du statut d’État, notamment toutes celles se rapportant au concept de nationalité. Cette position privilégiant les faits et la norme internationale constitue bien la mise en œuvre du mécanisme de reconnaissance procédurale, bien que le test aboutisse, en réalité, à un résultat de non-reconnaissance procédurale.142 Fait, effectivité et reconnaissance L’étude de l’ensemble des jurisprudences internes où l’opération juridique de la reconnaissance procédurale est menée commande un constat unique mais essentiel : le seul dénominateur commun est la force conférée à l’éta- 2. 140 Raisonnement commun à l’ensemble des décisions identifiées dans notre contribution comme mettant en œuvre le mécanisme de reconnaissance procédurale. 141 Dans la mesure où les conditions d’existence de l’État en vertu du droit international sont cumulatives, de nombreuses juridictions ne mènent pas le test jusqu’à son terme lorsqu’une des conditions n’est pas satisfaite. Voir à ce titre, Gilmore et autres c. Autorité palestinienne intérimaire autonome et autres, supra note 72, para 9 : « Compte tenu de […] l’absence d’un des critères [nécessaires] à la qualité étatique, il n’est pas indispensable pour la Cour d’examiner [plus avant la satisfaction des autres critères] » [notre traduction]. 142 L’objectif n’est évidemment pas de décrire avec précision toutes les subtilités du raisonnement de l’ensemble des affaires où le mécanisme de reconnaissance procédurale est mis en mouvement, mais d’identifier, comme nous venons de le faire, la logique générale et commune du raisonnement du juge en la matière. Il convient, à ce titre, de souligner que la motivation du juge n’est pas toujours aussi étoffée que pour les deux affaires en vedette. Parfois, le juge n’avance pas les faits établis dans sa motivation. Dans d’autres cas, le test de la reconnaissance procédurale n’est pas mené in extenso. Parfois, encore, nous l’avons vu, la norme de référence contient quatre conditions cumulatives, voire n’est pas posée. Ces différences minimes dans la motivation du juge n’entament toutefois pas l’unité d’ensemble du phénomène étudié. Mehdi Belkahla 258 blissement du fait. Aussi le mécanisme mis en œuvre débouchera-t-il sur une reconnaissance procédurale de l’entité réclamant la qualité d’État, si les faits le corroborent.143 Au contraire, le mécanisme aboutira à une non-reconnaissance procédurale pour une entité revendiquant cette qualité, si les faits l’infirment.144 Ce raisonnement a une conséquence logique : au regard des faits établis, le juge est en quelque sorte en situation de « compétence liée ».145 Mais surtout, le mécanisme de reconnaissance procédurale constitue l’application pratique de l’idée prescriptive que se font certains théoriciens de la reconnaissance selon laquelle celle-ci devrait s’intéresser aux faits.146 Il est, en outre, permis de suggérer que la mise en œuvre de la reconnaissance procédurale, en conférant une place centrale à la norme provenant de 143 L’Union de Birmanie a été reconnue procéduralement dans l’affaire : Limbin Hteik Tin Lat c. Union de Birmanie, supra note 73. Le Viêt-Nam du Nord a été reconnu procéduralement dans deux affaires : Clerget c. Représentation commerciale de la République démocratique du Viêt-Nam, supra note 71 ; Clerget c. Banque commerciale pour l’Europe du Nord et Banque du commerce extérieur du Vietnam, supra note 79. Taïwan a été reconnu procéduralement dans de nombreuses affaires : Parent et autres c. Singapore Airlines Ltd., supra note 73 ; Wang et consorts c. Office des juges d’instruction fédéraux, supra note 80 ; Strategic Technologies c. Procurement Bureau of the Republic of China – Ministry of National Defence, supra note 76. 144 La principauté de Sealand n’a pas été reconnue procéduralement dans : Duché de Sealand, supra note 77. Le Timor oriental n’a pas été reconnu procéduralement (à la date de l’affaire, en 1980, l’entité était encore sous occupation indonésienne et ne constituait donc pas un État indépendant) : République démocratique du Timor Oriental, Fretilin et autres. c. Pays-Bas, supra note 71. Le Monténégro n’a pas été reconnu procéduralement (à la date de l’affaire, en 2005, l’entité était encore une république constitutive de l’État fédéral de Serbie-et-Monténégro et ne constituait donc pas un État indépendant) : Italie c. Djukanovic, supra note 71. La Palestine n’a pas été reconnue procéduralement dans plusieurs affaires : Ungar et autres c. Organisation de libération de la Palestine, supra note 74 ; Gilmore et autres c. Autorité palestinienne intérimaire autonome et autres, supra note 72. 145 Daillier et al., supra note 35, 624, para 367 : « Il peut paraître étonnant que […] la compétence pour reconnaître un État […] ne soit pas une compétence liée […] puisque l’État est une réalité objective […] » ; Alexandrowicz-Alexander, The Quasi-Judicial Function in Recognition of States and Governments, supra note 11, 632 : « Un juge n’exerce pas de pouvoir discrétionnaire […] ; il applique une règle de droit aux faits de l’espèce » [notre traduction]. 146 Lauterpacht, Recognition of States, supra note 5, 385 : « Reconnaître une communauté en tant qu’État équivaut à déclarer qu’elle remplit les conditions du statut d’État prévues par le droit international. Si ces conditions sont remplies, les États existants ont une obligation de reconnaissance » [notre traduction]. La qualité étatique accordée par le juge interne 259 l’ordre juridique international,147 traduit une certaine consécration du droit international et, au-delà, d’un des principes structurants de ce droit : l’effectivité.148 En effet, la particularité de cette norme tient au fait qu’elle énonce des critères qui sont autant des « conditions légales [que] des conditions de fait »,149 ce qui explique aussi pourquoi l’effectivité constitue un critère opératoire unique pour certains juges afin d’établir la qualité étatique d’une entité.150 147 Ce choix est, par ailleurs, souvent assumé de manière expresse par le juge. Voir Parent et autres c. Singapore Airlines Ltd., supra note 73, para 53 : « […] [C]’est […] dans le droit international public qu’il y a lieu de rechercher la définition [d’État] à appliquer » ; Italie c. Djukanovic, supra note 71, para 11 : « La norme internationale [prescrivant les conditions d’existence de la qualité étatique] est une norme de source coutumière, et donc, en tant que norme de droit international général, fait automatiquement partie de l’ordre juridique italien […] » [notre traduction] ; Wang et consorts c. Office des juges d’instruction fédéraux, supra note 80, para 5.2 : « L’État se définit en droit international selon trois critères : un territoire ; une population ; un gouvernement effectif et indépendant […] » ; République démocratique du Timor Oriental, Fretilin et autres. c. Pays-Bas, supra note 71, 74, para 3 : « La décision [quant à la qualité d’État du Timor oriental] doit être prise sur le fondement des critères factuels […] posés par le droit international » [notre traduction]. 148 La pratique de la reconnaissance procédurale a ainsi pu être qualifiée de « de factoïsme ». Voir à ce titre Brownlie, supra note 9, 204. Plus généralement, au-delà de l’adage ex factis jus oritur servant à décrire certains concepts et institutions de droit international, nombreux sont les auteurs ayant insisté sur la « force de l’effectivité » en droit international. Voir R. Kolb, Théorie du droit international, 2è éd. (2013), 465-467. 149 Ruiz Fabri, Genèse et disparition de l’État à l’époque contemporaine, supra note 46, 164. 150 Certaines jurisprudences font ainsi reposer le test de la qualité étatique d’une entité sur le seul critère de l’effectivité ou du contrôle gouvernemental effectif. Voir à ce titre Ungar et autres c. Organisation de libération de la Palestine, supra note 74, para 5 : « En pratique, le troisième élément [relatif à l’existence d’un gouvernement effectif] est la condition la plus importante de la qualité étatique. […] Les premier, deuxième et quatrième éléments dépendent [du troisième] ou […] [sont] subsumés sous [celui-ci] » [notre traduction]. C’est notamment le cas des juridictions françaises. Voir Clerget c. Représentation commerciale de la République démocratique du Viêt-Nam, supra note 71, 1123 : « […] [L’]effectivité de la République démocratique du Viêt-Nam, ainsi que des pouvoirs de son gouvernement, ne peut pas être déniée […] » ; Clerget c. Banque commerciale pour l’Europe du Nord et Banque du commerce extérieur du Vietnam, supra note 79, 524 : « […] [T]ous ces faits sont suffisamment révélateurs de l’effectivité de la [République démocratique du Viêt-Nam] […] » ; Strategic Technologies c. Procurement Bureau of the Republic of China – Ministry of National Defence, Mehdi Belkahla 260 À ce stade du raisonnement et au vu de ce qui précède, il convient de se demander si la reconnaissance procédurale n’a de reconnaissance que le nom. Il semblerait que contrairement à la reconnaissance de jure, elle ne constitue pas une « norme-transformateur ».151 La reconnaissance de jure autorise, en effet, la naissance d’un sujet de droit dans l’ordre juridique interne.152 S’il fallait encore le rappeler, cette reconnaissance transforme le fait – mieux dit, la proposition de fait – et l’insère dans le droit. Au contraire, la reconnaissance procédurale ne semble qu’attester le fait dans sa réalité : elle étudie, examine, connaît simplement le fait. Or, comme certains l’ont soutenu : « il importerait […] de distinguer les simples constatations cognitives des reconnaissances »153 ou encore, « l’acte de reconnaissance est perçu comme quelque chose de plus qu’une simple connaissance ».154 Ontologiquement, les deux reconnaissances sembleraient donc pour le moins dissemblables. Une approche positiviste, si elle ne constitue pas nécessairement la panacée, peut permettre d’aborder la question de manière plus globale à défaut d’y répondre parfaitement. La vision kelsénienne de l’ordre juridique dans son ensemble permet, en effet, de relativiser la distinction d’ordre essentiel qui existerait entre les deux mécanismes. Il n’y aurait ainsi « dans le domaine du droit […] aucun fait absolu ou […] évident, aucun fait en soi, mais uniquement des faits établis par l’autorité compétente au cours d’une procédure prescrite par l’ordre juridique ».155 Cette conception peut sans difficulté être appliquée à nos deux engeances de reconnaissance. Dans le cadre de la reconnaissance procédurale, le juge (autorité habilitée par une norme) procède à une application du droit (procédure prescrite par une norme) pour établir des faits juridiques. C’est ainsi au niveau de cette qualification que le juge ferait passer le fait dans le monde du droit.156 Si l’on adhère à cette perspective, le prisme de la reconnaissance de jure est également présent dans le cadre de la reconnaissance procédurale. Il s’ensuivrait que les deux mécanismes pourraient entrer dans ce modèle supra note 76, 4 : « […] [L]a République de Chine […] constitue en fait un État souverain et indépendant […] ». 151 Kolb, Théorie du droit international, supra note 148, 465. 152 Cassese, International Law, supra note 44, 72. 153 Münch, supra note 12, 163. 154 Blix, Contemporary aspects of recognition, supra note 43, 637 [notre traduction]. 155 Kelsen, Recognition, supra note 11, 606. 156 Santulli, supra note 48, 127 : « […] [L]orsque les trois éléments constitutifs de l’État sont réalisés, l’État naît. Les règles qui définissent le statut de l’État envisagent l’État-factuel, mais leur effet est la constitution d’une situation juridique ». La qualité étatique accordée par le juge interne 261 conceptuel de la notion d’institution juridique, dans la mesure où ils instituent un fait réel en un fait juridique. Cette conclusion putative sur la nature juridique de la reconnaissance procédurale autorise peut-être à pousser davantage la réflexion et à en envisager les effets juridiques.157 Effets et fonctions de la reconnaissance procédurale d’État L’étude de la nature et des modalités d’application d’un mécanisme juridique doit nécessairement être suivie d’une analyse de la situation juridique qui découle de sa mise en œuvre puisqu’elle en fondera les effets de droit. Ainsi, l’octroi de la qualité étatique par le biais de la reconnaissance procédurale a, en principe, pour conséquence juridique première de conférer le statut étatique à l’entité visée. Il apparaît, à cet égard, que l’État reconnu procéduralement peut potentiellement bénéficier de toute une gamme de prérogatives (A), lesquelles trouvent leur pendant dans l’existence de certaines obligations (B). Le tempérament à la portée limitée des effets juridiques Il a été dit que la reconnaissance de jure était la référence et qu’il était « aisé d’apprécier les conséquences juridiques de cette reconnaissance qui demeure la plus complète [:] [e]lle est un [acte] selon lequel l’ensemble des rapports juridiques internationaux qu’entretiennent d’ordinaire les États […] s’applique [également] entre l’entité qui reconnaît et l’entité reconnue ».158 Partant, la question qui peut se poser est celle des effets juridiques procédant de l’opération étudiée au regard de ceux découlant de la reconnaissance de jure. À cet égard, si la reconnaissance procédurale telle qu’accor- III. A. 157 Sur l’impossibilité relative de subsumer un mécanisme juridique sous une catégorie juridique figée et sur l’utilité d’une analyse de celui-ci sous l’angle de ses effets juridiques, voir B. Simma et R. Abraham, Opinion dissidente commune, in Souveraineté sur Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks et South Ledge (Malaisie/Singapour), arrêt, CIJ Rec. 2008, 12, 121, para. 16 : « À vrai dire, il n’est pas de première importance […] [d’avoir] recours […] à telle ou telle catégorie ou qualification juridique, lesdites catégories n’étant souvent pas, il faut le reconnaître, séparées les unes des autres de façon étanche. […] [C]e qui importe surtout est de savoir quels effets le droit […] attache à tel ou tel [mécanisme] […] plutôt que de choisir entre telle ou telle expression apte à qualifier le processus juridique qui conduit de la cause à la conséquence ». 158 Jennings, supra note 2, 354, [notre traduction]. Mehdi Belkahla 262 dée par le juge a naturellement des effets limités au litige présenté devant lui (2), il apparaît que la palette des effets de droit procédant de celle-ci est extrêmement large (1). L’étendue des droits accordés L’immunité de juridiction est l’une des conséquences découlant ordinairement de la reconnaissance de jure de l’État étranger.159 Celle-ci suppose, en termes prosaïques, que l’État étranger, de par sa souveraineté, est en droit160 de ne pas être attrait devant les tribunaux étrangers. Or, il apparaît que les affaires témoignant de la mise en œuvre du mécanisme de reconnaissance procédurale et ayant trait à la question de l’immunité de juridiction sont légion. Une affaire ayant fait grand bruit aux États-Unis peut être citée pour exemple : Ungar et autres c. Organisation de libération de la Palestine.161 En l’espèce, le demandeur souhaite engager la responsabilité de l’Autorité palestinienne pour la mort d’un Américain causée par une attaque terroriste en territoire israélien. En appel, l’Autorité palestinienne, se revendiquant agent de l’État de Palestine, avance comme moyen de défense – tout comme en première instance – son droit à l’immunité de juridiction. En définitive, la Cour conclut à l’absence de qualité étatique de la Palestine et dénie, à ce titre, au défendeur la possibilité de se prévaloir de l’immunité de juridiction. Cette jurisprudence démontre, a contrario, qu’une entité non reconnue de jure mais reconnue procéduralement comme État, bénéficie de l’immunité de juridiction comme dans l’affaire canadienne préalablement étudiée, Parent et autres c. Singapore Airlines.162 La possibilité d’étendre cette prérogative – traditionnellement accordée aux États reconnus de jure – aux entités non reconnues mais constituant en réalité des États souverains est, par ailleurs, pratiquée de longue date.163 De la 1. 159 Kolb, Théorie du droit international, supra note 148, 680. 160 Sur la fonction de l’immunité de juridiction, voir C. Kessedjian, Droit du commerce international (2013), 168, para 313 : « L’immunité permet d’empêcher l’interférence d’un État, par le truchement de ses tribunaux, avec les activités d’un autre État et de ses représentants (par in paret non habet imperium) ». 161 Supra note 74. 162 Supra note 73. 163 Tribunal mixte de première instance d’Alexandrie, C. Tavoularidis & C° et The Equitable Trust of New York c. The National Navigation of Egypt, 8 novembre 1927 [Égypte], 17 Revue de droit maritime comparé (1928) 340, 340-341 : « […] [L]e droit des gens admet que de l’indépendance et de la souveraineté des États il résulte qu’un État ne peut être justiciable des tribunaux d’un autre État […]. […] La qualité étatique accordée par le juge interne 263 même manière, l’immunité d’exécution a pu être accordée par le juge à un État reconnu procéduralement.164 Il est des prérogatives accordées aux États reconnus de jure qui, sans procéder directement de règles coutumières internationales, sont prévues par le droit interne de chaque État. Ces règles sont, en général, exorbitantes du droit commun et seront, de la même manière, applicables aux États reconnus procéduralement. La jurisprudence française est pourvoyeuse, dans ce cadre, d’une décision relativement récente et tout à fait audacieuse, puisqu’elle est parvenue à embarrasser le Quai d’Orsay : Strategic Technologies c. Procurement Bureau of the Republic of China.165 Strategic Technologies, société de droit singapourien, obtient un jugement favorable de la Cour suprême de Singapour, le 10 décembre 2002, qui condamne le bureau d’approvisionnement du ministère taïwanais de la défense pour non-respect de ses obligations contractuelles envers la première. Le 27 juillet 2009, l’entreprise singapourienne demande l’exécution du jugement en France devant le Tribunal de grande instance de Paris et l’assignation est directement transmise au ministère taïwanais de la défense. En date du 9 septembre 2010, le juge de l’exécution rend une ordonnance jugeant que l’assignation en demande d’exequatur est nulle car elle n’a pas été signifiée dans les formes requises. L’ordonnance est confirmée en appel le 30 mars 2011. En effet, pour les deux juges, il y a vice de procédure en ce que l’acte d’assignation à un État devait nécessairement être délivré par la voie diplomatique.166 Or, l’assignation a été directement transmise au défendeur. Ainsi, pour justifier de l’applicabilité de cette disposition, la Cour d’appel a dû reconnaître procéduralement Taïwan comme État étranger, ce qu’elle fait en La circonstance que le gouvernement en cause, en l’espèce le gouvernement soviétique, n’est pas reconnu par le gouvernement égyptien, n’autorise pas les juges à méconnaître à cet État les prérogatives qu’il exerce en fait comme État souverain […] ». 164 Clerget c. Représentation commerciale de la République démocratique du Viêt- Nam, supra note 71 ; Clerget c. Banque commerciale pour l’Europe du Nord et Banque du commerce extérieur du Vietnam, supra note 79. 165 Supra note 76. 166 Code de procédure civile [France], Art. 684, al. 2 : « L’acte destiné à être notifié à un État étranger, à un agent diplomatique étranger en France ou à tout autre bénéficiaire de l’immunité de juridiction est remis au parquet et transmis par l’intermédiaire du ministre de la justice aux fins de signification par voie diplomatique ». Mehdi Belkahla 264 déclarant que « la République de Chine non reconnue par la France, constitue en fait un État souverain et indépendant […] ».167 Les exemples peuvent être déclinés à l’infini.168 Ils nous permettent d’affirmer que l’État reconnu procéduralement bénéficie potentiellement de tout droit dérivant du statut d’État en droit interne. Des effets limités au cas de l’espèce Si les effets juridiques pouvant être inférés de la reconnaissance procédurale et de la reconnaissance de jure sont, dans leur essence, dans leur nature, identiques, il existe toutefois une différence qui relève des modalités de l’acte de reconnaissance et qui induit une différence au niveau des conséquences juridiques. La reconnaissance de jure est de la compétence exclusive de l’exécutif d’un État, tandis que la reconnaissance procédurale est prononcée par le juge dans la sphère délimitée d’une instance. Il s’ensuit que si la reconnaissance de jure a un effet intersubjectif entre l’État reconnaissant et l’État reconnu avec le déploiement de toutes les conséquences juridiques propres au statut d’État, la reconnaissance procédurale n’a logiquement qu’un effet inter partes. Partant, elle n’engage en principe pas l’exécutif169 et ses conséquences juridiques sont limitées à un seul lien juridique. Effectivement, les affaires étudiées plus haut n’intéressent souvent qu’un seul rapport de droit, et n’est donc souvent accordé qu’un seul effet juridique : soit l’immunité de juridiction, soit le droit à l’entraide judiciaire, soit un droit exorbitant en matière d’assignation, etc.170 2. 167 Strategic Technologies c. Procurement Bureau of the Republic of China – Ministry of National Defence, supra note 76, 4-5. 168 Ce constat peut être systématisé en fonction de la nature des effets accordés. Évidemment, dans la mesure où le cadre de la reconnaissance procédurale est celui de l’instance, la plupart des effets sont procéduraux ou mixtes (p. ex., respectivement, jus standi et immunités), mais ils peuvent également être substantiels (octroi d’effets aux actes étrangers dans l’État du for). 169 Charpentier, Reconnaissance, supra note 22, para 23. 170 En tout état de cause, l’octroi ou le refus de la qualité étatique par le biais d’une reconnaissance procédurale a toutefois, en pratique, un influence normative dépassant le cadre de l’espèce en tant que précédent potentiel – ayant à tout le moins une autorité persuasive – pour les décisions juridictionnelles ultérieures. En témoigne la décision Gilmore et autres c. Autorité palestinienne intérimaire autonome et autres (supra note 72) qui renvoie à la décision de non-reconnaissance procédurale rendue dans l’affaire Ungar et autres c. Organisation de libération de la Palestine (supra note 74). La qualité étatique accordée par le juge interne 265 Le rapport entre obligations étatiques et fonction de la reconnaissance procédurale Si la reconnaissance procédurale a pour effet d’octroyer des droits à l’entité dépourvue de reconnaissance de jure, il est logique qu’elle induise corrélativement l’imposition d’obligations dans le chef de l’entité en question. En effet, selon l’adage jus et obligatio correlata sunt, à chaque droit correspond une obligation et vice versa (1). Les effets souhaités de l’institution de la reconnaissance procédurale permettront, en définitive, d’en éclairer la fonction laquelle tiendrait à une finalité générale de bonne administration de la justice (2). Les obligations de l’État reconnu procéduralement Cette éventualité pourrait, en théorie, trouver application dans bon nombre de situations, bien qu’il s’avère difficile de mettre au jour des affaires spécifiques où l’obligation de l’État reconnu procéduralement aurait été soulevée.171 Si les décisions de juridictions nationales n’offrent que très peu d’apports quant aux devoirs imposés à l’État (ou au gouvernement) reconnu procéduralement, il est possible de déceler dans la jurisprudence arbitrale des solutions qui pourraient être transposées aux situations portées devant le juge interne. En effet, dans plusieurs sentences, l’arbitre, par le truchement d’un raisonnement juridique identique à celui éprouvé dans le cadre des décisions internes, a reconnu procéduralement des gouvernements non reconnus de jure et a appelé au respect de leurs obligations en tant que tels ;172 la violation de celles-ci devant, en principe, engager leur responsabilité. La doctrine a, par ailleurs, eu l’occasion de s’exprimer sur la question en étudiant la pratique étatique en la matière. La retranscription de la déclaration d’un ancien ministre britannique des affaires étrangères lors des mouvements indépendantistes qui secouèrent l’Amérique espagnole au début du dix-neuvième siècle a pour avantage d’attester de l’idée que la responsabilité des États non reconnus de jure était admise de longue date : B. 1. 171 Cette situation découle largement du fait que l’État reconnu procéduralement brandira son droit à l’immunité afin de ne pas voir sa responsabilité engagée. 172 Notamment lorsque leurs actes ont des effets sur la situation juridique d’individus étrangers. Voir Affaire Tinoco (Royaume-Uni c. Costa Rica), supra note 111 ; Affaire George W. Hopkins (États-Unis d’Amérique c. États-Unis du Mexique), 31 mars 1926, 4 RSA 41. Mehdi Belkahla 266 Or, ou la mère patrie des colonies espagnoles est restée responsable d’actes sur lesquels elle ne pouvait plus exercer l’ombre même d’une autorité, ou les habitants de ces pays, dont l’existence politique indépendante était, en fait, établie mais auxquels l’acceptation de cette indépendance avait été refusée, […] devaient être placés dans une situation telle qu’ils n’encourussent de responsabilité pour aucun de leurs actes, ou bien devaient être frappés, pour les actes qui pourraient donner lieu à des plaintes de la part d’autres nations, des pénalités réservées aux pirates ou aux individus hors la loi. Si la première de ces alternatives – l’irresponsabilité totale d’États non reconnus – est trop absurde pour être soutenue, et si la deuxième alternative – traiter leurs habitants en pirates et en hommes hors la loi – est trop monstrueuse pour être appliquée […], il ne restait […] qu’à reconnaître en temps utile leur existence politique comme États et à les introduire ainsi dans le cercle des droits et devoirs que les nations civilisées sont tenues de respecter et ont le droit réciproquement d’exiger les unes des autres dans leurs rapports mutuels.173 Le souci de bonne administration de la justice L’absence de différences notoires entre les droits et obligations dont jouit l’État reconnu de jure et ceux de l’État reconnu procéduralement autorise à s’interroger sur la raison d’être du mécanisme de la reconnaissance par le juge. Les développements précédents peuvent apporter un début de réponse. Il apparaît que le mécanisme de reconnaissance procédurale est – nous l’avons déjà évoqué – mis en mouvement lorsqu’il y a refus ou absence de toute reconnaissance de jure. Dans ce contexte, la reconnaissance procédurale a une finalité première : obvier à un résultat inadmissible, déraisonnable, voire absurde174 ou plus rarement combler un vacuum juris.175La doctrine, 2. 173 G. Canning, Note of Mr. Secretary to the Chevalier de Los Rios relative to Spanish America, 12 British and Foreign State Papers (1825), 909, 912-913 [traduction, Williams, supra note 31, 225]. 174 Verhoeven, Les relations internationales, supra note 2, 66 : « [La reconnaissance procédurale est conçue comme un] […] expédien[t] […] pour prévenir des conséquences qui frisent l’absurdité ». 175 Loin de nous prononcer en faveur de la possibilité théorique de l’existence d’un non-droit, rien n’empêche un juge de prononcer un non liquet dans cette situation. La qualité étatique accordée par le juge interne 267 encore une fois, a su faire écho à ces écueils.176 Ces deux difficultés peuvent être exemplifiées très simplement. Posons un litige dans lequel est engagée la responsabilité des autorités contrôlant effectivement Taïwan, largement non reconnu de jure. Il y aurait incontestablement un certain vide juridique – pouvant prendre la forme d’un déni de justice177 – si un tribunal devait décider de l’impossibilité de soulever la responsabilité du défendeur non reconnu de jure en tant qu’État car celui-ci n’aurait pas de personnalité juridique. Et, un résultat déraisonnable serait obtenu si le juge devait statuer que la responsabilité de la République populaire de Chine était engagée alors même que, dans les faits, celle-ci n’exerce aucune autorité effective sur le territoire en question.178 Entre ces deux extrêmes, la reconnaissance procédurale est donc la reconnaissance du pragmatisme juridique.179 La reconnaissance procédurale aurait, par conséquent, l’avantage de tenir compte de certaines considérations ayant trait à la bonne administration de la justice.180 Ces considérations sont particulièrement prégnantes lorsque la validité de certains actes juridiques de l’État non reconnu de jure se pose.181 A. Aust déclare ainsi, à l’appui de nombreuses affaires, que les tribunaux nationaux donnent effet aux actes et décisions d’autorités publiques d’un État non reconnu de jure lorsqu’ils intéressent des aspects es- 176 P. L. Hsieh, An Unrecognized State in Foreign and International Courts: the Case of the Republic of China on Taiwan, supra note 128, 814 : « […] [L]es obstacles politiques ne devraient pas entraver la finalité fondamentale des tribunaux, laquelle est de rendre justice » [notre traduction]. 177 Nous devons relever que ce déni de justice pourrait toutefois être caractérisé si le défendeur devait brandir son droit à l’immunité découlant de sa reconnaissance procédurale. 178 C’est le résultat déraisonnable atteint par une juridiction britannique dans le cas de la République démocratique allemande non reconnue de jure par l’exécutif britannique. Pour contourner la difficulté, il est jugé que l’URSS, reconnue par la Couronne britannique, exerce un contrôle effectif – ce qui est démenti par les faits – sur la RDA, et donc que les actes émanant de l’Allemagne de l’Est relève de la responsabilité de l’Union soviétique : Chambre des Lords, Carl-Zeiss Stiftung c/ Rainer & Keeler Limited, 15 mai 1966, 43 ILR 23 [Royaume-Uni]. 179 Cour d’appel de New York, Boris N. Sokoloff c. National City Bank of New York, 25 novembre 1924, 2 ILR 44, 47 : « Juridiquement, un gouvernement non reconnu peut être considéré comme n’étant pas un gouvernement du tout […]. En pratique, néanmoins, dans la mesure où les notions juridiques sont rarement, voire jamais, poussées jusqu’au bout de leur logique, […] [elles sont] sujette[s] aux limitations – qui s’imposent d’elles-mêmes – de bon sens et de justice » [notre traduction]. 180 Degan, Création et disparation de l’État à la lumière du démembrement de trois fédérations multiethniques en Europe, supra note 50, 248. 181 Couveinhes-Matsumoto, supra note 17, 274-275, para 266. Mehdi Belkahla 268 sentiels de la vie quotidienne, comme les naissances, les mariages, les divorces et les décès ;182 mais également des relations économiques et commerciales. Cette vision est embrassée par une grande partie de la doctrine,183 notamment parce qu’elle est dans l’intérêt respectif des parties.184 Très pragmatique, cette solution n’est pas toute récente, car elle a pu être consacrée dans la jurisprudence américaine dès le dix-neuvième siècle. Dans la décision Texas c. White et autres,185 la Cour suprême américaine a ainsi déclaré ce qui suit : [I]l peut être dit, […] avec suffisamment de justesse, que les actes nécessaires à la paix et au bon ordre parmi les citoyens, comme par exemple les actes sanctionnant et protégeant l’institution du mariage et les relations domestiques, ceux ressortissant à la filiation, ceux régissant la cession et le transfert de biens meubles et immeubles, ceux permettant d’apporter réparation pour des préjudices corporels ou matériels, et les autres actes similaires, qui seraient valides s’ils émanaient d’un gouvernement légitime, doivent être considérés en général comme valides lorsqu’ils émanent d’un gouvernement qui existe en fait, bien qu’il soit illégitime […].186 Conclusion Expression forgée a priori à des fins d’investigation, la reconnaissance procédurale ne renvoie pas moins à un phénomène juridique tout à fait tangible. À ce titre, il ne fait aucun doute – nous le réitérons – qu’elle ne répond pas à la définition de la notion de reconnaissance telle qu’elle est conçue en IV. 182 A. Aust, Handbook of International Law, 2è éd. (2011), 21. 183 Bierzaneck, supra note 5, 125 : « Sous la pression des besoins de la vie, les tribunaux de différents pays ont trouvé une solution à la majorité des questions pratiques soulevées par la non-reconnaissance » ; R. Ranjeva et Ch. Cadoux, Droit international public (1992), 94 : « Pour des considérations de bonne administration de la justice, les actes de l’État non reconnu peuvent être pris en compte par les juridictions des États tiers et faire objet d’application dès lors que les litiges n’ont qu’un caractère privé et ne mettent pas […] en cause des problèmes de relations d’État à État ». 184 Daillier et al., supra note 35, 623, para 366 : « […] [C]ette attitude est conforme aux exigences de bonne administration de la justice et aux intérêts des parties. Ce souci de réalisme se retrouve dans les jurisprudences internes […] ». 185 Cour suprême, Texas c/ White, 12 avril 1869, 74 United States Reports 700 [États- Unis]. 186 Ibid., para 128 [notre traduction]. La qualité étatique accordée par le juge interne 269 théorie et qu’elle opère en pratique dans l’ordre juridique international.187 Il apparaît toutefois que dans l’ordre juridique interne, au regard de sa nature, de ses effets et de sa fonction, la reconnaissance procédurale semble se rapprocher à bien des égards de la reconnaissance de jure en octroyant la qualité étatique à une entité qui la revendique et le statut qui en découle. Et, en définitive, en faisant nôtre la conception selon laquelle il n’y a de droits et obligations que ceux qui sont sanctionnés par le juge,188 alors la différence entre l’État reconnu procéduralement et l’État reconnu de jure se fait plus ténue… 187 Verhoeven, Les relations internationales, supra note 2, 23 : « [La reconnaissance procédurale] est étrangère […] aux formes de la reconnaissance. Elle vise en effet l’autonomie dont dispose le juge dans le règlement de conflits qui mettent en cause, au moins en apparence, des actes de droit international public, et non la forme sous laquelle est exprimée la reconnaissance. […] [La reconnaissance] n’est […] valable en droit des gens que si elle émane d’un organe habilité à représenter l’État dans les relations internationales. Le juge ne disposant […] pas d’une telle qualité, sa reconnaissance ne saurait être constitutive d’une reconnaissance [même] implicite de l’État dans les rapports internationaux » [nous soulignons]. 188 O. W. Holmes Jr., La voie du droit (2014), 3-4 : « Répétons-le : les droits et obligations […] dont s’occupe la doctrine ne sont rien d’autre que des prophéties. […] [L]a théorie se retrouve à placer la charrue avant les bœufs, et [à] imaginer que les droits et obligations existeraient de manière indépendante des conséquences de leur violation […]. Pourtant, […] une obligation juridique n’est […] rien d’autre que la prédiction de ce que, si un [sujet] commet ou omet certaines choses, il devra subir […] le jugement d’un tribunal – et il en va de même des droits ». Mehdi Belkahla 270 Cyber Espionage in Inter-State Litigation Marco Benatar* Introduction: The Dangers of the Digital Domain Growing anxiety over cyber security is fuelling efforts to put the use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) on a firmer legal footing. This sentiment is aptly expressed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN): Few technologies have been as powerful as information and communications technologies (ICTs) in reshaping economies, societies and international relations. Cyberspace touches every aspect of our lives. The benefits are enormous, but these do not come without risk. Making cyberspace stable and secure can be achieved only through international cooperation, and the foundation of this cooperation must be international law and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.1 As global and regional organizations direct their energies toward the international regulation of ICTs, so too do individual States, many of which have integrated international law in their cyber doctrines. The allure of cyberspace has also captivated researchers, who have produced a prodigious body of literature on topics as varied as jus ad bellum and human rights.2 Within this broader scholarly conversation, cyber espionage is rapidly becoming a core concern.3 The keen interest undoubtedly stems from the I. * Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law. 1 Report of the Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security, UN Doc. A/70/174, 22 July 2015, para. 4 [GGE Report 2015]. 2 See M. Benatar, Cyber Warfare, in A. Carty (ed.), Oxford Bibliographies in International Law (2014), available at: ent/obo-9780199796953/obo-9780199796953-0087.xml?rskey=YzkK10&result=1&q =Cyber+Warfare#firstMatch (last visited 23 October 2018). 3 See e.g. D. Weissbrodt, Cyber-Conflict, Cyber-Crime, and Cyber-Espionage, 22 Minnesota Journal of International Law (2013), 347; C. S. Yoo, Cyber Espionage or Cyberwar? International Law, Domestic Law, and Self-Protective Measures, in J. D. Ohlin et al. (eds.), Cyberwar: Law and Ethics for Virtual Conflicts (2015), 175; R. Buchan, The International Legal Regulation of State-Sponsored Cyber Espionage, 271 barrage of revelations that continue to surface in the media. Detailed accounts of mass electronic surveillance programs,4 the interception of communications of Heads-of-State5 and the theft of industrial secrets6 regularly make world headlines. Clandestine ICT activities have even spread to inter-State litigation,7 as came to light in the recent South China Sea Arbitration. This closely-folin A.-M. Osula and H. Rõigas (eds.), International Cyber Norms: Legal, Policy & Industry Perspectives (NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, 2016), 65; K. Ziolkowski, Peacetime Cyber Espionage – New Tendencies in Public International Law, in K. Ziolkowski (ed.), Peacetime Regime for State Activities in Cyberspace: International Law, International Relations and Diplomacy (NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, 2013), 425; D. Pun, Rethinking Espionage in the Modern Era, 18 Chicago Journal of International Law (2017), 353. 4 A. Deeks, An International Legal Framework for Surveillance, 55 Virginia Journal of International Law (2015), 291; I. Georgieva, The Right to Privacy under Fire: Foreign Surveillance under the NSA and the GCHQ and its Compatibility with Art. 17 ICCPR and Art. 8 ECHR, 31 Utrecht Journal of International and European Law (2015), 104; P. Margulies, The NSA in Global Perspective: Surveillance, Human Rights, and International Counterterrorism, 82 Fordham Law Review (2014), 2137; M. Milanovic, Human Rights Treaties and Foreign Surveillance: Privacy in the Digital Age, 56 Harvard International Law Journal (2015), 81; D. Yernault, De la fiction à la réalité: le programme d’espionnage électronique global ‘Echelon’ et la responsabilité internationale des Etats au regard de la Convention européenne des droits de l’homme, 33 Revue belge de droit international (2000), 137; J. J. Paust, Can You Hear Me Now?: Private Communication, National Security, and the Human Rights Disconnect, 15 Chicago Journal of International Law (2015), 612. 5 S. Talmon, Das Abhören der Kanzlerhandys und das Völkerrecht, 1 Bonner Rechtsjournal (2014), 6. 6 D. P. Fidler, ‘Economic Cyber Espionage and International Law: Controversies involving Government Acquisition of Trade Secrets through Cyber Technologies’ (2013), available at: er-espionage-and-international-law-controversies-involving (last visited 23 October 2018); C. Lotrionte, Countering State-Sponsored Cyber Economic Espionage under International Law, 40 North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation (2015), 443; C. Parajon Skinner, An International Law Response to Economic Cyber Espionage, 46 Connecticut Law Review (2014), 1165. 7 As the focus of this paper is inter-State litigation, cases involving national security before human rights bodies will not be covered. See e.g. ECtHR Research Division, ‘National Security and European Case-Law’ (2013), available at 68067d214 (last visited 23 October 2018). In international commercial arbitration (another area not treated in this chapter), the threat posed by malicious cyber actors has prompted soft law initiatives. See Draft Cybersecurity Protocol for International Arbitration, 2018, available at 22709923070/draft_cybersecurity_protocol_final_10_april.pdf (last visited 23 Marco Benatar 272 lowed case, administered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), saw the Philippines challenge China’s maritime claims and activities in the South China Sea.8 In 2015, on the third day of hearings in the Peace Palace (The Hague), a cyber-attack originating from China took down the PCA’s website for an extended period, leaving the page infected with malware luring unsuspecting online visitors.9 Compounding matters further, forensic investigations led an IT security company to conclude that an actor based in China had targeted the computer systems of groups involved in the maritime spat. The hit list included the law firm representing the Philippines in the arbitration and the malicious program used in the attack is known to enable data exfiltration from the victim’s compromised machine.10 Should this be a harbinger of things to come, international courts and tribunals could soon face credible allegations that parties appearing before them have spied on each other using cyber capabilities. A likely scenario is one whereby a party to the proceedings retrieves information from the adverse party or its representatives to get a leg up in the ongoing litigation. To be sure, in many instances the allegations will remain just that, given the arduous task of substantiating covert intelligence gathering and its attribution to the opposing State.11 Past cases show the difficulty of proving acts of espionage to the tribunal’s satisfaction. Following the 1979 storm- October 2018); Debevoise Protocol to Promote Cybersecurity in International Arbitration (2017), available at cybersecurity/protocol_cybersecurity_intl_arb_july2017.pdf (last visited 23 October 2018); L. Yong, Working Group Unveils Cybersecurity Protocol at ICCA (2018), available at oup-unveils-cybersecurity-protocol-at-icca (last visited 23 October 2018); C. Morel de Westgaver, Cybersecurity in International Arbitration – A Necessity and an Opportunity for Arbitral Institutions (2017), available at http://arbitrationblog.kluwer (last visited 23 October 2018). 8 South China Sea Arbitration (Philippines v. China), Award of 12 July 2016, PCA Case No. 2013-19. 9 J. Healey and A. Piiparinen, ‘Did China Just Hack the International Court Adjudicating Its South China Sea Territorial Claims?’ (2015), available at http://thedipl th-china-sea-territorial-claims/ (last visited 23 October 2018). Shortly after the incident, the International Court of Justice issued an announcement on its website notifying visitors that it was a distinct institution from the PCA and had no involvement in the aforementioned case. 10 F-Secure, ‘NanHaiShu: RATing the South China Sea’ (2016), available at https://w (last visited 23 October 2018). 11 Espionage on the part of counsel is not covered in this contribution. On the treatment of misconduct in international proceedings from the perspective of profes- Cyber Espionage in Inter-State Litigation 273 ing of the United States Embassy in Teheran and taking of American diplomatic and consular staff as hostages, the US took its dispute with Iran to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Although the respondent State boycotted the proceedings, Iranian authorities made numerous statements accusing the US of conducting espionage on its soil. Noting that the assertions were unsupported by evidence, the Court dismissed Teheran’s claims.12 Closer to the present day is the ill-fated arbitration between Croatia and Slovenia which was rocked by revelations that Slovenia’s agent and party-appointed arbitrator had engaged in unlawful ex parte communications.13 In proceedings addressing the consequences of the incident, Slovenia floated the possibility of Croatia being behind the wiretapping of the damning telephone conversation. Lacking hard proof, the Arbitral Tribunal did not discuss the matter further.14 The use of ICTs adds a thick layer of complexity owing to the anonymous architecture of cyberspace and the abundant methods for wiping sional ethics, see generally A. Sarvarian, Professional Ethics at the International Bar (2013); C. Parajon Skinner, Ethical Dilemmas in Inter-State Disputes, 68 Alabama Law Review (2016), 281. See also T. W. Wälde, “Equality of Arms” in Investment Arbitration: Procedural Challenges, in K. Yannaca-Small (ed.), Arbitration Under International Investment Agreements: A Guide to the Key Issues (2010), 161, 161-162 (acknowledging the existence of spying by private parties in relation to investment arbitration). Equally beyond the remit of this study is spying against the tribunal itself. Breaches of the confidentiality of deliberations are taken seriously. The Nuclear Tests case between Australia and France is illustrative of this point. Shortly before the reading of an order indicating provisional measures, statements were made and the Australian press had reported on the expected outcome of the request for provisional measures and how the judges would vote. The ICJ adopted a resolution criticizing the disclosure and launched an investigation to identify the source of the leak, which was not discovered. Nuclear Tests (Australia v. France), Judgment, Declaration of President Lachs, ICJ Reports 1974, 253, 273; Ibid., Joint Declaration of Judges Bengzon, Onyeama, Dillard, Jiménez de Aréchaga and Sir Humphrey Waldock, 273; B. Fassbender, Article 54, in A. Zimmermann et al. (eds.), The Statute of the International Court of Justice: A Commentary, 2nd ed. (2012), 1355, 1359. 12 United States Diplomatic and Consular Staff in Tehran (United States of America v. Iran), Judgment, ICJ Reports 1980, para. 82. 13 Ill-fated, but not without a silver lining, see T. Meshel, The Croatia v. Slovenia Arbitration: The Silver Lining, 16 The Law and Practice of International Courts and Tribunals (2017), 288. 14 Arbitration Between the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Slovenia (Croatia v. Slovenia), Partial Award of 30 June 2016, PCA Case No. 2012-04, para. 211. See also A. Sarvarian and R. Baker, ‘Arbitration between Croatia and Slovenia: Leaks, Wiretaps, Scandal (Part 3)’ (2015), available at tration-between-croatia-and-slovenia-final-part-3/ (last visited 23 October 2018). Marco Benatar 274 tracks.15 Pinning conduct to a specific State can therefore present a greater challenge than in the case of ‘traditional’ espionage. Attribution is harder still where non-State proxies are called on to do the spying, as their conduct will only be attributed to the State if it exerts a certain threshold of control over them.16 But what if, for argument’s sake, the international tribunal were to conclusively determine that cyber espionage connected to the pending case has occurred and can be attributed to one of the parties? This is the question that lies at the heart of the present chapter as it seeks to address two main challenges the tribunal could realistically face. The first is whether the adjudicator can find the spying State in breach of international law and, if so, on what grounds. The second challenge is how the tribunal should treat evidence that has been procured through clandestine ICT activities. General International Law and its Gaps Let us assume that a party has established that it was the victim of cyber espionage at the hands of the opposing party and that the spying has a nexus with the ongoing proceedings. The next step is for the tribunal to formulate an appropriate response. This section will survey the range of considerations that could factor into the adjudicator’s thought process. It will be demonstrated that despite the ethical misgivings one might have about spying, commentators generally hold that international law does not ban such behaviour outright. A fortiori, the lawfulness of ICT covert operations is at the very least uncertain. In a subsequent part, the impact of the underlying litigation will be studied. The inquiry will therefore shift to rules and principles of international dispute settlement that could be invoked to reach a finding of illicit conduct. II. 15 K. Kittichaisaree, Public International Law of Cyberspace (2017), 32-36. 16 See C. Antonopoulos, State Responsibility in Cyberspace, in N. Tsagourias and R. Buchan (eds.), Research Handbook on International Law and Cyberspace (2015), 55; P. Margulies, Sovereignty and Cyber Attacks: Technology’s Challenge to the Law of State Responsibility, 14 Melbourne Journal of International Law (2014), 1; S. J. Shackelford and R. B. Andres, State Responsibility for Cyber Attacks: Competing Standards for a Growing Problem, 42 Georgetown Journal of International Law (2011), 971. Cyber Espionage in Inter-State Litigation 275 The debate over whether the covert collection of information in peacetime,17 i.e. absent the consent of the State controlling the information, is banned by international law has a long pedigree.18 A few broad observations can be deduced from the voluminous literature reflecting the majority position among scholars. Most writers believe that general international law does not prohibit spying as such because none of the core norms appear to outlaw the practice.19 Take, for instance, the principle of non-intervention. The principle is a foundational one forming part of customary international law as held by the ICJ20 and expressed in landmark resolutions of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).21 Non-intervention prohibits States from committing acts which are coercive and “[bear] on matters in which each State is permitted, by the principle of State sovereignty, to decide freely”.22 While actions not involving the use of force can certainly fall within the scope of non-intervention,23 it would be difficult to argue that typical clandestine intelligence gathering meets the coercion criterion.24 17 This chapter does not address the law of armed conflict. 18 S. Chesterman, Secret Intelligence, in R. Wolfrum (ed.), Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (2009), para. 1, available at me/EPIL (last visited 23 October 2018). 19 This stands in contrast to the vast number of domestic legal systems criminalizing such behaviour. 20 Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America), Merits, Judgment, ICJ Reports 1986, 14, para. 202. 21 Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, GA Res. 2625 (XXV) of 24 October 1970, Annex; Manila Declaration on the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes, GA Res. 37/10 of 15 November 1982, Annex; Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention and Interference in the Internal Affairs of States, GA Res. 36/103 of 9 December 1981, Annex; Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States and the Protection of their Independence and Sovereignty, GA Res. 2131 (XX) of 21 December 1965; Draft Declaration on Rights and Duties of States, GA Res. 375 (IV) of 6 December 1949, Annex. 22 Military and Paramilitary Activities, supra note 20, para. 205. Marco Benatar 276 That said, the absence of an outright prohibition does not imply that, true to the Lotus principle,25 States are at liberty to spy in all circumstances without fear of breaching international law. Firstly, the international community does regulate secret intelligence albeit in a piecemeal fashion.26 Different branches of international law place limits on espionage in circumscribed situations. A pertinent example can be found in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR) which curtails intelligence gathering by diplomats in the receiving State.27 Another illustration is the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea’s (UNCLOS) exclusion of “any act aimed at collecting information to the prejudice of the defence or security of the coastal State” from the meaning of innocent passage in the territorial sea.28 Secondly, legal lacunae and the ubiquity of secret intelligence have not deterred States from denouncing the practice when it occurs. What matters, however, is that they do so indirectly: rather than claim that an act of espionage is illegal, States invoke rules which were transgressed in the process of obtaining intelligence. This roundabout approach stifles the forma- 23 For an assessment of various acts not involving the use of force and their compatibility with the non-intervention principle, see M. Jamnejad and M. Wood, The Principle of Non-Intervention, 22 Leiden Journal of International Law (2009), 345, 367-377. On intervention and cyberspace, see P. Wrange, Intervention in National and Private Cyberspace and International Law, in J. Ebbesson et al. (eds.), International Law and Changing Perceptions of Security: Liber Amicorum Said Mahmoudi (2014), 307; T. Gill, Non-Intervention in the Cyber Context, in Ziolkowski, supra note 3, 217; S. Watts, Low-Intensity Cyber Operations and the Principle of Non-Intervention, in Ohlin, supra note 3, 249. 24 Ziolkowski, supra note 3, 433. Contra Buchan, Cyber Espionage and International Law, in Tsagourias and Buchan, supra note 16, 183. 25 S.S. “Lotus” (France v. Turkey), Judgment, 1927, PCIJ Series A, No. 10, 18. See however Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Respect of Kosovo, Advisory Opinion, Declaration of Judge Simma, ICJ Reports 2010, 478 (calling into question the continued relevance of the Lotus principle in contemporary international law); A. Hertogen, Letting Lotus Bloom, 26 European Journal of International Law (2015), 901 (agreeing with critiques of the Lotus principle, whilst challenging the mainstream reading of the Lotus judgment). 26 Chesterman, supra note 18, paras. 23-24. 27 E.g. Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 18 April 1961, Articles 3 (1) (d), 41 (1) and (3), 500 UNTS 95 [VCDR]. 28 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 10 December 1982, Art. 19 (2) (c), 1833 UNTS 397 [UNCLOS]. As for the exclusive economic zone, see E. Papastavridis, Intelligence Gathering in the Exclusive Economic Zone, 93 International Law Studies (2017), 446. Cyber Espionage in Inter-State Litigation 277 tion of a would-be opinio juris that renders espionage in and of itself illicit.29 It is best exemplified by considering the response to the discovery of agents operating on foreign soil. The victim State will oftentimes treat the act as a breach of international law not because espionage is proscribed but because its territorial sovereignty has been violated.30 A useful parallel can be drawn with the ICJ’s approach in the Military and Paramilitary Activities case. Nicaragua had complained of US aircraft flying over its territory with the aim of intelligence gathering among other objectives. The Court did not address the lawfulness of reconnaissance in relation to the unauthorized overflights but did qualify the aerial activities as violations of Nicaraguan sovereignty under customary international law.31 We now turn to cyberspace which, it should be emphasized, is not a lawless domain.32 The work of the UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE),33 the views of UN Member States submitted to the UN Secretary- General,34 national cyber policies35 and multilateral initiatives36 all attest to the growing consensus that international law applies to computer networks. The 2015 GGE Report is noteworthy for the statement that: 29 I. Navarrete, L’espionnage en temps de paix en droit international public, 53 Canadian Yearbook of International Law (2015), 1, 7. 30 F. Lafouasse, “Le silence est d’or”: réflexions juridiques sur l’espionnage entre États, in S. Cassella and L. Delabie (eds.), Faut-il prendre le droit international au sérieux? Journée d’études en l’honneur de Pierre Michel Eisemann (2016), 165, 167. See also D. Fleck, Individual and State Responsibility for Intelligence Gathering, 28 Michigan Journal of International Law (2007), 687, 692-693. 31 Military and Paramilitary Activities, supra note 20, paras. 21, 91, 251-252. Navarrete, supra note 29, 16. See also Convention on International Civil Aviation, 7 December 1944, Articles 1 and 2, 15 UNTS 295, codifying the customary rule that a State’s sovereignty extends to the airspace above its land territory and territorial sea. 32 A. Pellet, Préface, in Société française pour le droit international (ed.), Colloque de Rouen: Internet et le droit international (2014), 1, 3. 33 Report of the Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security, UN Doc. A/68/98, 24 June 2013, paras. 16-25; GGE Report 2015, supra note 1, paras. 24-29. On the GGEs, see C. Henderson, The United Nations and the Regulation of Cyber-Security, in Tsagourias and Buchan, supra note 16, 465, 473-481. Marco Benatar 278 In their use of ICTs, States must observe, among other principles of international law, State sovereignty, sovereign equality, the settlement of disputes by peaceful means and non-intervention in the internal affairs of other States. Existing obligations under international law are applicable to State use of ICTs. States must comply with their obligations under international law to respect and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms.37 The above remarks on espionage and international law are equally valid for covert operations using cyber capabilities. The Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations, prepared by an international group of experts under the aegis of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, corroborates this view. Rule 32 of the latest edition of the Tallinn Manual stipulates: “Although peacetime cyber espionage by States does not per se violate international law, the method by which it is carried out might do so.”38 With this clarification in mind, the stage is set for an inquiry as to whether cyber espionage in international litigation can run afoul of international law. Assuredly, scenarios can be imagined where binding rules are violated. In those cases, an international tribunal eager to sanction the spying party could latch on to those infractions. The more intriguing question is whether breaches are necessarily committed. This is not a forgone conclusion: vital practical distinctions set traditional and cyber espionage apart. As mentioned earlier, the unapproved entry of secret agents in the territory of a third State is an encroachment on sovereignty. Conversely, the virtual world of interconnected servers allows for data extraction without ever set- 34 See UN Office of Disarmament Affairs, ‘Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security’, available at (last visited 23 October 2018). 35 E.g. United States, ‘International Strategy for Cyberspace: Prosperity, Security, and Openness in a Networked World’ (2011), available at (last visited 23 October 2018). 36 E.g. International Code of Conduct for Information Security, UN Doc A/69/723, Annex, 9 January 2015 (jointly submitted by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan). 37 GGE Report 2015, supra note 1, para. 28 (b). 38 M. N. Schmitt (ed.), Tallinn Manual 2.0 on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare, 2nd ed. (2017), 168. Cyber Espionage in Inter-State Litigation 279 ting foot in the territory of the targeted State.39 One of the surest juridical shields against espionage is thus pierced.40 In certain respects, the situation is reminiscent of spying from outer space via satellite which several commentators do not consider to be illegal.41 Each instance must be considered on its individual merits. By way of illustration, if the intrusion were to impair the functionality of the cyber infrastructure in the targeted State, a strong case can be built that its sovereignty has been impinged upon.42 In sum, cyber espionage will at times fall through the gaps of general international law. The Law of International Dispute Settlement as Adjudicatory Strategy Confronted with the reality that a party has conducted cyber espionage against the opposing side, the international tribunal hearing their dispute finds itself in an unenviable position. On the one hand, there is an understandable desire to treat the act of spying as more than unethical yet lawful behaviour. On the other hand, a finding of breach might be out of step with the prevailing attitudes of States on the status of espionage, especially of the cyber kind. The dearth of relevant case law could also discourage international tribunals from taking a first bold step in tackling this contentious topic head-on. Perhaps there is an alternative to side-stepping the issue: shifting the focus to rules concerning the ongoing litigation would III. 39 Deeks, supra note 4, 304-305; N. Tsagourias and R. Buchan, Cyber-Threats and International Law, in M. E. Footer et al. (eds.), Security and International Law (2016), 365, 374. 40 On sovereignty and cyberspace, see generally W. Heintschel von Heinegg, Territorial Sovereignty and Neutrality in Cyberspace, 89 International Law Studies (2013), 123, 126; P. W. Franzese, Sovereignty in Cyberspace: Can it Exist?, 64 Air Force Law Review (2009), 1; B. Pirker, Territorial Sovereignty and Integrity and the Challenges of Cyberspace, in K. Ziolkowski, supra note 3, 189; M. Finnemore and D. B. Hollis, Constructing Norms for Global Cybersecurity, 110 American Journal of International Law (2016), 425, 459-460. 41 S. Chesterman, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold War: Intelligence and International Law, 27 Michigan Journal of International Law (2006), 1071, 1085-1086; J. Kish, International Law and Espionage (1995), 115-121; F. Lafouasse, L’espionnage dans le droit international (2012), 140-142. See however R. A. Falk, Space Espionage and World Order: A Consideration of the Samos-Midas Program, in R. J. Stanger (ed.), Essays on Espionage and International Law (1962), 45. 42 Schmitt, supra note 38, 170. Marco Benatar 280 enable the adjudicator to put on record a violation of said rules without having to pass judgment on the actual act of ICT intelligence gathering. At first blush, the duty not to aggravate or extend a dispute shows promise as a prism through which to assess cyber espionage. Citing case law,43 treaty practice,44 the UNGA’s Friendly Relations Declaration45 and good faith, the Arbitral Tribunal in the South China Sea case elevated its rank to that of a principle of international law applicable to parties involved in a procedure of dispute settlement for as long as that process lasts.46 The arbitrators went on to describe in minute detail what it means to aggravate a dispute: In the course of dispute resolution proceedings, the conduct of either party may aggravate a dispute where that party continues during the pendency of the proceedings with actions that are alleged to violate the rights of the other, in such a way as to render the alleged violation more serious. A party may also aggravate a dispute by taking actions 43 In particular Electricity Company of Sofia and Bulgaria (Belgium v. Bulgaria), Interim Measures of Protection, Order, 1939, PCIJ Series A/B, No. 79, 199: “the principle universally accepted by international tribunals […] to the effect that the parties to a case must abstain from any measure capable of exercising a prejudicial effect in regard to the execution of the decision to be given and, in general, not allow any step of any kind to be taken which might aggravate or extend the dispute”. 44 E.g. Revised General Act for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, 28 April 1949, Art. 33 (3), 71 UNTS 101: “The parties undertake to abstain from all measures likely to react prejudicially upon the execution of the judicial or arbitral decision or upon the arrangements proposed by the Conciliation Commission and, in general, to abstain from any sort of action whatsoever which may aggravate or extend the dispute”. 45 Friendly Relations Declaration, supra note 21: “States parties to an international dispute, as well as other States shall refrain from any action which may aggravate the Situation so as to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, and shall act in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations”. 46 South China Sea Arbitration, supra note 8, paras. 1166-1173. It is worthwhile noting that non-aggravation was explicitly written into the Rules of Procedure of the Timor-Leste-Australia Conciliation. See Conciliation between the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and the Commonwealth of Australia, PCA Case No. 2016-10, Rules of Procedure, Art. 10 (3): “The Parties shall refrain during the conciliation proceedings from any measure which might aggravate or widen the dispute. They shall, in particular, refrain from any measures which might have an adverse effect on proposals which are or may reasonably be made by the Commission, so long as those proposals have not been explicitly rejected by either of the Parties.” Cyber Espionage in Inter-State Litigation 281 that would frustrate the effectiveness of a potential decision, or render its implementation by the parties significantly more difficult. Finally, a party may aggravate a dispute by undermining the integrity of the dispute resolution proceedings themselves, including by rendering the work of a court or tribunal significantly more onerous or taking other actions that decrease the likelihood of the proceedings in fact leading to the resolution of the parties’ dispute.47 There is little doubt that clandestine efforts to retrieve information from an opposing litigant could undercut the integrity of the proceedings resulting in further aggravation of the dispute. This alone however would not breach the duty, as the Arbitral Tribunal drew attention to an important restriction abridging its scope: [I]nternational law [does not] go so far as to impose a legal duty on a State to refrain from aggravating generally their relations with one another, however desirable it might be for States to do so. Actions must have a specific nexus with the rights and claims making up the parties’ dispute in order to fall foul of the limits applicable to parties engaged in the conduct of dispute resolution proceedings.48 Consonant with the South China Sea award, covert ICT activities would only violate the aggravation prohibition to the extent that they bear a close relation to the subject-matter of the underlying dispute, something which can only be answered on a case-by-case basis. At this juncture, we will focus on the communications between a State party to a dispute and its legal advisers. Are there solid grounds for granting attorney-client State correspondence juridical cover? The ICJ was called upon to solve this puzzle in the Questions relating to the Seizure and Detention of Certain Documents and Data case between Timor-Leste and Australia.49 The facts of the case bear repeating. Proceedings were initiated by 47 South China Sea Arbitration, supra note 8, para. 1176. 48 Ibid., para. 1174. 49 Questions relating to the Seizure and Detention of Certain Documents and Data (Timor-Leste v. Australia), Provisional Measures, ICJ Reports 2014, 147. See also M. Happold, ‘East Timor Takes Australia to ICJ over Documents Seized by Australian Intelligence‘ (2013), available at stralia-to-icj-over-documents-seized-by-australian-intelligence/ (last visited 23 October 2018); M. Happold, ‘Timor Leste’s Request for Provisional Measures: ICJ Orders Materials Seized by Australia Sealed Until Further Notice‘ (2014), available at (last visited 23 October Marco Benatar 282 East Timor in December 2013 in response to a raid carried out by Australian intelligence services in the Australia-based business premises of a lawyer advising East Timor. At least some of the documents and data taken by the Australian authorities related to the then pending Timor Sea Treaty Arbitration50 or potential maritime boundary negotiations. Said items concerned exchanges between East Timor and its legal advisers.51 Together with the institution of proceedings, the applicant asked the Court to adopt provisional measures aimed at protecting the seized documents and ensuring the confidentiality of its contents.52 The Timorese request for relief succeeded: the ICJ’s Order indicated several measures that Australia had to adopt to protect the applicant’s rights in the interim.53 Per the parties’ wishes, the ICJ later modified the measures,54 then discontinued and removed the case from the list before any hearing on the merits could take place.55 2018); C. Rose, The Protection of Communications between States and their Counsel in International Dispute Settlement, 73 Cambridge Law Journal (2014), 231. 50 Arbitration under the Timor Sea Treaty (Timor-Leste v. Australia), PCA Case No. 2013-16. Incidentally, East Timor initiated this arbitration on the basis of allegations of Australian espionage. See K. Mitchell and D. Akande, ‘Espionage & Good Faith in Treaty Negotiations: East Timor v. Australia‘ (2014), http://www.ejiltalk.o rg/espionage-fraud-good-faith-in-treaty-negotiations-east-timor-v-australia-in-the-p ermanent-court-of-arbitration/ (last visited 23 October 2018). These proceedings are distinct from the conciliation between East Timor and Australia under UNC- LOS and another arbitration between the same parties concerning a petroleum export pipeline. See Timor-Leste-Australia Conciliation, supra note 46; Arbitration under the Timor Sea Treaty (Timor-Leste v. Australia), PCA Case No. 2015-42. Both arbitrations were terminated pursuant to the constructive dialogue within the framework of the conciliation. See ‘Joint Statement by the Governments of Timor-Leste and Australia and the Conciliation Commission constituted pursuant to Annex V of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea’ (2017), (last visited 23 October 2018). 51 Seizure and Detention, supra note 49, para. 27. 52 East Timor further requested the President of the Court to exercise his powers under Article 74 (4) of the Rules of Court to call upon Australia to take certain immediate actions. Rules of Court, Art. 74 (4): “Pending the meeting of the Court, the President may call upon the parties to act in such a way as will enable any order the Court may make on the request for provisional measures to have its appropriate effects.” 53 Seizure and Detention, supra note 49, para. 55. 54 Ibid., Order of 22 April 2015. 55 Ibid., Order of 11 June 2015. Cyber Espionage in Inter-State Litigation 283 East Timor’s plea rested on a two-pronged strategy. Each part will be considered in turn with reflections being offered on their possible relevance to clandestine ICT activities. The applicant first advanced “the ownership and property rights which it holds over the seized material, entailing the rights to inviolability and immunity of this property (in particular, documents and data), to which it is entitled as a sovereign State”.56 In its Order indicating provisional measures, the Court left this part of East Timor’s submissions unanswered, having already found the applicant’s other rights to be plausible (as will be discussed later on). The most salient feature of East Timor’s argumentation for our purposes is the assertion that over time various conventions and State practice have blended into “a customary rule of international law that grants immunity and inviolability to State documents and archives”.57 Had the case proceeded on the merits, this novel take on property might not have swayed the judges. As counterintuitive as it may seem, States do not enjoy a universal right to property under contemporary international law.58 Property rights have developed in a fragmentary manner whereby protection is bestowed on well-defined categories of objects such as spacecraft, aircraft and ships.59 The flipside is that when they do apply, specialized legal regimes can provide that sought-after safeguard. For instance, if the targeted exchanges were between the legal advisors and a diplomatic mission of the client State and/or were exfiltrated from an embassy’s premises, the interception is likely to have breached diplomatic law. The violation stems from the diplomatic mission’s premises, archives, documents and official correspondence being inviolable under the VCDR and customary international law.60 Although crafted in an era preceding the digital revolution, the relevant terms of the VCDR extend to official correspondence stored and sent electronically.61 56 Ibid., Provisional Measures, para. 24. 57 Ibid., Memorial of Timor-Leste (2014), 48. 58 P. Tzeng, The State’s Right to Property Under International Law, 125 Yale Law Journal (2016), 1805. 59 Ibid., 1809-1811. 60 VCDR, supra note 27, Articles 22 (1), 24 and 27 (2). United States Diplomatic and Consular Staff in Tehran, supra note 12, paras. 62, 69. There is some debate on whether the duty to respect the inviolability of the sending State in this regard is only incumbent upon the receiving State or extends to third States as well. See Schmitt, supra note 38, 214, 221-222. 61 P. Grané Labat and N. Burke, The Protection of Diplomatic Correspondence in the Digital Age: Time to Revise the Vienna Convention?, in P. Behrens (ed.), Diplomatic Law in a New Millennium (2017), 204; W.-M. Choi, Diplomatic and Marco Benatar 284 Secondly, Timor-Leste requested protection for what it called “the right to the confidentiality of communications with its legal advisers”.62 Notwithstanding Australia’s national security concerns63 and tendered assurances, the Court was receptive to the applicant’s submission in holding that: If a State is engaged in the peaceful settlement of a dispute with another State through arbitration or negotiations, it would expect to undertake these arbitration proceedings or negotiations without interference by the other party in the preparation and conduct of its case. It would follow that in such a situation, a State has a plausible right to the protection of its communications with counsel relating to an arbitration or to negotiations, in particular, to the protection of the correspondence between them, as well as to the protection of confidentiality of any documents and data prepared by counsel to advise that State in such a context.64 Pursuant to this dictum, the ICJ ordered Australia not to interfere in communications between East Timor and its legal advisers in relation to the pending arbitration and maritime delimitation negotiations.65 The above passage lends itself well to the cyber context. Based on a plain reading of the Court’s language, mainly the words “communications”, “correspondence” and “data”, the present author sees no obstacle to interpreting its scope so as to include digital exchanges such as e-mails. The fact that the seized items in Timor-Leste v. Australia included electronically stored data strengthens this understanding. That said, the Court’s holding is not free of all ambiguity. To begin with, this is not the final say on the protection of attorney-client correspondence under international law given that it comes from an order indicating provisional measures. When exercising this form of incidental jurisdiction the Court solely has to determine whether the Consular Law in the Internet Age, 10 Singapore Year Book of International Law (2006), 117. See also R (Bancoult) v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (No. 3) [2013] EWHC 1502 (Admin): “We have no doubt that the context, object and purpose of the 1961 Convention require the words ‘document’ and ‘correspondence’ to include modern forms of electronic communication with the possible exception of communication by voice only. Likewise, an electronic storage system of such communications is an ‘archive’”. 62 Seizure and Detention, supra note 49, Provisional Measures, para. 24. 63 See S. Tully, Legal Professional Privilege and National Security, 30 Bar News: The Journal of the New South Wales Bar Association (2014), 24. 64 Seizure and Detention, supra note 49, Provisional Measures, para. 27. 65 Ibid., para. 55. Cyber Espionage in Inter-State Litigation 285 rights for which the applicant seeks protection are plausible, not definite.66 With the case having ended before reaching the merits stage, the ICJ will not have the opportunity to conclusively confirm (or repudiate) its tentative position. The basis in international law for shielding a State’s communications with its legal advisers raises further uncertainty. The Court held that it: Might be derived from the principle of the sovereign equality of States, which is one of the fundamental principles of the international legal order and is reflected in Article 2, paragraph 1, of the Charter of the United Nations. More specifically, equality of the parties must be preserved when they are involved, pursuant to Article 2, paragraph 3, of the Charter, in the process of settling an international dispute by peaceful means.67 Indeed, the duty to peacefully resolve disputes can be undermined when one party gains access to another party’s privileged communications when both are locked in litigation.68 The drawback however lies not with the rationale but with the method. The Court extracts a very concrete right of confidentiality from very broad UN Charter principles. If anything, this is innovative and the bench presents neither State practice, nor opinio juris or jurisprudence to bolster its reasoning.69 Perhaps that is what led two judges to question the majority’s reliance on the UN’s founding document as the building block for the right of non-interference.70 Recourse to general principles of law71 rather than treaty or custom offers a viable alternative. The latter denote unwritten, wide-ranging legal 66 C. A. Miles, Provisional Measures before International Courts and Tribunals (2017), 193-201. 67 Seizure and Detention, supra note 49, Provisional Measures, para. 27. On the equality of States in proceedings before the ICJ, see M. Bedjaoui, L’Egalité des Etats dans le procès international, un mythe?, in Liber amicorum Jean-Pierre Cot: Le procès international (2009), 1-27. 68 Although the putative right is discussed in relation to arbitration and negotiation, there is no reason why it would not apply to any other means of the parties’ choosing, for instance judicial settlement. 69 R. J. Bettauer, Questions Relating to the Seizure and Detention of Certain Documents and Data (Timor-Leste v. Australia). Provisional Measures Order, 108 American Journal of International Law (2014), 763, 768-769. 70 Seizure and Detention, supra note 49, Provisional Measures, Dissenting Opinion of Judge Greenwood, para. 12; Ibid., Separate Opinion of Judge Donoghue, para. 18. 71 ICJ Statute, Art. 38 (1) (c). Marco Benatar 286 norms which (a) enjoy recognition in the municipal legal systems of States (in foro domestico) and (b) are transposable to the international plane.72 It has been argued – including by East Timor73 – that attorney-client (or legal professional) privilege is a general principle of law. This norm, which “promote[s] open and candid communications between lawyer and client and thereby further[s] the administration of justice”74 is found in a great many jurisdictions across the world in one shape or another, so the in foro domestico criterion is easily met.75 Moving to the next requirement, certain principles of domestic law are ill-adapted to “conditions in the international field”76 and for that reason cannot be transposed to international law. By way of illustration, the notion of compulsory jurisdiction, the hallmark of municipal courts, cannot constitute a general principle of law as it would clash with the consensual model of international adjudication.77 Legal professional privilege does not have to contend with comparable hurdles. There is therefore little reason why it cannot be implemented in the international arena to the benefit of attorney-client State correspondence. The case law of international courts and tribunals points in the same direction.78 The Arbitral Tribunal in the Bank for International Settlements case offered one of the most significant pronouncements to date: At the core of the attorney-client privilege in both domestic and international law is the appreciation that those who must make decisions on their own or others’ behalf are entitled to seek and receive legal advice and that the provision of a full canvass of legal options and the exploration and evaluation of their legal implications would be chilled, were counsel and their clients not assured in advance that the advice 72 A. Pellet, Article 38, in Zimmermann, supra note 11, 731, 834. 73 Seizure and Detention, supra note 49, Provisional Measures, para. 24; Ibid., Memorial of Timor-Leste (2014), 52-57. 74 A. Möckesch, Attorney-Client Privilege in International Arbitration (2017), 124. 75 Ibid., 222; R.M. Mosk and T. Ginsburg, Evidentiary Privileges in International Arbitration, 50 International and Comparative Law Quarterly (2001), 345, 378-379. 76 Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company, Limited (Belgium v. Spain) (New Application: 1962), Judgment, Separate Opinion of Judge Fitzmaurice, ICJ Reports 1970, para. 5. 77 Status of Eastern Carelia, Advisory Opinion, 1923, PCIJ Series B, No. 5, 27: “It is well established in international law that no State can, without its consent, be compelled to submit its disputes with other States either to mediation or to arbitration, or to any other kind of pacific settlement”; Pellet, supra note 72, 840-841. 78 Seizure and Detention, supra note 49, Memorial of Timor-Leste (2014), 52-57. Cyber Espionage in Inter-State Litigation 287 proffered, along with communications related to it, would remain confidential and immune to discovery.79 Turning to investor-State dispute settlement, the Libananco case gained notoriety for the applicant’s charge that it had come under surveillance and interception by the host State. Treating the matter “with the utmost seriousness”, the tribunal proclaimed that the allegations struck at “fundamental principles”, including “respect for confidentiality and legal privilege” and “the right of parties both to seek advice and to advance their respective cases freely and without interference”.80 Peering beyond the world of arbitration, standing bodies such as the Court of Justice of the European Union81 and the European Court of Human Rights82 have shown like concern for the preservation of the principle. Although the precedents discussed thus far do not specifically address the confidentiality between a client State – as opposed to clients in general – and its legal advisers, they do stand for the proposition that legal professional privilege forms part and parcel of international law.83 79 Bank for International Settlements, Procedural Order No. 6 of 11 June 2002, PCA Case No. 2000-04, 10. See also Vito G. Gallo v. Government of Canada, Procedural Order No. 3 of 8 April 2009, PCA Case No. 2008-02, para. 49. 80 Libananco Holdings Co. Limited v. Turkey, Decision on Preliminary Issues of 23 June 2008, ICSID Case No. ARB/06/8, paras. 74, 78. 81 AM & S Europe Limited v. Commission of the European Communities, ECLI:EU:C:1982:157, Judgment of 18 May 1982, para. 21: “there are to be found in the national laws of the Member States common criteria inasmuch as those laws protect, in similar circumstances, the confidentiality of written communications between lawyer and client […]”. 82 In a case involving the seizure of electronically stored data, the Strasbourg Court stated: “While there is nothing in the facts to suggest that papers covered by legal professional privilege were touched upon during the search, it should be noted that the police removed the applicant’s entire computer, including its peripherals, as well as all floppy disks which they found in his office [...]. Seeing that the computer was evidently being used by the applicant for his work, it is natural to suppose that its hard drive, as well as the floppy disks, contained material which was covered by legal professional privilege.” Iliya Stefanov v. Bulgaria, ECtHR Application No. 65755/01, Judgment of 22 May 2008, para. 42. 83 G. Giraudeau, À propos de l’affaire des Questions concernant la saisie et la détention de certains documents et données (Timor-Leste c. Australie): Quand la Cour internationale de Justice protège les droits d’un Etat partie à une autre instance, 61 Annuaire français de droit international (2015), 239, 258-260. Marco Benatar 288 Determining the scope of legal professional privilege in international law serves as a reminder that the devil lies always in the detail.84 For one, attorney-client privilege is not absolute; exceptions exist because a balance is struck between confidentiality and competing values such as accurate judicial fact-finding and the imperatives of law enforcement. Countries weigh these interests differently; accordingly the rule’s protective reach will differ from one jurisdiction to the next. Other features, e.g. who may waive the privilege and what types of information are covered, also vary considerably.85 The extent of the limitations placed on privilege in the inter-State context cannot be conclusively answered at this stage lacking additional jurisprudential development.86 However, the Seizure and Detention case does hint at the inter-State principle being far less restricted than the municipal equivalent of legal professional privilege.87 The Court suggested as much when it directed Australia not to interfere “in any way” in East Timor’s communications with its lawyers in relation to the pending arbitration and maritime boundary negotiations.88 This measure, which does not mention potential exceptions, was adopted by an overwhelming majority of 15-1 even with Australia’s national security concerns, criminal investigations, and the written guarantees presented by the Australian Attorney-General himself to the Court.89 At a minimum, there are robust reasons for con- 84 Interestingly, the Australian-appointed judge ad hoc in the case brought by East Timor before the ICJ did not outright deny the existence of such a norm in international law, observing instead that “[t]he extent to which there is a settled principle of legal professional privilege, unique to the law of nations, and immune to any limitation in an international or national interest, will require detailed and careful argument.” Seizure and Detention, supra note 49, Provisional Measures, Dissenting Opinion of Judge ad hoc Callinan, para. 26. 85 Möckesch, supra note 74, 221-223. 86 See M. T. Grando, An International Law of Privileges, 3 Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law (2014), 666, 686-695 (on how public international tribunals should decide claims of privilege and balance the relevant social policies). 87 G. Giraudeau, ‘The Principles of Confidentiality and Noninterference in Communications with Lawyers and Legal Advisers in Recent ICJ and ECHR Case Law‘ (2016), available at les-confidentiality-and-noninterference-communications-lawyers (last visited 23 October 2018). On recent ECtHR jurisprudential developments, see M. Moris, Le secret professionnel de l’avocat au regard de l’article 8 de la Convention européenne des droits de l’homme. De nouveaux enseignements de la Cour de Strasbourg, 113 Revue trimestrielle des droits de l’homme (2018), 179. 88 Seizure and Detention, supra note 49, Provisional Measures, para. 55 (3). 89 Giraudeau, supra note 87. See also Bettauer, supra note 69, 767. Cyber Espionage in Inter-State Litigation 289 cluding that in clear-cut cases, such as the interception of e-mail exchanges between a State and its legal adviser related to proceedings before an international court or arbitral tribunal, the responsible State has fallen short of its obligations. Evidence Procured through Cyber Espionage: Too Hot to Handle? It is conceivable that a party that has been spied on would seek cessation of the case for betrayal of trust. The probability of a tribunal agreeing to a unilateral request of this nature will oftentimes be slim. The Croatia/Slovenia arbitration, mentioned in the introduction to this contribution, is instructive. In the wake of the revelation that Slovenia’s agent and party-appointed arbitrator had partaken in ex parte communications, Croatia sought termination of the Arbitration Agreement. The Tribunal in its new composition examined and rejected the petition but not without putting on record Slovenia’s unlawful behaviour. In the arbitrators’ estimation, the Slovenian breach had not made the continuation of the case impossible and, thus, the object and purpose of the Agreement had not been defeated.90 Inspired by this precedent, an international court or tribunal could similarly issue a declaratory ruling against the spying litigant, all the while letting the case proceed. Instead of bringing proceedings to an abrupt end, adjudicators could avail themselves of less drastic courses of action. The indication of provisional measures comes to mind. Safeguarding the proper conduct of the proceedings, explicitly recognized in certain statutes as a ground for granting interim measures,91 could prompt an injunction ordering a litigant to refrain from further acts of intelligence gathering targeting the other party. Attaching financial consequences to the inappropriate behaviour could be contemplated as well.92 IV. 90 Croatia v. Slovenia, supra note 14. 91 E.g. ECtHR Rules of Court, Rule 39 (1). 92 A differentiated allocation of costs might constitute an appropriate sanction. See Croatia v. Slovenia, supra note 14, paras. 229-230: “Finally, the Tribunal observes that the events that have given rise to the present Partial Award have significantly increased the costs of the present proceedings. If these events had not occurred, the advances toward the costs of arbitration that both Parties have made would have sufficed until the rendering of a final award in these proceedings. It is evident that, under the present circumstances, further advances will be required. […] While the Tribunal reserves its position on the ultimate allocation of costs in these proceedings until its final award, it considers that, for the time being, it is appro- Marco Benatar 290 This section will focus on yet another option, i.e. the disregarding of evidence that has been acquired through clandestine ICT intelligence gathering. Unlike domestic national courts of the common law tradition, bound to apply a web of technical exclusionary rules, inter-State tribunals are not weighed down by that level of restriction.93 Arbitral rules tend to give international arbitrators free reign when it comes to the admissibility of evidence.94 What then is to be made of illegally obtained evidence? To reiterate: there is good reason to believe that spying, including through digital means, is at odds with the law of international dispute settlement. By extension, the intrusion into international proceedings of evidence surreptitiously procured through computer networks raises understandable concern. Ample cause, therefore, to recast an old debate in a new cyber age. Some have argued that the exclusion of unlawfully acquired evidence might be a general principle of law given its presence in national legal systems.95 Taking a more cautious tack, others have drawn analogies from the municipal realm without going so far as to claim discovery of a new general principle.96 Either view has its shortcomings. The generality of the rule priate that Slovenia shall advance the sums necessary to cover costs that arise as a result of the prolongation of the proceedings beyond the originally envisaged timetable.”; Ahmadou Sadio Diallo (Republic of Guinea v. Democratic Republic of the Congo), Compensation, Judgment, ICJ Reports 2012, para. 60: “The Court recalls that Article 64 of the Statute provides that, ‘[u]nless otherwise decided by the Court, each party shall bear its own costs’. While the general rule has so far always been followed by the Court, Article 64 implies that there may be circumstances which would make it appropriate for the Court to allocate costs in favour of one of the parties.” 93 There are very few exclusionary rules applicable to the ICJ or ITLOS, the inadmissibility of evidence from negotiations between the parties being the main one. Factory at Chorzów (Germany v. Poland), Merits, Judgment, 1928, PCIJ Series A, No. 17, 51: “the Court cannot take into account declarations, admissions or proposals which the Parties may have made during direct negotiations between themselves, when such negotiations have not led to a complete agreement.” See further C. F. Amerasinghe, Evidence in International Litigation (2005), 163-167; M. Benzing, Evidentiary Issues, in Zimmermann, supra note 11, 1234, 1242-1245. 94 E.g. B. W. Daly et al., A Guide to the PCA Arbitration Rules (2014), 107. 95 R. Wolfrum and M. Möldner, International Courts and Tribunals, Evidence, in Wolfrum, supra note 18, para. 60. 96 W. M. Reisman and E. E. Freedman, The Plaintiff’s Dilemma: Illegally Obtained Evidence and Admissibility in International Adjudication, 76 American Journal of International Law (1982), 737. Cyber Espionage in Inter-State Litigation 291 is dubitable for it appears to be a peculiarity of United States criminal law.97 The analogy breaks down when one realizes that the ratio of the rule is to rein in overzealous criminal prosecution. To equate litigants in Stateto-State proceedings with public prosecutors is to compare apples with oranges.98 The notion of there being hard-and-fast rules requiring the exclusion of improperly obtained evidence has not gained traction in international jurisprudence.99 On this issue, the Corfu Channel case between the United Kingdom and Albania is the classic ruling most commentators gravitate towards. The underlying dispute arose from an incident that saw Royal Navy ships strike mines during their passage through the narrow Corfu Channel. In the aftermath of the event, the UK launched Operation Retail, a minesweeping mission which took place in Albanian waters without the coastal State’s assent. The British defended their action inter alia on the basis of a so-called right of intervention to “secure possession of evidence in the territory of another State, in order to submit it to an international tribunal and thus facilitate its task”.100 Unconvinced by the argument, the bench condemned the UK’s conduct as a “manifestation of a policy of force”.101 While the Court ruled out self-help through intervention for the purpose of collecting and preserving evidence, it appeared to rely on the information gleaned from Operation Retail.102 An important fact to emphasize is that Albania did not actively challenge the use of evidence collected during the minesweeping. The takeaway from Corfu Channel is that the illegal circumstances in which evidence was obtained might bar its ad- 97 H. Thirlway, Dilemma or Chimera? – Admissibility of Illegally Obtained Evidence in International Adjudication, 78 American Journal of International Law (1984), 622, 627. On the risks of importing one’s preferred municipal legal concepts into international law, see M. Benatar, International Law, Domestic Lenses, 3 Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law (2014), 357, 374-376. 98 Thirlway, supra note 97, 628-630. 99 A. Lagerwall, Le principe ex injuria jus non oritur en droit international (2016), 197-209. 100 Corfu Channel (United Kingdom v. Albania), Judgment, Merits, ICJ Reports 1949, 34. 101 Ibid., 35. 102 N. Hasan Shah, Discovery by Intervention: The Right of a State to Seize Evidence Located within the Territory of the Respondent State, 53 American Journal of International Law (1959), 595, 606-610. Marco Benatar 292 missibility but in any event it is up to the parties to raise that objection.103 To this day, the ICJ has never declared evidence procured through an internationally wrongful act inadmissible.104 Applied to spying through ICT technology, digital evidence unlawfully taken from servers located in another State would not be deemed inadmissible on grounds of its illicit provenance alone.105 In 2010-2011, the international NGO WikiLeaks released a large batch of classified US diplomatic telegrams into the public domain (so-called ‘Cablegate’).106 Parties to international legal proceedings have relied on cables from the leak as evidence. The development raises a question mark over the need or desire to disregard the contents of privileged diplomatic correspondence and archives that have been impermissibly acquired and disclosed by third parties.107 It has been reported that in an ICJ case between the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Greece, the Registrar deleted a reference to an uncovered diplomatic cable from the copy of pleadings distributed to the President and interpreters before the hearings were held.108 The transcripts of the oral proceedings include footnote references to a cable from the US Embassy in London to the US State Department in the 103 R. Rivier, La preuve devant les juridictions interétatiques à vocation universelle (CIJ et TIDM), in H. Ruiz Fabri and J.-M. Sorel (eds.), La preuve devant les juridictions internationales (2007), 9, 34-35. 104 A. Riddell and B. Plant, Evidence before the International Court of Justice (2009), 155. 105 M. Roscini, Digital Evidence as a Means of Proof before the International Court of Justice, 21 Journal of Conflict and Security Law (2016), 541, 551-554; M. Roscini, Evidentiary Issues in International Disputes Related to State Responsibility for Cyber Operations, 50 Texas International Law Journal (2015), 233, 269-272. 106 WikiLeaks, ‘Public Library of US Diplomacy’, available at usd/about/#cab (last visited 23 October 2018). 107 Grané Labat and Burke, supra note 61, 225-227, 229-230. On the (attempted) use of WikiLeaks cables as evidence in international and municipal proceedings, see C. Blair and E. Vidak Gojković, WikiLeaks and Beyond: Discerning an International Standard for the Admissibility of Illegally Obtained Evidence, 33 ICSID Review (2018), 235; E. Carpanelli, On the Inviolability of Diplomatic Archives and Documents: The 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to the Test of WikiLeaks, 98 Rivista di diritto internazionale (2015), 834; R. McCorquodale, ‘Wikileaks Documents are Admissible in a Domestic Court‘ (2018), available at c-court/ (last visited 23 October 2018). 108 Grané Labat and Burke, supra note 61, 226. Cyber Espionage in Inter-State Litigation 293 pleadings read out by counsel to FYROM.109 The ICJ’s Judgment does not mention any sources revealed by WikiLeaks. The Chagos Marine Protected Area Arbitration initiated by Mauritius against the UK pursuant to Annex VII of UNCLOS sought to invalidate a marine protected area established around the British Indian Ocean Territory (Chagos Archipelago).110 The decision to bring the case was in part influenced by a diplomatic cable leaked via WikiLeaks. The cable contained a report of an alleged meeting between US and UK officials demonstrating ulterior, non-environmental motives for declaring the marine park.111 The very same cable had already surfaced in the Bancoult litigation before British courts which dealt with the eviction and resettlement of the archipelago’s inhabitants.112 Noting that the document “appears to have been obtained illicitly by a person who was not authorised to obtain it”, the UK invoked the VCDR rules enshrining the inviolability of the archives, documents and official correspondence of the diplomatic mission.113 The Annex VII Arbitral Tribunal held that it “had reviewed the record of the English court proceedings that considered the matter and sees no basis to question the conclusion reached following the examination of the relevant individuals, that the content of that meeting was not as recorded in the leaked cable. Nor does the Tribunal consider it appropriate to place weight on a record of such provenance”.114 This language implies that the arbitrators’ unwillingness to use the WikiLeaks source was due to its dubious probative value and not merely how it made its way into the public domain.115 Investor-State dispute settlement has also been the scene of (attempted) uses of evidence from classified diplomatic communications. The results have been mixed.116 The respondent in ConocoPhillips v. Venezuela submitted sources from Cablegate as part of new evidence justifying its challenge 109 Application of the Interim Accord of 13 September 1995 (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia v. Greece), CR 2011/6 of 22 March 2011, 30, footnote 44 and 57, footnote 108, available at (last visited 23 October 2018). 110 Chagos Marine Protected Area Arbitration (Mauritius v. United Kingdom), Award of 18 March 2015, PCA Case No. 2011-03. 111 Ibid., paras. 494, 497. 112 Grané Labat and Burke, supra note 61, 219-223. 113 Chagos, supra note 110, Counter-Memorial of the United Kingdom (2013), para. 8.64, footnote 730. 114 Chagos, supra note 110, Award of 18 March 2015, para. 542. 115 Grané Labat and Burke, supra note 61, 227. 116 J. O. Ireton, The Admissibility of Evidence in ICSID Arbitration: Considering the Validity of WikiLeaks Cables as Evidence, 30 ICSID Review (2015), 231. Marco Benatar 294 to an earlier ruling of the ICSID Tribunal. The investor questioned the admissibility and relevance of the cables but not the accuracy of their contents. By two votes to one, the panel found that it lacked the power to reconsider its previous decision and for that reason did not examine the evidence.117 The dissenting arbitrator, who described the cables as “chang[ing] the situation radically in dimension and seriousness” and having “a high degree of credibility”, disagreed strongly with the majority’s reasoning.118 The Tribunal issued an Interim Decision in early 2017 that did scrutinize the leaked cables but concluded that they did not support the respondent’s allegations.119 In other ICSID arbitrations where WikiLeaks cables were presented, the adjudicators did not comment on their admissibility and propriety nor did the opposing parties object to their admission. The panels failed to consider the cables in these cases.120 Conversely, the Arbitral Tribunal hearing claims brought by Yukos shareholders, constituted in accordance with the Energy Charter Treaty, did employ WikiLeaks sources in its analysis of the evidentiary record.121 Taking stock of the (non-)treatment of WikiLeaks sources in international case law, little support can be found for the notion that illegally obtained evidence must be cast aside (even if that would be desirable on policy grounds).122 The surveyed international precedents do not contradict the overall approach to fact-finding predicaments. On the whole, courts have preferred 117 ConocoPhillips Petrozuata BV, ConocoPhillips Hamaca BV and ConocoPhillips Gulf of Paria BV v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Decision on Respondent’s Request for Reconsideration of 10 March 2014, ICSID Case No. ARB/07/30. 118 Ibid., Dissenting Opinion of Georges Abi-Saab, para. 64. 119 ConocoPhillips v. Venezuela, supra note 117, Interim Decision of 17 January 2017, paras. 117-126 and 135. 120 Ireton, supra note 116, 240; OPIC Karimum Corporation v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Decision on the Proposal to Disqualify Professor Philippe Sands, Arbitrator of 5 May 2011, ICSID Case No. ARB/10/14, paras. 11, 23, 56-57; Kiliç Ĭnşaat Ĭthalat Ĭhracat Sanayi Ve Ticaret Anonim Şirketi v. Turkmenistan, Award of 2 July 2013, ICSID Case No. ARB/10/1, paras. 4.3.16, 8.1.10 and 8.1.21. 121 Hulley Enterprises Limited (Cyprus) v. The Russian Federation, Final Award of 18 July 2014, PCA Case No. 2005-03/AA226, paras. 1186, 1189, 1199, 1201, 1208, 1213 and 1223; Yukos Universal Limited (Isle of Man) v. The Russian Federation, Final Award of 18 July 2014, PCA Case No. 2005-04/AA227, paras. 1186, 1189, 1199, 1201, 1208, 1213 and 1223; Veteran Petroleum Limited (Cyprus) v. The Russian Federation, Final Award of 18 July 2014, PCA Case No. 2005-05/AA228, paras. 1186, 1189, 1199, 1201, 1208, 1213 and 1223. 122 Grané Labat and Burke, supra note 61, 227 (advocating the inadmissibility of leaked diplomatic documentation as evidence because it would further the proper functioning of diplomatic missions). Cyber Espionage in Inter-State Litigation 295 to walk the well-trodden path of circumvention: a deft reframing of the ratio decidendi will avoid having to consider contested evidence as part of the factual basis of the ruling.123 A striking resemblance can be found with the way in which international tribunals have handled fraudulent evidence.124 As we ponder this state of affairs, it is worth considering whether de lege ferenda a principled approach to the use of tainted evidence should and could prevail. That adjudicators are disinclined to spurn documentation submitted by States is an understandable corollary of sovereignty.125 Nonetheless, undue deference of an international court to the sovereignty of clients should not come at the expense of proper control over its procedural system.126 Maybe justice is best served when the fruit of espionage is struck from the record or disregarded on pertinent policy grounds rather than solely on a legal/illegal binary logic. Exploring the terrain that lies beyond pure inter-State adjudication pays dividends. In a 2017 study on due process in transnational arbitration, the authors remarked that “[i]t should come as no surprise—based on previous discussions of good faith, procedural equality, and fraud—that proof acquired by unlawful or otherwise improper means may be stricken out from the record or denied any weight”.127 The conclusion was reached largely on the strength of the NAFTA Tribunal’s reasoning in the Methanex case. The Tribunal held that: As a general principle, therefore, just as it would be wrong for the USA ex hypothesi to misuse its intelligence assets to spy on Methanex (and its witnesses) and to introduce into evidence the resulting materials into this arbitration, so too would it be wrong for Methanex to introduce evidential materials obtained by Methanex unlawfully. 123 B. Kingsbury, International Courts: Uneven Judicialisation in Global Order, in J. Crawford and M. Koskenniemi (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to International Law (2012), 203, 220. 124 W. M. Reisman and C. Parajon Skinner, Fraudulent Evidence before Public International Tribunals: The Dirty Stories of International Law (2014), 197-198. 125 Riddell and Plant, supra note 104, 151. 126 R. Higgins, Respecting Sovereign States and Running a Tight Courtroom, 50 International and Comparative Law Quarterly (2001), 121. 127 C. T. Kotuby and L. A. Sobota, General Principles of Law and International Due Process: Principles and Norms Applicable in Transnational Disputes (2017), 196-197. See also Blair and Vidak Gojković, supra note 107, 256-258 (proposing a three-step test for determining the admissibility of evidence of illegal origin). Marco Benatar 296 and […] the Tribunal likewise decided that it would be wrong to allow Methanex to introduce this documentation into these proceedings in violation of its general duty of good faith and, moreover, that Methanex’s conduct, committed during these arbitration proceedings, offended basic principles of justice and fairness required of all parties in every international arbitration.128 Let us also revisit the Libananco arbitration for good measure. Reacting to alarming allegations of surveillance directed at the applicant, the ICSID Tribunal stated categorically that it had: no doubt for a moment that, like any other international tribunal, it must be regarded as endowed with the inherent powers required to preserve the integrity of its own process […]. The Tribunal would express the principle as being that parties have an obligation to arbitrate fairly and in good faith and that an arbitral tribunal has the inherent jurisdiction to ensure that this obligation is complied with; this principle applies in all arbitration, including investment arbitration, and to all parties, including States (even in the exercise of their sovereign powers).129 Procedural integrity130 would indeed make a fitting benchmark against which to test the admission of documentation obtained through unauthorized access to another State’s databases. Better yet, linking integrity of proceedings to admissibility of evidence is not without antecedent. Although treated as fundamentally distinct from inter-State adjudication (and rightly so), international criminal tribunals can sometimes serve as a source of inspiration for international dispute settlement procedures.131 The Rules of 128 Methanex Corporation v. United States of America, Final Award of 3 August 2005, NAFTA, 44 International Legal Materials (2005), 1345, paras. 54, 59. Taking its cue from the Methanex award, the Tribunal in EDF v. Romania declared inadmissible a secret audio recording, referring to “the principles of good faith and fair dealing required in international arbitration”. EDF (Services) Limited v. Romania, Procedural Order No. 3 of 29 August 2008, ICSID Case No. ARB/05/13, para. 38. 129 Libananco v. Turkey, supra note 80, para. 78 (emphasis added). 130 Sarvarian, supra note 11, 9-10 (defining procedural integrity as a set of fair trial principles that includes the submission of evidence). 131 See e.g. Seizure and Detention, supra note 49, Provisional Measures, Separate Opinion of Judge Cançado Trindade, para. 39 (referring to the Blaškić case (ICTY) in order to reject a party having just cause to withhold documents on “national security” grounds). Cyber Espionage in Inter-State Litigation 297 Procedure and Evidence of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals contains a provision to the effect that “[n]o evidence shall be admissible if obtained by methods which cast substantial doubt on its reliability or if its admission is antithetical to, and would seriously damage, the integrity of the proceedings”.132 An analogous clause in the inter-State context would allow international tribunals to move beyond an interminable debate on the legality of cyber espionage whilst mitigating its impact in the higher interests of the case unfolding before them. Concluding Remarks Guerrilla tactics in international litigation have been described as unconventional, unethical means which always derail proceedings but do not necessarily violate law or written rules of procedure in each and every instance.133 It is hardly a stretch to add cyber espionage to this unsavoury list. This chapter has argued that in certain cases ICT intelligence gathering conducted in relation to proceedings before an international tribunal is prohibited by several rules regulating international dispute settlement. This finding can be reached without having to tackle spying under general international law, thereby providing judges and arbitrators hearing disputes between States with a practical tool and incentive to take a principled stand. The picture is not altogether rosy. The case law and practice of inter- State litigation does not suggest total preparedness to deal with the ramifications of spying through digital means. The permissive attitude towards illicitly obtained evidence attests to that trend. Should such behaviour be countenanced or must a price be paid for having “polluted the proceedings”?134 A major theme that has emerged throughout the pages of this piece is that if we venture beyond the confines of State-to-State dispute settlement, we can find useful practice on how this matter could be handled. V. 132 Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, Rule 117, UN Doc. MICT/1/Rev. 2 (2016). See also Amerasinghe, supra note 93, 179-180. 133 R. Pfeiffer and S. Wilske, Introduction to Guerrilla Tactics in International Arbitration, in G. J. Horvath and S. Wilske (eds.), Guerrilla Tactics in International Arbitration (2013), 1, 3. 134 This phrase is borrowed from M/V “Louisa” (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines v. Spain), Judgment, Separate Opinion of Judge Cot, ITLOS Reports 2013, paras. 39, 79. Marco Benatar 298 The strategies pursued by their fellow adjudicators provide inter-State courts and tribunals with much needed food for thought as an era of cyber espionage might be dawning upon them. Cyber Espionage in Inter-State Litigation 299 La reconnaissance juridictionnelle des monnaies virtuelles Alain Zamaria* Introduction Le droit international monétaire est l’une des rares branches du droit international à échapper au phénomène de juridictionnalisation. Dans son cours sur « La Monnaie en Droit International Public » dispensé en 1929 à l’Académie de la Haye, le baron Boris Nolde mentionne dès le chapitre premier « la carence de la doctrine juridique sur la monnaie »1: « la monnaie n’est-elle pas un phénomène essentiellement économique, au sujet duquel le juriste, et à plus forte raison le juriste international, n’ont rien ou presque à dire ? Si le juriste traite la question, ce n’est que de façon accidentelle, on pourrait presque dire en passant, sans jamais en faire le centre de ses études ».2 Pourrait-on également dire du juge qu’il traite « en passant » la question monétaire ? De prime abord, une telle assertion est contestable. Les effets des décisions monétaires prises par une banque centrale, telles qu’une dépréciation monétaire, ne sont pas dénuées de conséquences juridiques et juridictionnelles, et ce, dans de nombreuses branches du droit.3 Les considérations monétaires ne sont pas non plus ignorées du juge, lequel peut anticiper les conséquences monétaires de ses décisions. Le simple fait, pour le juge français, de se référer à « l’évaluation des dégâts […] à la date où […] il pouvait être procédé aux travaux destinés à les réparer » signifie une prise en compte de l’inflation lorsque celle-ci dévalue la réparation de dommages matériels.4 Enfin, un contentieux judiciaire lié à la monnaie I. * Research Fellow à l’Institut Max Planck Luxembourg pour le droit procédural ; Doctorant à l’Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris I). 1 B. Nolde, La monnaie en droit international, 27 RCADI (1968), 247. 2 Ibid., 247. 3 Pour une illustration de certains effets de la dépréciation monétaire en droit administratif, en droit international, en droit pénal, en droit civil et droit du travail et en droit commercial et droit des assurances, voir M. Tancelin et J. R. Garon, Les Effets de la Dépréciation Monétaire Sur les Rapports Juridiques Contractuels, 12 Les Cahiers de droit (1971). 4 Voir Conseil d'Etat, Assemblée, 21 mars 1947, 77529, publié au recueil Lebon. 301 peut surgir lorsque celle-ci est l’objet de trafics ou de détournements, ou lorsqu’est créée et diffusée une fausse monnaie.5 Pour catégoriser les aspects monétaires qui intéressent le juriste, le baron Nolde différencie les « éléments de droit public » qui incluent « les problèmes […] de délimitation entre les souverainetés monétaires et de coordination de ces souverainetés »,6 ceux liés au « problème de la monnaie de paiement en droit civil », « questions [qui] ne viennent qu’en second ordre »,7 et « les règles pénales destinées à protéger le système monétaire » que l’auteur « laisse de côté ».8 Si l’on devait associer chacune de ces catégories à un juge, on pourrait grossièrement associer les éléments de droit civil et de droit pénal aux juridictions internes et les « éléments de droit public » aux juridictions internationales. L’année du cours de Boris Nolde, le principe de souveraineté monétaire a été solennellement rappelé par la Cour permanente de justice internationale dans les affaires des emprunts serbes et brésiliens : « C’est un principe généralement admis que tout État a le droit de déterminer lui-même ses monnaies ».9 Qualifié de « position classique des juristes de droit international »,10 ce principe a trouvé l’appui des économistes partisans de la théorie étatique de la monnaie, selon lesquels la monnaie est ce qui est créé et défini comme tel par l’État. Cet axiome juridique du monopole étatique de la monnaie peut se voir contredit aussi bien par l’histoire monétaire que par les développements monétaires contemporains. Alors que l’essentiel de la monnaie actuellement utilisée est conjointement créée par les États et des banques privées, on assiste, comme en écho au projet hayékien de « dénationalisation de la monnaie »,11 à un renouveau du « pluralisme » monétaire associé à un mouvement de désintermé- 5 J. M. Darnis, ‘Extrait Du Catalogue Des Fonds d’Archives de la Monnaie de Paris’, (2010), disponible à ef/Documents/Archives/Archives_monnaie_Paris/Fonds_ancien/serieO.pdf (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). 6 Nolde, supra note 1, 248. 7 Ibid., 248. 8 Ibid., 252. 9 CPIJ, Emprunts Serbes et Brésiliens, 12 juillet 1929, série A, n° 20/21. 10 G. Burdeau, L'exercice des compétences monétaires par les États, 212 RCADI (1991), 236. 11 F. A. Hayek, Denationalisation of Money: An Analysis of the Theory and Practice of Concurrent Currencies (1976). Alain Zamaria 302 diation.12 Cette désintermédiation est permise par le développement de monnaies qui ne sont pas émises par des banques centrales étatiques, fonctionnent hors du système bancaire, mais remplissent certaines des fonctions traditionnellement associées aux monnaies, soit celles d’instrument d’échange, d’unité de compte et de réserve de valeur. En retenant une acception extensive de la monnaie, la qualification de monnaie pourrait inclure les « monnaies alternatives » qui visent à renforcer l’économie locale et sont souvent tolérées par les administrations centrales, les programmes de fidélité tels que les Frequent-Flyer Miles attribués par des compagnies aériennes et objets d’une régulation spécifique, ainsi que les monnaies digitales utilisées pour les réseaux sociaux, les jeux vidéo ou les mondes virtuels et qui sont soumises, parfois inadéquatement, à des dispositions juridiques relevant de la propriété intellectuelle. Bien que différents par leur objet et leur origine, ces instruments ont en commun de poser des problèmes de qualification et de remplir une ou plusieurs fonctions monétaires, tout en échappant au système bancaire. Parmi celles-ci, les monnaies dites virtuelles font l’objet d’un intérêt croissant. Définies dans un rapport de la Banque Centrale Européenne de 2012 comme un type de monnaies numériques non régulées, émises et souvent contrôlées par ses développeurs, et utilisées et acceptées par une communauté virtuelle spécifique,13 les monnaies virtuelles doivent être distinguées des monnaies électroniques et des services de paiement en ligne, lesquels sont généralement réglementés14 et requièrent l’utilisation de devises officielles. La dernière-née et la plus célèbre des monnaies virtuelles est le bitcoin, cryptomonnaie apparue en 2009 et dont le fonctionnement est expliqué 12 Le sociologue Nigel Dodd voit dans la « diversification » et « l’homogénéisation » – laquelle se traduit par l’émergence d’instruments financiers globaux, la dollarisation et l’établissement d’unions monétaires – les deux grandes « tendances compensatoires » qui s’observent dans le monde de la monnaie depuis les années 1970, voir ‘Bitcoin, Utopianism and the Future of Money – King’s Review Magazine,’, 14 March 2015, disponible à Bitcoins-utopianism-and-the-future-of-money/ (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). 13 European Central Bank, Virtual Currency Schemes, (2012) disponible à http://ww (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). 14 Voir par ex. la directive 2007/64/CE du Parlement européen et du Conseil du 13 novembre 2007 concernant les services de paiement dans le marché intérieur, disponible à L0064&from=FR (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). La reconnaissance juridictionnelle des monnaies virtuelles 303 dans un livre blanc signé par Satoshi Nakamoto,15 pseudonyme de la personne (ou du groupe de personnes) à l’origine de ce système.16 Concrétisant l’ambition de désintermédiation de la monnaie, le Bitcoin désigne à la fois une technologie, une unité monétaire (btc) et le réseau de pair-à-pair (peer-to-peer) par lequel ces unités s’échangent. Qualifié de « monnaie d’Internet » comme d’« Internet de la monnaie »,17 le bitcoin n’a aucune valeur intrinsèque, mais fluctue selon l’offre et la demande (son cours était de 3600 dollars au 11 février 2019). L’originalité du Bitcoin est de ne pas être émis par une banque centrale mais par un réseau décentralisé d’ordinateurs qui vérifient les transactions effectuées. Ces transactions sont regroupées par « bloc » et enregistrées dans une sorte de grand registre sécurisé et accessible à tous les utilisateurs, la Blockchain. Pour la compréhension de certains des enjeux juridiques posés par le Bitcoin, un aperçu schématique de ces transactions est nécessaire. Les transactions sur le réseau Bitcoin fonctionnent selon la cryptographie asymétrique. Ainsi, chaque utilisateur du Bitcoin possèderait deux clés : une clé (ou adresse) publique et une clé privée, qui sont toutes deux des suites de caractères alphanumériques (1A1zP1eP5QGefi2DMPTfTL5SLmv 7DivfNa est l’adresse publique utilisée pour la première transaction sur le réseau Bitcoin). Une fois créée, l’adresse publique est définitivement intégrée dans la Blockchain et peut être communiquée par une personne souhaitant recevoir des bitcoins, à l’image d’une personne qui communique un relevé d’identité bancaire. La clé privée, quant à elle, doit être précieusement conservée puisqu’elle tient lieu de signature digitale indispensable à tout transfert. Par conséquent, la « propriété » de bitcoins dépend principalement de la possession de la clé privée, laquelle peut être soit stockée physiquement sur un disque dur, soit conservée sur un portefeuille numérique, ce qui suppose l’intervention d’une tierce partie. Le portefeuille numérique est ce qui permet de stocker, recevoir et envoyer des bitcoins. L’image d’un coffre-fort en verre transparent permet de visualiser le principe d’une transaction sur le réseau Bitcoin. À chaque adresse correspond l’un de ces coffres dont l’intérieur peut être observé par tous les passants. En effet, tout 15 “What is needed is an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party.” Cf. S. Nakamoto, Bitcoin: A Peer-to- Peer Electronic Cash System, (Bitcoin Project), disponible à coin.pdf (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). 16 Voir sur l’identité du créateur du Bitcoin disponible à toshi_Nakamoto (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). 17 A. Antonopoulos, The Internet of Money (2016). Alain Zamaria 304 utilisateur du réseau Bitcoin peut savoir combien de bitcoins sont détenus à une adresse publique donnée. Le seul moyen de dépenser la somme contenue dans l’un de ces coffres est de signer la transaction via la clé privée qui correspond à celle du coffre. Une transaction consiste à déplacer les bitcoins d’un portefeuille numérique à un autre par le biais d’un message électronique. Une fois la transaction confirmée par le réseau, celle-ci est définitivement gravée dans le marbre de la Blockchain et peut être observée par tous les utilisateurs. L’émission de bitcoins est déflationniste (le nombre de bitcoins en circulation n’excèdera jamais 21 millions et décroît progressivement) et se fait par un procédé appelé « minage », comme par analogie à l’extraction des mines d’or. Par ce procédé, les « mineurs » emploient leur matériel informatique pour résoudre des équations complexes permettant de valider et sécuriser les transactions effectuées. En guise de contrepartie, les mineurs perçoivent des bitcoins qui s’ajoutent au grand registre et constituent une sorte de frais sur les transactions confirmées (actuellement une somme de 12,5 bitcoins par « bloc » validé est attribuée aux mineurs). Les questions que pose ce nouveau type de monnaie dépassent largement le champ juridique et sont également d’ordre technologique (problème d’évolutivité ou scalability) et économique (problème de volatilité et de pérennité de la cryptomonnaie). Que ce système soit légal ou illégal, juridiquement encadré ou affranchi de toute contrainte règlementaire, le Bitcoin est né hors du droit et conçu pour fonctionner sans immixtion du juge ou du législateur. Dans un ouvrage publié en 1991 et intitulé Order without Law, Robert Ellickson montre de manière provocante, en partant d’une étude sociologique et anthropologique du comté de Shasta aux Etats-Unis, à quel point le droit peut n’avoir aucune incidence sur la vie des gens. D’après l’auteur, pour l’élevage du bétail comme pour obtenir le remboursement d’une dette ou la résolution d’un litige, ce sont bien souvent des normes sociales aussi diverses que « le ragot, le rituel et le culte du héros » qui tiennent lieu de procédure.18 C’est donc hors des prétoires que les litiges sont résolus, et souvent selon des règles différentes de celles du droit en vigueur. L’ordre sans le droit est précisément ce qui est souhaité par les thuriféraires des monnaies virtuelles, en particulier les « techno » ou « crypto-libertariens » désireux de voir la monnaie échapper à tout contrôle du juge ou du législateur. Un aperçu du fonctionnement de ces monnaies permet 18 R. C. Ellickson, Order Without Law: How Neighbors Settle Disputes (1994), 230. La reconnaissance juridictionnelle des monnaies virtuelles 305 de constater qu’elles sont, à des degrés divers, conçues pour ne pas être affectées par des dispositions juridiques. Sans considérer l’ordre monétaire d’un point de vue macroéconomique (lequel concernerait la stabilité des taux d’intérêt, des taux de change et des prix), on pourrait considérer pour la présente étude que la notion recouvre deux des questions juridiques que posait le baron Nolde sur la monnaie : celle de l’ordre face au « problème de la monnaie de paiement en droit civil », celle de l’ordre assuré par les « règles destinées à protéger le système monétaire ». Quant au problème de la « délimitation entre les souverainetés monétaires », celui-ci se pose différemment, ces monnaies apparaissant dissociées de la souveraineté. En d’autres termes, l’ordre en matière monétaire concerne, d’une part, l’atteinte des objectifs qui définissent une monnaie dont, au premier rang, la sécurité des transactions pour assurer la fonction d’échange et, d’autre part, l’absence de fraude au sens large, la monnaie ne devant pas être utilisée pour blanchir de l’argent, se soustraire à l’imposition fiscale ou financer des activités illicites. La reconnaissance juridictionnelle des monnaies virtuelles permet leur élévation au statut de monnaie, ce qui est symboliquement significatif et potentiellement bénéfique aux opérateurs économiques qui l’utilisent. Il existe toutefois un décalage entre la force symbolique de l’État qui reconnaîtrait, par la voie juridictionnelle, une entorse au principe de souveraineté monétaire et la dimension pratique de cette reconnaissance. En effet, si une telle reconnaissance semble avoir l’effet d’une onction du juge (I), elle vise communément la subordination de ces monnaies à des dispositions juridiques liées à la fiscalité et à la sécurité financière (II). Cette finalité (soumettre les monnaies virtuelles à l’ordre juridique) peut apparaître en décalage avec le laissez-faire qui sous-tend l’idéologie des défenseurs de ces monnaies destinées à fonctionner hors du droit. Bien que principalement consacrée aux décisions américaines portant sur le Bitcoin, la présente étude n’a pas pour objet de refléter l’état du droit sur telle ou telle monnaie virtuelle dans une juridiction donnée. Un tel examen aurait un intérêt limité par la « durée de vie » de la jurisprudence récente. L’étude visera plutôt à livrer un regard critique sur la qualification juridictionnelle des monnaies virtuelles, sur l’impact de telles qualifications sur leur utilisation et, plus largement, sur la manière dont les tribunaux peuvent appréhender des technologies nouvelles dont le fonctionnement suppose, paradoxalement, leur non-ingérence. Quant au choix de privilégier les décisions américaines, celui-ci s’explique par des raisons d’opportunité : notamment en raison du fédéralisme et de la tradition américaine de défiance à l’égard de l’autorité centrale, les monnaies privées ont prévalu avant la ratification de la Constitution et Alain Zamaria 306 sont restées très répandues jusqu’au début XXe siècle, avant de réapparaître il y a trois décennies19 et d’éveiller un regain d’intérêt avec l’émergence des monnaies virtuelles au tournant du siècle. L’onction du juge : une reconnaissance nécessaire Le traitement des monnaies privées par les juridictions des Etats-Unis illustre l’importance du rôle du juge quant à leur pérennité. En effet, leur continuité semble assurée lorsqu’un juge les reconnaît. À l’inverse, un juge peut interdire leur circulation ou les supprimer, comme ce fut le cas pour plusieurs monnaies privées interdites sous l’impulsion du Département de la justice des Etats-Unis,20 non sans un certain retentissement dans un État où la liberté économique et la non-ingérence de l’État fédéral dans l’économie sont sacralisées (A). À rebours de ces exemples, le Bitcoin s’est vu reconnaître le statut de monnaie par divers juges, ce qui a été accueilli par certains partisans de la cryptomonnaie comme leur consécration (B). L’interdiction de monnaies privées centralisées L’étude de la jurisprudence américaine relative aux monnaies virtuelles nécessite préalablement de considérer le cadre juridique des monnaies privées aux Etats-Unis, la monnaie étant l’objet de dispositions constitutionnelles et de lois fédérales et étatiques. La légalité contestée des monnaies privées en droit américain Pour des raisons historiques et politiques, la légalité des monnaies privées est un sujet sensible aux Etats-Unis, où l’histoire monétaire montre que c’est par le biais de la création et du contrôle monétaires que les pouvoirs du gouvernement fédéral se sont renforcés et que la centralisation s’est réa- II. A. 1. 19 L. D. Solomon, Local Currency: A Legal and Policy Analysis, 59 The Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy (1996), 81. 20 Le Département de la justice constitue un « département exécutif des États-Unis au siège du gouvernement » (U.S. Code Title 28 § 501 – Executive department- Code des Etats-Unis), dirigé par le procureur général des Etats-Unis (United States Attorney General). La reconnaissance juridictionnelle des monnaies virtuelles 307 lisée dès la fin du XIXe siècle.21 C’est pour parachever celle-ci que la Constitution a confié au Congrès le pouvoir d’émettre une monnaie pour la nation et d’en réglementer la valeur,22 tandis qu’elle interdit aux Etats de donner cours légal à autre chose que de l’or ou de l’argent.23 Toutefois, hormis quelques références au dollar, la monnaie n’est définie nulle part dans la Constitution. En outre, dans le silence de la Constitution, rien ne semble interdire à des personnes privées d’émettre des monnaies métalliques ou de la « monnaie-papier »24.25 Bien que le dollar ne soit pas expressément qualifié de monnaie des Etats-Unis, des lois fédérales interdisent la frappe de monnaie à titre privé. Ainsi, une loi votée par le Congrès en 1862 et amendée à quatre reprises, le Stamp Payments Act, conserve depuis cette date une disposition prohibant l’émission de billets, chèques, bordereaux ou jetons qui auraient vocation à circuler comme une monnaie : Whoever makes, issues, circulates, or pays out any note, check, memorandum, token, or other obligation for a less sum than $1, intended to circulate as money or to be received or used in lieu of lawful money of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.26 En même temps que ce texte prohibe l’émission de monnaies privées dont la valeur dépasse 1 dollar, le U.S. Code interdit l’émission de pièces de métal sur le fondement de dispositions relatives à la contrefaçon : Whoever, except as authorized by law, makes or utters or passes, or attempts to utter or pass, any coins of gold or silver or other metal, or alloys of metals intended for use as current money, whether in the resemblance of coins of the United States or of foreign countries, or of original design, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.27 21 Solomon, supra note 19, 60. 22 Article 1, Section 8, Clause 5 of the US Constitution: Congress shall have Power [...] To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof. 23 Article 1, Section 10, Clause 1: No State shall [...] make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts. 24 L’expression « monnaie-papier » qualifie les billets de banque qui étaient convertibles en or ou en argent. 25 Solomon, supra note 19, 81. 26 U.S. Code Title 18 § 336 – Issuance of circulating obligations of less than $1. 27 U.S. Code Title 18 § 486 – Uttering coins of gold, silver or other metals. Alain Zamaria 308 Une autre disposition interdit la contrefaçon de jetons ou de monnaie-papier.28 Ces textes ont servi de fondement à l’inculpation de Bernard von NotHaus, un entrepreneur qui a créé et distribué dès 1998 la monnaie Liberty Dollar par le biais de l’association « National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve and Internal Revenue Code » (NORFED devenue en 2009 « Liberty Services »). Il s’agissait d’une monnaie physique dont les pièces affichaient une valeur faciale d’un certain montant de l’unité créée et dont la valeur était indexée sur une quantité donnée de certains métaux. Un communiqué issu du bureau du Procureur des Etats-Unis et intitulé « Defendant Convicted of Minting His Own Currency »29 avança que l’intention de l’association NORFED était de faire croire que les Liberty Dollars se confondaient avec la monnaie des Etats-Unis (« NORFED’s purpose was to mix Liberty Dollars into the current money of the United States »), ce qui pouvait constituer un crime fédéral d’après le Department of Justice (DOJ) des Etats-Unis. Or le communiqué semble lui-même opérer une confusion entre le droit d’émettre une monnaie privée—d’où la mention des dispositions de la Constitution relatives à l’émission de monnaie—et les dispositions relatives à la contrefaçon, bien que celles-ci semblaient inapplicables en l’espèce (« Liberty Dollars cannot be considered to be ‘calculated to deceive an honest, sensible and unsuspecting person of ordinary observation and care dealing with a person supposed to be honnest and upright’ »30). Les propos du Procureur des Etats-Unis Tompkins lors de l’annonce du verdict (« a unique form of domestic terrorism », « anti-government activities ») et sa détermination à démanteler les organisations qui émettent ce type de monnaies (« We are determined to meet these threats through infiltration, disruption, and dismantling of organizations which seek to challenge the legitimacy of our democratic form of govern- 28 U.S. Code Title 18 § 491 – Tokens or paper used as money. 29 Communiqué de presse du 18 mars 2011, « Defendant Convicted of Minting His Own Currency », Federal Bureau of Investigation, Charlotte Division, disponible à d-of-minting-his-own-currency (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). 30 United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, USA v. Bernard von NotHaus, Defendant’s supplemental memorandum in support of motions for judgment of acquittal or new trial pursuant to 29 and 33 of the Federal rules of criminal procedure, 25 March 2013, disponible à /files/VonNotHausRetrialMotion-03-25-2013.pdf (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). La reconnaissance juridictionnelle des monnaies virtuelles 309 ment »)31 confirment que la question de la légalité des monnaies privées demeure ouverte en l’état du droit. Enfin, on note que des dispositions propres aux Etats fédérés coexistent avec la réglementation fédérale.32 Lewis Solomon, auteur d’une étude sur les monnaies locales, jugeait en 1996 que les trois grandes catégories de monnaies privées qu’il considérait à l’époque—« le troc, les mécanismes de réduction associés au dollar américain, et les monnaies communautaires détachées du dollar américain »—pouvaient être légalement émises en vertu du droit fédéral et du droit des Etats, à l’exception de celui de la Virginie et de l’Arkansas.33 Cette description sommaire de l’arrière-plan juridique permet de comprendre la situation du juge, confronté à un maquis de lois fédérales et étatiques et de réglementations dont il est difficile d’extraire un encadrement juridique compréhensible et stable. Ce contexte est propice à un renforcement du rôle du juge, lequel est d’autant plus important que la reconnaissance de la légalité des monnaies privées est souvent un préalable au développement de leur utilisation et que l’incertitude juridique a pour effet d’inhiber leur croissance économique et de nuire à leur pérennité.34 Bien loin d’être indifférent au sort de ces monnaies qui lui échappent, l’État fédéral est intervenu chaque fois qu’une monnaie lui est apparu constituer une menace pour l’ordre public, recourant à leur interdiction le cas échéant. Ainsi, pour faire face aux risques de blanchiment d’argent, de financement du terrorisme, d’achats de biens et de services illégaux, de fraude et d’évasion fiscales, des poursuites judiciaires ont été entreprises par le DOJ et ont abouti à l’interdiction de plusieurs monnaies privées, confirmant que le juge peut avoir un pouvoir de vie et de mort sur cellesci. L’ascension et la chute de Liberty Reserve Parmi les opposants au monopole étatique de la monnaie, certains défendent la concurrence monétaire comme voie d’entrée sur un marché per- 2. 31 Communiqué de presse du 18 mars 2011, supra note 29. 32 Voir par ex Florida v. Espinoza, No F14- 2923, 22nd July 2016, United States, Florida. 33 Solomon, supra note 19, 60. 34 J. J. Doguet, The Nature of the Form: Legal and Regulatory Issues Surrounding the Bitcoin Digital Currency System, 73 Louisiana Law Review (2013), disponible à (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). Alain Zamaria 310 mettant à des monnaies de circuler parallèlement au dollar.35 Au-delà du cercle des partisans de la concurrence monétaire, des spéculateurs, des fraudeurs et des joueurs ont adopté différents types de monnaies virtuelles centralisées qui se sont développées avant l’émergence du Bitcoin. Aussi distingue-t-on parmi ces monnaies centralisées celles utilisées dans des jeux vidéo, notamment Second Life et World of Warcraft, ainsi que des services de paiement en ligne qui consistent à déposer des fonds convertibles à tout moment en or physique (e-gold) ou échangeables contre des monnaies dont la valeur est indexée sur celle de l’once d’or ou de devises officielles (Liberty Reserve).36 Si les monnaies des jeux virtuels ont acquis une importance notable en raison de leur usage,37 ces deux modèles de systèmes de paiement en ligne ont été supprimés par le DOJ, suscitant à chaque fois une controverse politique et juridique. L’e-devise « e-Gold » a été créée par Arthur Budovsky et Vladimir Kats en 1996. Ce service de paiement en ligne consistait à échanger des unités de monnaie numérique présentées comme étant convertibles en métaux précieux, la seule condition pour souscrire à ce service étant de fournir une adresse mail valide (sans obligation de révéler son identité). Des tiers étaient chargés d’échanger des dollars contre la devise numérique pour procéder aux transactions sur les comptes des utilisateurs. Plus de deux millions de comptes ont été ouverts et les transactions auraient atteint un pic de 6 millions de dollars par jour.38 Dans le même temps, l’anonymat que permet ce procédé a donné lieu à toute sorte d’activités illicites (blanchiment d’argent, escroquerie, vente de contenus pédopornographiques) qui ont conduit à l’intervention du DOJ39 et à la condamnation des principaux dirigeants à cinq années d’emprisonnement par la suite converties en périodes de probation. 35 L. H. White, “The Troubling Suppression of Competition from Alternative Monies: The Cases of the Liberty Dollar and E-Gold,”, 2 Cato Journal 34 (2014), disponible à 4/5/cato-journal-v 34n2-5.pdf (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). 36 Ibid., 283. 37 L’économie du seul jeu Second Life aurait représenté la somme de 500 millions de dollars en 2015, disponible à onomy.asp (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). 38 White, supra note 35, 86. 39 Communiqué de presse du 27 avril 2007, Department of Justice, Digital Currency Business E-Gold Indicted for Money Laundering and Illegal Money Transmitting, disponible à (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). La reconnaissance juridictionnelle des monnaies virtuelles 311 Pour retenter l’expérience en échappant à la qualification de société de transfert de fonds—soit à celle de « money transmitter » dont les conditions ont changé depuis l’entrée en vigueur du Patriot Act en 2001—et à de nouvelles poursuites du DOJ, Arthur Budovsky décida de fuir les Etats-Unis au cours de sa période de probation afin de lancer un système de paiement similaire au Costa-Rica, Liberty Reserve. Qualifié de banque du milieu criminel, le système Liberty Reserve permettait la conversion des fonds déposés en « Liberty Reserve Dollars » ou « Liberty Reserve Euros » dont la valeur était indexée sur celle du dollar, de l’euro ou de l’once d’or. Il renforçait par ailleurs l’anonymat des utilisateurs grâce à des intermédiaires réalisant des échanges « en vrac ». Ce système d’échange devait se pérenniser par le prélèvement d’un pourcentage sur chaque transaction. Toutefois, la tentative d’échapper à l’application des lois américaines s’est heurtée à la détermination du DOJ à poursuivre les entreprises de blanchiment d’argent basées à l’étranger, grâce à leur coopération avec divers services secrets étrangers.40 Ainsi, dans un communiqué du 28 mai 2013, le DOJ a énuméré les raisons pour lesquelles Liberty Reserve a été condamné : Liberty Reserve is alleged to have had more than one million users worldwide, including more than 200,000 users in the U.S., who conducted approximately 55 million transactions–virtually all of which were illegal–and laundered more than $6 billion in suspected proceeds of crimes including credit card fraud, identity theft, investment fraud, computer hacking, child pornography and narcotics trafficking.41 En raison des infractions commises à cause de l’anonymat inhérent à cette monnaie privée, les fondateurs ont été poursuivis et condamnés par le DOJ et la société Liberty Reserve a été liquidée. Si ces deux services—comme d’autres monnaies virtuelles centralisées plus marginales—ont été interdits, on peut douter qu’ils eurent été viables à long terme. L’anonymat garanti par ces monnaies et les défaillances liées 40 “Liberty Reserve court case marks the dawn of a new era”, Brave New Coin, 8 May 2016, disponible à s-the-dawn-of-a-new-era/ (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). 41 Communiqué de presse du 28 mai 2013, Department of Justice, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Charges Against Liberty Reserve, One Of World’s Largest Digital Currency Companies, And Seven Of Its Principals And Employees For Allegedly Running A $6 Billion Money Laundering Scheme, disponible à gainst-liberty-reserve-one-world-s-largest (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). Alain Zamaria 312 à l’identification des utilisateurs faisaient qu’il ne pouvait y avoir un système de règlement des différends opérant, par exemple en cas de fraude commise lors d’une transaction. Les caractéristiques novatrices du Bitcoin renouvellent les questions juridiques : le Bitcoin étant par essence virtuel et fonctionnant de manière décentralisée, l’application du droit est rendue plus délicate et la liquidation de ce système de paiement par le DOJ, hautement improbable. La reconnaissance d’une monnaie virtuelle décentralisée De nombreuses juridictions nationales ont déjà rendu des décisions dans lesquelles le Bitcoin est mentionné à titre incident, notamment des poursuites pénales liées à des transactions illicites et des litiges impliquant des sociétés qui emploient des bitcoins. De plus rares décisions portent sur la nature du bitcoin et qualifient celui-ci de monnaie, fournissant ainsi de précieux éléments pour leur appréhension juridique. US Security and Exchange Commission v. Trendon Shavers La décision Security and Exchange Commission v. Trendon Shavers42 constitue le premier précédent par lequel une juridiction américaine reconnaît explicitement le Bitcoin comme une monnaie. L’affaire illustre un classique schéma de Ponzi : Trendon Shavers, fondateur et dirigeant de BST, une société investissant dans les bitcoins, promettait un taux d’intérêt d’au moins 7% à ses actionnaires grâce à ses prétendues pratiques d’arbitrage de bitcoins. Or c’était dans son propre porte-monnaie numérique qu’il incluait les bitcoins reçus des investisseurs, constituant ainsi un « fonds de réserve » qui lui permettait de régler les demandes de retraits des investisseurs quand il n’en tirait pas un retour suffisant. Ce faisant, Shavers a commis une fraude portant sur une somme de plus de 60 millions de dollars. Contestant que les investissements en bitcoins s’assimilent à des titres financiers, tels que définis par le Securities Act de 1933 et l’Exchange Act de 1934, le défendeur voulait se prévaloir de l’absence de régulation du Bitcoin pour échapper à ces dispositions. Par une décision du 18 septembre 2014, le juge de la Cour du District du Texas Amos Mazzant a rejeté son argumentation B. 1. 42 Securities and Exchange Commission v. Trendon T. Shavers and Bitcoin Savings and Trust, Civil Action No. 4:13-CV-416 (2014). La reconnaissance juridictionnelle des monnaies virtuelles 313 et qualifié les opérations de « vente de titres ». Trendon Shavers fut condamné à restituer l’équivalent de 40 millions de dollars et à régler 150 000 dollars au titre des sanctions civiles (civil penalties). En juillet 2016, il fut ensuite condamné à 18 mois de prison après avoir plaidé coupable. On ne peut déduire de la décision que les bitcoins sont des titres financiers. En effet, la question posée à la Cour était de savoir si les investissements de la société BST constituaient de tels titres ; elle ne portait donc pas directement sur le Bitcoin, support de ces investissements. La Cour a précisé que les investissements de la société correspondaient à la définition des contrats d’investissement et que ces types de transactions basées sur des monnaies virtuelles étaient assimilables à des titres. Cette interprétation se justifiait au regard des conditions d’existence d’un contrat d’investissement, telles que définies dans les arrêts Howey43 et Long v. Shultz Cattle Co.44 Dès lors que la société BST a usé de « contrats, transactions » ou d’un « mécanisme impliquant (1) un investissement dans une monnaie, (2) une entreprise commune, (3) avec des profits provenant des efforts d’une tierce partie »45 les conditions du test étaient remplies pour qualifier l’opération de contrat d’investissement. Le Bitcoin peut donc être l’objet d’un contrat d’investissement au même titre qu’une monnaie et son commerce peut constituer une « entreprise commune ». Le jugement est également instructif en ce qu’il permet d’évaluer le calcul des dommages causés, le juge devant tenir compte du prix moyen du bitcoin au jour où la fraude a été découverte. Dans d’autres affaires liées à une utilisation du Bitcoin à des fins illicites, des juridictions américaines sont allées plus loin dans l’analyse de la monnaie virtuelle. L’affaire Silk Road Lancé en 2011, le site Silk Road était un marché en ligne accessible sur le Darkweb et permettant la réalisation de transactions illicites en tout anonymat et en ayant exclusivement recours aux bitcoins. Qualifié de « plus sophistiqué et complet des marchés criminels sur Internet »,46 le site fut fer- 2. 43 SEC v. W.J. Howey & Co., 328 U.S. 293 (1946). 44 Long v. Shultz Cattle Co, 881 F.2d 129 (1989). 45 Traduction libre, Securities and Exchange Commission v. Trendon T. Shavers and Bitcoin Savings and Trust, Civil Action No. Civil Action No. 4:13-CV-416. 46 Communiqué de presse du 16 janvier 2014, Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Forfeiture Of $28 Million Worth Of Bitcoins Belonging To Silk Road, disponible Alain Zamaria 314 mé en 2013 par le Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) à la suite de ce qui constitue à ce jour la plus importante saisie dans une poursuite pénale liée à l’utilisation de bitcoins. L’affaire Silk Road a donné lieu à deux procès devant la Cour fédérale de Manhattan : la poursuite de Ross William Ulbricht47 d’une part, celle de Charlie Shrem et de Robert Faiella48 d’autre part. Déjà poursuivi au civil pour la confiscation civile des actifs issus de Silk Road, Ulbricht fut également poursuivi au pénal en tant que créateur, utilisateur et propriétaire du site Silk Road. Il fut inculpé pour 7 chefs d’accusation, dont ceux de conspiration de blanchiment d’argent et de conspiration de trafic de stupéfiants. La saisie des clés privées réquisitionnées a porté sur la somme de 173 991 bitcoins (soit l’équivalent de plus de 33 millions de dollars à l’époque). Poursuivis pour des faits similaires à ceux reprochés à Ulricht, Shrem et Faiella ont été condamnés pour blanchiment d’argent et exercice illégal d’une activité de transfert d’argent (« unlicensed money transmitting business »). Le premier citait pour sa défense une disposition de l’Internal Revenue Service (IRS), l’autorité fiscale américaine selon laquelle le Bitcoin devait être traité comme un bien aux fins de considération fiscale (« a property for tax purposes »).49 Les seconds avançaient que le Bitcoin n’était pas une monnaie pour échapper à l’inculpation pour activité de transfert de d’argent non-autorisée. Considérant dans le cadre de l’affaire Faiella qu’il était bien possible de blanchir de l’argent en recourant au Bitcoin et que celui-ci pouvait être un instrument monétaire, le juge Jed Rakoff en fit une brève description : [Bitcoin] is digital and has no earthly form; it cannot be put on a shelf and looked at or collected in a nice display case. Its form is digital— bits and bytes that together constitute something of value.50 à re-28-million-worth-Bitcoins-belonging-silk (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). 47 United States v. Ulbricht, 31 F.Supp.3d 540 (SDNY 2014), disponible à https://case (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). 48 United States v. Faiella, 39 F.Supp.3d 544 (SDNY 2014), disponible à https://casete (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). 49 I.R.S Notice 2014-21, disponible à (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). 50 Notons qu’un juge de la Cour suprême des Etats-Unis, Stephen Breyer, a été plus loin dans la reconnaissance du Bitcoin comme potentielle monnaie en suggérant dans une opinion dissidente rendue le 21 juin 2018 dans l‘affaire Wisconsin Central Ltd. v. United States que le concept de monnaie pouvait évoluer (« what we view as La reconnaissance juridictionnelle des monnaies virtuelles 315 Certes, les bitcoins sont une monnaie numérique dont la possession dépend de celle d’une clé privée qui se présente sous la forme d’une suite de lettres et de chiffres. Toutefois, on pourrait nuancer ces propos en précisant que la possession d’une clé privée peut être matérialisée. Il suffit en effet d’imprimer ou de noter une clé privée sur une feuille, voire de stocker un portefeuille numérique sur un disque dur, pour que le Bitcoin ait une dimension physique. D’après un auteur, le fait que le FBI ait pu saisir (« seize ») des bitcoins signifie que le bitcoin n’est pas un bien meuble incorporel et devrait plutôt être qualifié de tangible,51 ce qu’on pourrait traduire par « bien meuble corporel » en droit des biens. La justification n’est pas totalement convaincante puisqu’une saisie peut porter sur des biens meubles incorporels.52 Cependant, une telle qualification aurait le mérite de simplifier les problèmes de qualification du bitcoin, au moins pour les enjeux de procédure civile. Ainsi, la question de la localisation de bitcoins pourrait trouver une réponse, ceux-ci pouvant être considérés comme étant dans la juridiction dans laquelle se trouve le détenteur—ou la matérialisation—de leur clé privée. Bien que cette approche conduise inéluctablement à des difficultés pratiques, elle semble juridiquement concevable : le droit de propriété exige souvent une attitude du possesseur qui doit, par exemple, veiller à la conservation de son bien ou à sa non-divulgation s’il s’agit d’un droit de propriété intellectuelle. Toutefois, l’utilisation polymorphe du Bitcoin fait qu’une qualification uniforme de celui-ci n’est ni réaliste, ni souhaitable. Aussi est-ce par opportunité que le juge reconnaît la qualité de monnaie au Bitcoin lorsqu’il juge nécessaire de soumettre son utilisation au droit. money has changed over time ») et inclure les cryptomonnaies dans son champ (« perhaps one day employees will be paid in Bitcoin or some other type of cryptocurrency »). 51 M. Raskin, “Realm of the Coin: Bitcoin and Civil Procedure”, 20 Fordham Journal of Corporate and Financial Law No.4 disponible à 309 (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). 52 Pour des exemples de saisies de biens meubles incorporels en droit français, cf. e-juriste-1 (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). Alain Zamaria 316 L’emprise du juge : une reconnaissance opportune Trois paliers peuvent décrire la latitude de l’État par rapport aux monnaies privées : l’interdiction, l’encadrement et la tolérance. Si certaines monnaies ont été purement et simplement interdites par le DOJ, les tribunaux les reconnaissent plus souvent pour les soumettre au droit, pour des raisons généralement liées à la fiscalité (A) et à la sécurité financière (B). Les enjeux de fiscalité : Skatteverket v. Hedqvist Le 22 octobre 2015, la Cour de justice de l’Union Européenne a rendu dans l’affaire Skatteverket v. Hedqvist53 la première décision d’une juridiction supranationale sur une cryptomonnaie. Aussi importante pour les fournisseurs de services qui ont recours aux monnaies virtuelles que pour la qualification du Bitcoin, il est révélateur que cette décision porte sur la taxation des bitcoins et la directive sur la Taxe sur la Valeur Ajoutée54 (TVA). L’engouement que suscitent les questions de fiscalité témoigne en effet de l’intérêt immédiat que représente pour les États la taxation des transactions en bitcoins. La directive TVA a pour objet d’établir un système commun de taxe sur la valeur ajoutée. En vertu de cette directive, « les livraisons de biens [et] les prestations de services effectuées à titre onéreux sur le territoire d’un État membre par un assujetti agissant en tant que tel […] sont soumises à TVA. »55 Parmi les opérations exclues de son champ d’application, on trouve celles portant sur « les devises, les billets de banque et les monnaies qui sont des moyens de paiement légaux ». L’affaire Skatteverket renseigne sur la nature des monnaies virtuelles en posant la question de l’applicabilité de cette disposition aux opérations portant sur les bitcoins. En l’espèce, un citoyen suédois souhaitait fournir, par l’intermédiaire d’une société, des services d’échange de devises traditionnelles contre des bitcoins, et vice-versa. Pour ce faire, il avait demandé à la commission suédoise de droit fiscal si la TVA devait être acquittée lors de l’achat et de la vente de Bitcoins. Assimilant le Bitcoin à « un moyen de paiement utilisé III. A. 53 Hedqvist, cas C-264/14, arrêt du 22 octobre 2015, ECLI:EU:C:2015:718. 54 Directive 2006/112/CE du Conseil, du 28 novembre 2006, relative au système commun de taxe sur la valeur ajoutée (JO L347, p.1). 55 Ibid., art. 2. Voir aussi Communiqué de presse no 128/15, affaire C-264/14, Skatteverket/ David Hedqvist, Cour de justice de l’Union européenne, Luxembourg. La reconnaissance juridictionnelle des monnaies virtuelles 317 de manière analogue aux moyens de paiement légaux », la commission avait jugé que les opérations devaient être exonérées de la TVA.56 L’autorité fiscale suédoise en charge de la collecte des impôts nationaux, la Skatteverket, contesta l’interprétation de la commission devant la Cour administrative suprême, le Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen. Cette juridiction décida de surseoir à statuer et de poser à la CJUE la question de savoir si les opérations d’échange de devises virtuelles contre des devises traditionnelles et vice-versa constituaient des prestations de services effectuées à titre onéreux en vertu de l’article 2 (1) de la directive TVA et, dans l’affirmative, si ces opérations étaient exonérées de cette taxe. La Cour a répondu par l’affirmative aux deux questions. Concernant la première, le fait que ces opérations avaient consisté à échanger différents moyens de paiement et qu’il existait un lien entre le service rendu et la contre-valeur reçue, soit une marge entre le prix d’achat des devises et le prix de revente, permet de déduire qu’il s’agissait bien de « prestations de services effectuées à titre onéreux » telles qu’énoncées dans la directive. Concernant la seconde, la Cour a jugé que ces opérations portaient sur une monnaie, qu’il en découle qu’elles entraient dans le champ de l’exemption prévue à l’article 135 (1) de la directive pour « les devises, les billets de banque et les monnaies qui sont des moyens de paiement légaux » et qu’elles devaient donc être exonérées de TVA. Par cette décision, la Cour a ouvert la voie à une appréhension juridique des monnaies virtuelles en tenant compte de leur spécificité. Pour mettre en avant le vide réglementaire autour du Bitcoin,57 la juridiction de renvoi reprenait les analyses d’un rapport de la Banque centrale européenne (BCE) de 2012 sur les monnaies virtuelles : The instability of virtual currency schemes can be explained by one of the most critical aspects mentioned earlier, i.e. the lack of a proper legal basis for virtual currency schemes.58 Dans son rapport, la BCE justifiait par la manière dont ces monnaies virtuelles sont émises le rejet de la qualification de monnaie électronique et de l’applicabilité des directives 2009/110/EC et 2007/64/CE relatives respectivement aux monnaies électroniques et aux services de paiement.59 Au-delà de ses conséquences fiscales, cette décision est donc intéressante pour 56 Hedqvist, supra note 52, point 17. 57 Ibid., à point 12. 58 Virtual Currency Schemes, supra note 13, 42. 59 Ibid., 16, 17. Alain Zamaria 318 l’analyse qui est faite du Bitcoin et pour son éclairage sur le système européen d’imposition indirecte. L’une des caractéristiques du système européen de TVA est d'éviter que le simple fait de payer une somme d’argent ne constitue un fait générateur d’imposition. Sauf à imaginer que l’on consomme une monnaie de même que certains moyens de paiement consommables comme l’or ou les cigarettes,60 aucune valeur ajoutée n’est créée lors d’un échange d’argent, ce qui justifie l’absence d’imposition à la TVA.61 Ce principe fut énoncé dans les arrêts Mirror Group62 et Fitzgerald,63 puis par l’arrêt BUPA Hospitals,64 dans lequel la CJUE a affirmé que « ce sont les livraisons de biens et les prestations de services qui sont soumises à la TVA et non les paiements effectués en contrepartie de celles-ci. » Dans l’affaire First National Bank of Chicago,65 la Cour avait déjà admis que des transactions monétaires par lesquelles une banque échange une devise nationale contre des devises étrangères sont exonérées de TVA, tout en considérant que la différence entre l’offre et la demande, le spread, constitue un enrichissement du banquier pour les transactions effectuées. Dans cette espèce, le gouvernement du Royaume-Uni jugeait que, « faute de contrepartie, une opération de change exécutée sans prélever de commission ou de frais bancaires ne constitu[ait] pas une livraison de biens ou une prestation de services au sens de la sixième directive, mais n'[était] qu'un simple échange de moyens de paiement. »66 L’argument selon lequel il s’agissait d’un « simple échange de moyens de paiement » qui à ce titre ne devait pas être soumis à la TVA avait été implicitement67 suivi par la Cour. Dans ses conclusions pour l’affaire Hedqvist, l’avocat général Juliane Kokott s’est explicitement référé à l’arrêt First National Bank of Chicago et a jugé que les opérations de change en question étaient bien « des prestations de services à titre onéreux au sens de l'article 2, point 1, de la directive ».68 La Cour exempterait donc de TVA toute activité visant 60 Hedqvist, supra note 52, conclusions de l’avocat général J. Kokott, point 14. 61 R. Wolf, Virtual Currencies, M-Payments and VAT: Ready for the Future?, in G. Gimigliano (ed.), Bitcoin and Mobile Payments, Constructing a European Union Framework (2016), 236. 62 Mirror Group, cas C-409/98, arrêt du 9 octobre 2001, ECLI:EU:C:2001:524. 63 Cantor-Fitzgerald, cas C-108/99, arrêt du 9 octobre 2001, ECLI:EU:C:2001:526. 64 BUPA Hospitals and Goldsborough Developments, cas C-419/02, arrêt du 21 février 2006, ECLI:EU:C:2006:122. 65 First National Bank of Chicago, cas C-172/96, arrêt du 14 juillet 1998, ECLI:EU:C:1998:354. 66 Ibid., à point 24. 67 Wolf, supra note 60, 237. 68 Hedqvist, supra note 52, conclusions de l’avocat général J. Kokott, point 18. La reconnaissance juridictionnelle des monnaies virtuelles 319 un échange de moyens de paiement qui n’aurait d’autre finalité que celuici, y compris dans le cas d’un commerce visant à échanger des « devises traditionnelles » contre des « devises virtuelles ». A priori, l’argument semble convaincant. En effet, pourquoi le Bitcoin devrait-il être traité différemment d’une autre devise69 dès lors qu’il peut tout autant servir de moyen de paiement ? N’y voyant aucune objection, l’avocat général assimile les bitcoins aux « purs moyens de paiement, légaux ou autres, tels que les bons d’échange d’une valeur nominale, ou l’acquisition de « points » utilisables ensuite dans des hôtels ou des résidences, » lesquels sont tous traités par la Cour « de la même manière, dans la mesure où elle ne voit pas non plus dans le transfert de [ces] moyens de paiement […] des opérations imposables. »70 Ces « purs » moyens de paiement « autres » que légaux correspondent en partie à ce que l’on a qualifié de monnaies privées. Ces dernières étant déjà en train de proliférer grâce au progrès technologique, on peut penser que la Cour de Justice traitera indistinctement les opérations de change entre les « purs moyens de paiement », que ceux-ci soient légaux ou non, en leur faisant tous bénéficier de l’exemption prévue dans la directive TVA. Toutefois, il est réducteur de définir le Bitcoin comme un « pur » moyen de paiement, comme l’a fait l’avocat général par ces propos : « [s]elon les constatations de la juridiction de renvoi, les bitcoins constituent également un pur moyen de paiement. Leur possession n’a pas d’autre finalité que de les réutiliser comme moyen de paiement à un moment quelconque. »71 S’il est vrai que le Bitcoin sert de moyen de paiement, il remplit d’autres fonctions classiquement attribuées à une monnaie, en particulier celle de réserve de valeur—certes encore volatile72—et, à un moindre degré, celle d’unité de compte.73 De plus, comme cela a été vu, le Bitcoin est à la fois une monnaie, un réseau d’échange de pair-à-pair et une technologie. Bitcoin, the technology, is finding an increasing quantity of applications beyond its prototypical use case. Many of these applications in- 69 À ce propos, la Cour qualifie le Bitcoin de « devise virtuelle à flux bidirectionnel ». 70 Hedqvist, supra note 52, conclusions de l’avocat général J. Kokott, point 16. 71 Ibid., point 17. 72 W. J. Luther, ‘Decline in the Volatility of Bitcoin’, Sound Money Project, 25 May 2016, disponible à -of-Bitcoin/ (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). 73 Si la dimension d’unité de compte peut sembler négligeable, on peut toutefois noter que le Bitcoin sert régulièrement d’étalon pour les transactions en cryptomonnaies. Alain Zamaria 320 volve the inscription and communication of blockchain messages, which is all a “Bitcoin transaction” really is: communication.74 En effet, les technologies à la base du Bitcoin (notamment la blockchain, la cryptographie asymétrique et le système de validation algorithmique dit « proof-of-work ») ouvrent la voie à de nombreuses utilisations possibles. En permettant de retracer l’ensemble des transactions effectuées depuis l’origine et de vérifier ainsi la véracité des informations utilisées (fonction de « truth proving »), ces technologies peuvent être utilisées pour voter en ligne, délivrer des diplômes, établir un registre foncier ou encore transformer le système des chambres de compensation. Une définition holiste du Bitcoin comme pur instrument de paiement—en vertu de laquelle la monnaie serait réduite à son acception de droit privé—rendrait donc son encadrement juridique limité au regard de ses potentialités.75 Bien que la fonction de monnaie soit encore première, on peut donc partager l’avis selon lequel, au vu des nombreuses autres fonctions permises par les technologies du Bitcoin, certains de ses usages pourraient être l’objet d’une exonération de TVA tandis que d’autres devraient ne pas pouvoir en bénéficier.76 En conclusion, comme toute monnaie, le Bitcoin ne peut être réduit à un instrument de paiement. Il n’est pas non plus réductible à sa seule vocation monétaire. Par ce double raccourci, la Cour méconnait donc le Bitcoin alors même que cette décision est paradoxalement présentée comme sa plus importante consécration juridictionnelle. Ce décalage révèle l’ambiguïté inhérente à la reconnaissance juridictionnelle des monnaies privées : l’objet de ces décisions n’est pas d’appréhender juridiquement ces objets mais d’en retenir une qualification correspondant aux buts recherchés. En l’espèce, le but recherché est celui de la pertinence fiscale. Si certaines monnaies virtuelles peuvent fonctionner sans État, elles peuvent viser à se soustraire à certains impératifs du droit fiscal. Il incombe donc au le juge de les reconnaître pour mieux les soumettre au droit. 74 E. Voorhees, “The Importance of Bitcoin Not Being Money,”, 8 August 2016, disponible à (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). 75 Ibid. 76 J. Maupin, “The ECJ’s First Bitcoin Decision: Right Outcome, Wrong Reasons?,” VerfBlog, 4 November 2015, disponible à itcoin-decision-right-outcome-wrong-reasons/ (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). La reconnaissance juridictionnelle des monnaies virtuelles 321 Les enjeux de sécurité financière : State of Florida v. Espinoza Une affaire relative à une accusation de blanchiment d’argent, State of Florida v. Espinoza,77 met en relief le lien entre la qualification du Bitcoin et les enjeux de sécurité financière. Dans cette espèce, Michell Espinoza, un particulier vendant des bitcoins contre des espèces, avait accepté d’en vendre à un agent infiltré de la police californienne. L’agent infiltré prétendait vouloir échanger des bitcoins contre des cartes de crédit volées. Espinoza accepta de réaliser plusieurs transactions jusqu’à ce qu’il fût arrêté après avoir refusé une transaction pour un montant de 30000 dollars. Espinoza fut ensuite poursuivi par un tribunal de l’Etat de Floride pour violation de règlementations locales relatives aux entreprises de services monétaires (« money service business ») et au blanchiment d’argent. Au moment où les faits ont été commis, l’État de Floride n’avait ni légiféré, ni émis des lignes directrices sur les monnaies virtuelles.78 Par une décision du 22 juillet 2016, la Cour a rejeté le chef d’accusation relatif à l’absence d’autorisation de transmettre de l’argent et jugé que le simple fait de vendre des bitcoins à une personne qui aurait l’intention—fût-elle clairement établie au moment de la transaction—de les utiliser à des fins criminelles ne pouvait servir de fondement à l’accusation de blanchiment d’argent. Cette décision, qui a fait l’objet d’un appel, contraste avec une jurisprudence qui tendait à assimiler le Bitcoin à un instrument monétaire. Le premier chef d’accusation portait sur l’exercice non-autorisé de services monétaires. La réglementation de l’Etat de Floride qualifie de « money services business » toute personne « who acts as a payment instrument seller, foreign currency exchanger, check casher, or money transmitter »,79 et requiert un permis d’exercer cette activité.80 En l’espèce, l’Etat de Floride accusait le défendeur d’exercer illégalement l’activité de transfert d’argent (« money transmitter ») puis, par un glissement sémantique opéré lors de la dernière plaidoirie, celle de vendeur d’instruments de paiement (« payment instrument seller »). B. 77 The State of Florida v. Michell Abner Espinoza, Criminal Division Case No. F14- 2923, (Fla. 11th Cir. Ct. 2016). 78 Depuis le 1er juillet 2017, l’Etat de Floride intègre les monnaies virtuelles parmi les instruments monétaires cités dans sa loi sur le blanchiment d’argent, voir House Bill 1379, disponible à (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). 79 Fla. Stat. Section 560.103(22). 80 Fla. Stat. Section 560.125. Alain Zamaria 322 Reprenant point par point les arguments de l’Etat de Floride, la juge Teresa Pooler a, dans un premier temps, considéré que la vente de bitcoins à un agent infiltré ne constituait pas une transmission d’argent. La Cour a jugé que la transmission (« to transmit ») supposerait que l’on « envoie ou transfère (une chose) d’une personne ou d’un endroit à un(e) autre »,81 comme ce fut jugé pour un cas impliquant la société spécialisée dans le transfert d’argent (« money transmitting business ») Western Union.82 Dans la mesure où Espinoza n’a pas agi en tant qu’intermédiaire (« middleman ») et n’a fait que vendre des bitcoins en cherchant un profit, la Cour a refusé de le qualifier de « transmetteur ». En effet, pour recevoir la qualification de « money transmitting business », un individu doit prélever des frais sur les transactions, ce que, selon la juge, le défendeur n’avait pas fait puisqu’il réalisait un profit en vendant les bitcoins pour un montant supérieur à leur prix d’achat. La juge qualifia donc le Bitcoin de « property » (ce qu’on traduirait par « bien meuble ») vendue à titre personnel : « The Defendant was selling his personal property. » Dans un second temps, la juge a rejeté l’argument selon lequel Espinoza était un vendeur d’instruments de paiement. La réglementation de l’Etat de Floride qualifiait d’ « instruments de paiement » les instruments suivants : « check, draft, warrant, money order, travelers’ check, electronic instrument, or other instrument, payment of money, or monetary value whether or not negotiable ».83 En refusant d’assimiler le Bitcoin à l’un de ces instruments, la juge a convenu que le Bitcoin ne constituait ni une monnaie, ni un instrument de paiement, ni même une valeur monétaire (« monetary value »). Pourtant, on aurait pu considérer que les termes employés, en particulier la référence à la valeur monétaire, signifiaient que le législateur voulait que les instruments de paiement visés ne soient pas limités aux seules devises officielles. Concernant l’allégation relative au blanchiment d’argent, la juge n’a pas reconnu une intention de promouvoir (« intent to promote ») une attitude criminelle et a qualifié de « vague » le terme promouvoir, au terme d’une étude linguistique sur le sens des mots « promote », « incite » et « encourage ». La Cour a ensuite critiqué la démarche poursuivie par le Ministère public en jugeant que le défendeur avait simplement accepté de vendre des bitcoins à un détective qui voulait le faire condamner : 81 Cf. définition citée dans la décision : « “transmit” means “to send or transfer (a thing) from one person or place to another”. Black’s Law Dictionary. (10th ed. 2014) ». 82 U.S. v. Elfgeeh, 515 F.3d 100, 108 (2d Cir. 2008). 83 Fla. Stat. Section 560.103(29). La reconnaissance juridictionnelle des monnaies virtuelles 323 [I]s it criminal activity for a person merely to sell their property to another when the buyer describes a nefarious reason for wanting the property? […] There is unquestionably no evidence that the Defendant did anything wrong, other than sell his Bitcoin to an investigator who wanted to make a case. L’argumentation de la juge est critiquable à plusieurs égards : le fait que certaines définitions soient reprises de dictionnaires usuels et non d’un dictionnaire juridique, la distinction opérée entre frais et profits qu’aurait perçus le défendeur84 et, surtout, la manière dont est qualifié le Bitcoin au regard de la réglementation relative aux services de transfert d’argent peuvent être longuement discutés.85 À propos de la qualification du Bitcoin, la Cour a jugé que cette question relevait de l’économie plus que du droit, en insinuant qu’elle n’était pas l’institution la mieux placée pour opérer une telle qualification : « This court is not an expert on economics ». Sans que la juge ne renonce pour autant à qualifier le Bitcoin, cet aveu se mêlait à une forme d’hommage au sens commun : « however, it is very clear, even to someone with limited knowledge in the area, that Bitcoin has a long way to go before it is the equivalent of money ». La Cour a ensuite repris l’analyse de l’IRS, l’autorité fiscale qui a qualifié le Bitcoin de propriété aux fins de taxation. Ce faisant, elle a pu écarter le chef d’inculpation relatif au blanchiment d’argent : « This Court is unwilling to punish a man for selling his property to another. » Si l’on peut approuver la juge lorsqu’elle affirme que le Bitcoin ne peut s’échanger contre des biens aussi facilement qu’une monnaie qui a cours légal et qu’il est donc encore loin de pouvoir être considéré comme l’équivalent d’une devise, d’autres arguments sont plus contestables. Après avoir mentionné les limites du Bitcoin comme moyen d’échange, la Cour juge que la volatilité du Bitcoin nuirait à sa fonction de « réserve de valeur » : « With such volatility they have a limited ability to act as a store of value, another important attribute of money. » L’argument est discutable, l’absence de volatilité n’étant pas une condition d’existence d’une monnaie. En 84 Dans la mesure où le défendeur perçoit une somme à chaque transaction, indépendamment du prix d’achat et de revente des bitcoins, la qualification de « frais » semble mieux convenir que celle de « profit », le profit étant lié aux investissements réalisés et non à la seule activité d’échange. 85 A. Caffarone, M. Holzer, “‘Ev’ry American Experiment Sets a Precedent’: Why One Florida State Court’s Bitcoin Opinion is Everyone’s Business”, Hofstra Law Journal of International Business & Law (2017); Hofstra Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2017-03. Available at SSRN: disponible à ct=2897727 (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). Alain Zamaria 324 outre, on peut noter que l’argument selon lequel le Bitcoin n’est pas une réserve de valeur est contre-intuitif au vu du nombre de personnes qui se sont enrichies par ce biais. L’absence de convertibilité du Bitcoin est également présentée comme une lacune du Bitcoin : « Bitcoins are not backed by anything. They are certainly not tangible wealth and cannot be hidden under a mattress like cash and gold bars. » Toutefois, la nature intangible du Bitcoin et l’absence de convertibilité ne devraient pas rendre la qualification de monnaie inopérante. Non seulement les devises officielles ne sont pas convertibles en or ou en argent mais elles peuvent également être intangibles, comme dans le cas des dépôts bancaires. Enfin, il est surprenant de refuser la qualification de monnaie pour le Bitcoin mais de présenter des lingots d’or comme une monnaie au même titre que le cash, alors que l’or est généralement assimilé à une commodité (« commodity ») et soumis à un régime juridique et fiscal particulier. Au prisme de ces approximations, on peut se demander si le choix de qualifier le Bitcoin de bien (ou de « property ») plutôt que d’instrument de paiement ne résulte pas des circonstances de l’espèce. Concernant le blanchiment d’argent, la Cour s’attachait à critiquer l’argument selon lequel le défendeur aurait eu l’intention de promouvoir une action illégale. Le refus de qualifier le Bitcoin comme monnaie aurait donc servi de simple argument additionnel pour rendre infondée l’accusation de blanchiment d’argent. En effet, on peut penser que la même décision aurait été rendue si le Bitcoin avait été qualifié d’instrument monétaire, la qualification monétaire n’ayant d’incidence qu’en ce qui concerne l’accusation relative au transfert d’argent non-autorisé. Sur ce second point, le refus de qualifier le Bitcoin de monnaie semble dû à la manière dont l’activité du défendeur est perçue par la juge. En effet, celle-ci assimile l’achat de Bitcoins à une activité de trading (« The Defendant purchases Bitcoin low and sells them high, the equivalent of a day trader in the stock market, presumably intending to make a profit ») et non à un service monétaire ou à une pratique de conversion de monnaies. Si la Cour a considéré que le Bitcoin n’était pas un instrument monétaire, elle a néanmoins jugé qu’il s’agissait bien de transactions financières puisque le défendeur échangeait ses biens meubles (« his property ») contre des espèces, lesquels constituent un instrument monétaire. Or une transaction financière est définie par le législateur de l’Etat de Floride comme une transaction impliquant le mouvement de fonds par transfert ou par d’autres moyens, ou impliquant un ou plusieurs instruments monétaires La reconnaissance juridictionnelle des monnaies virtuelles 325 qui affectent d’une manière ou d’une autre le commerce.86 La Cour ignore donc la première partie de la définition en étant silencieuse sur la qualification de fonds, bien que cette qualification ait été retenue pour le Bitcoin dans l’arrêt Ulbricht87 et, plus récemment, dans l’arrêt Murgio88 qui portait sur la réglementation fédérale relative aux entreprises de transmission de fonds.89 Certes, la portée de la décision semble limitée : rendue par un tribunal de l’Etat de Floride qui applique des dispositions locales, cette décision n’a pas valeur de précédent dans les autres Etats ou au niveau fédéral,90 de même que la décision SEC v. Trendon Shavers. Toutefois, d’autres tribunaux américains peuvent suivre la Cour de Floride en refusant de qualifier le Bitcoin de valeur monétaire et de l’assujettir aux dispositions relatives aux entreprises de services monétaires.91 Par ailleurs, les décisions Espinoza et Shavers illustrent bien l’ambiguïté propre à la reconnaissance juridictionnelle des cryptomonnaies : à chaque fois, la défense avance que le Bitcoin ne peut être qualifié de monnaie, même lorsqu’il est utilisé comme telle en pratique. Paradoxalement, la non-reconnaissance du Bitcoin par la Cour de Floride peut donc servir la cryptomonnaie, en renforçant l’idée selon laquelle le Bitcoin peut être utilisé comme monnaie sans être l’objet d’entraves juridiques. Les décisions considérées montrent que le juge préfère sacrifier la technicité de définitions du Bitcoin au profit du bon sens. La méconnaissance des subtilités liées à cette monnaie n’est pas un problème en soi : on attend 86 Fla. Stat. Section 560.103 (22): « “Financial transaction” means a transaction involving the movement of funds by wire or other means or involving one or more monetary instruments, which in any way or degree affects commerce [...] ». 87 United States v. Ulbricht, 31 F.Supp.3d 570 « Put simply, "funds" can be used to pay for things in the colloquial sense. Bitcoins can be either used directly to pay for certain things or can act as a medium of exchange and be converted into a currency which can pay for things. ». 88 United States v. Murgio, No. 15-cr-769, 2016 WL 5107128, (S.D.N.Y. Sep. 19, 2016), 4-10. 89 U.S. Code Title 18 § 1960. 90 S. D. Palley, “Why Florida’s ‘Bitcoin Isn’t money’ Ruling Could Have Limited Impact,” CoinDesk, 28 July 2016, disponible à oin-money-legal-system/ (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). 91 Il semble cependant que les juridictions américaines s’orientent vers une interprétation des dispositions relatives aux entreprises de services monétaires qui engloberait l’utilisation des bitcoins. Ainsi, une ordonnance rendue le 1er février 2019 par le Southern Division of the District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan dans l’affaire United States v. Stetkiw 18-20579, E.D. Mich., 2/1/19 établit que : « Bitcoin qualifies as “money” and “funds” under [18 U.S.C.] § 1960. » Alain Zamaria 326 du juge la résolution d’un litige et non l’explication du fonctionnement d’un mécanisme qui se présente à lui. Or le juge semble généralement qualifier le Bitcoin en fonction des seuls impératifs juridiques qu’il veut faire prévaloir, selon des considérations d’opportunité. Les qualifications juridictionnelles varient donc d’une juridiction à une autre de même qu’au niveau des autorités de régulation, au détriment de la cohérence du droit applicable aux monnaies virtuelles. On pourrait expliquer cet éclatement du droit applicable au Bitcoin par le fait que son utilisation polymorphe le rend compatible avec des qualifications différentes, voire opposées. Des défenseurs des monnaies virtuelles ont demandé que les régulateurs adoptent une approche attentiste par rapport aux cryptomonnaies et ne cèdent pas à la tentation du « classificationnisme bureaucratique ».92 Le « classificationnisme » est l’attitude de ceux qui tendent soit à créer de nouvelles catégories juridiques répondant à l’inadéquation entre une activité et les catégories juridiques existantes, soit à tout ramener à la dichotomie entre le légal et l’illégal, comme l’ont fait de nombreux États qui ont choisi d’interdire l’utilisation du Bitcoin. Juridiquement, le Bitcoin n’est ni une devise officielle, ni une monnaie électronique,93 ni un titre mobilier. Certains États en ont déduit son illégalité au regard du droit en vigueur. Une telle démarche, surtout lorsqu’elle se concrétise par la mise en place d’une incrimination pénale, risque d’être liberticide et de n’avoir que peu d’incidence pour empêcher ses usages illicites. Aussi est-il préférable que les juges adaptent les catégories juridiques existantes à l’utilisation qui est faite des monnaies virtuelles et des technologies émergentes et que l’on repense les relations entre l’ordre juridique et l’ordre numérique. En effet ces deux ordres peuvent aussi bien s’opposer que se compléter ou s’aligner. Il convient donc de toujours considérer dans quelle mesure et à quelle fin le second s’affranchit du premier. Conclusion Provenant de la déconnexion entre l’ordre numérique et l’ordre juridique, les enjeux juridiques liés au Bitcoin peuvent être considérés à l’aune de ceux qui se sont posés plus tôt pour la gouvernance d’Internet. Comme à l’époque du développement d’Internet, le juge et le législateur se trouvent IV. 92 K. S. Graf, Are Bitcoins Ownable?: Property Rights, IP Wrongs and Legal-Theory Implications (2015), 5. 93 Virtual Currency Schemes, supra note 13. La reconnaissance juridictionnelle des monnaies virtuelles 327 confrontés à un système dont le fonctionnement est anarchique par essence. L’ingénieur et activiste Timothy May avait déjà avancé en 1992 le concept de « crypto-anarchisme » pour décrire la primauté et la « préférence des solutions technologiques par rapport aux solutions juridiques ».94 Lawrence Lessig, l’un des pionniers de ce qui est devenu le cyber-droit, imaginait quant à lui que le code informatique pourrait tenir lieu de droit, selon la célèbre expression « Code is law ». Par analogie au droit d’Internet, on pourrait désormais se demander si le Protocole Bitcoin ne pourrait pas tenir lieu de droit applicable et justifier l’expression « Law is Protocol », dans la mesure où la cryptographie remplacerait plusieurs institutions fondamentales, telles que le juge lui-même. Ainsi, le Protocole représente la Constitution du Bitcoin et définit la politique monétaire en énonçant qui peut émettre la monnaie (non pas le Congrès comme pour le dollar américain mais tous les utilisateurs du réseau), comment progresse la masse monétaire (une importante « loi » algorithmique du Bitcoin énonce le rythme auquel augmente l’offre monétaire jusqu’à une limite maximale de 21 millions de Bitcoins en circulation) et comment sanctionner l’utilisateur qui tenterait de falsifier le grand registre (en ignorant cette tentative).95 D’autres caractéristiques, telles que les comptes multi-signatures, permettent même d’intégrer au système Bitcoin un crypto-droit de la consommation susceptible de régler certains problèmes liés à l’irrévocabilité des transactions. En résumé, on pourrait parler d’un système qui incorpore son propre droit (« law unto itself »96) et rend toute intervention du juge ou du législateur dispensable. La conséquence des qualifications juridictionnelles divergentes des monnaies virtuelles est une impression générale de confusion : le Bitcoin peut être une monnaie, un fonds, une commodité,97 un bien meuble, voire une catégorie à part. Or ces catégories juridiques sont des constructions hu- 94 T. C. May, The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto, 22 November 1992, disponible à (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). 95 S. Jeong, “The Bitcoin Protocol as Law, and the Politics of a Stateless Currency,” SSRN (2013), disponible à 94124 (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018), 28. 96 Graf, supra note 90, 9. 97 Pour la U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), le Bitcoin peut en revanche être qualifié de « commodity » sujette au Commodity Exchange Act, voir communiqué de presse du 17 septembre 2015, CFTC Orders Bitcoin Options Trading Platform Operator and its CEO to Cease Illegally Offering Bitcoin Options and to Cease Operating a Facility for Trading or Processing of Swaps without Registering, disponible à Alain Zamaria 328 maines, adaptables au gré des utilisations que l’on fait des nouvelles technologies. Même si les technologies qui fondent le Bitcoin peuvent prévenir des différends survenant dans les rapports privés, les premiers litiges résultant des frottements entre l’ordre juridique et l’ordre numérique conduisent à douter que l’immixtion du juge puisse être évitée. À l’inverse, c’est même à l’émergence d’un nouveau contentieux monétaire que l’on pourrait s’attendre. 1-15 (dernière visite le 22 septembre 2018). La CFTC a réitéré sa position le 3 octobre 2018 en s’appuyant sur une décision rendue le 26 septembre 2018 par le United States District Court of Massachusetts dans l’affaire Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. My Big Coin Pay, Inc. et al. La reconnaissance juridictionnelle des monnaies virtuelles 329 Parallel and Overlapping Proceedings in International Economic Law: Towards an Ordered Co-existence Laurence Boisson de Chazournes* Introduction: The Backdrop The proliferation of courts and tribunals at the international level brings diversity to international dispute settlement. This multiplicity gives rise to an increasing number of parallel and competing proceedings. Given the relatively recent vintage of this multiplicity of courts and tribunals, such parallel proceedings have, until recently, been rare. As such, international courts and tribunals have had little need to resort to procedural tools for coordinating jurisdiction and, in contrast to domestic legal systems, there had been a paucity of practice amongst international judicial actors having recourse to such tools. Moreover, no real emphasis had been placed on the importance of the role that appropriate procedural rules play in coordinating international jurisdiction. That is, however, beginning to change and this change has been prompted by the problems caused by uncoordinated dispute settlement. There are a number of undesirable consequences that arise from uncoordinated dispute settlement, including, but not limited to, abusive forum shopping, wasted resources, uncertainty, and conflicting judgments.1 The latter can occur when different tribunals make different decisions on disputes with the same facts. The cases of Lauder2 and CME v. Czech Republic3 are an example of conflicting decisions in the area of investment arbitra- I. * Professor of International Law and International Organization at the University of Geneva. 1 See for example M. Waibel, Coordinating Adjudication Processes, in Z. Douglas et al. (eds), The Foundations of International Investment Law: Bringing Theory into Practice (2014), 499, 530. 2 Ronald S. Lauder v. The Czech Republic, UNCITRAL Award 2001, Final Award of 03 September 2001. 3 CME Czech Republic B.V. (The Netherlands) v. The Czech Republic, UNCITRAL Award 2001, Partial Award of 13 September 2001; CME Czech Republic B.V. (The Netherlands) v. The Czech Republic, UNCITRAL Award 2003, Final Award of 14 March 2003. 331 tion. Another often-mentioned example of discrepancy is the interpretation of necessity as a circumstance precluding wrongfulness by the CMS v. Argentina4 and LG&E v. Argentina5 tribunals. Conflicting judgments may be the result of parallel proceedings or overlapping proceedings. Parallel proceedings can involve the same parties in different courts that never connect with each other while overlapping proceedings involve the connections that two disputes may have with each other on the material level of the applicable rules. Parallel proceedings may exist between an investor and a host State when the former is being sued by the latter before national courts for tax violations, for example. This does not deprive the investor of the possibility to bring a claim under an applicable treaty before an international tribunal. Overlapping procedures, on the other hand, may occur when a measure impacts one or more regimes at the same time, such as trade and investment. To avoid these kinds of situations, conflicting judgments more generally and undermining the rule of law, coordination among international courts and tribunals becomes essential. To this end, procedural rules play an increasingly important role. Some are borrowed from domestic legal systems.6 That being said, it is important to emphasize that they are being adapted and not imported wholesale into international law. The adaptation of such mechanisms is made by both international courts and tribunals themselves and, occasionally, states acting as legislators. The traditional toolkit for dealing with conflicting judgments includes such procedural mechanisms as lis pendens, fork in the road provisions, connexité and comity.7 While these all essentially lead to the same result in theory (one tribunal declining jurisdiction in favour of another), they each offer quite different means of getting to that result. International economic law (in particular investment and trade regimes) offers interesting perspectives for the contemporary operation of these mechanisms. As a matter 4 CMS Gas Transmission Company v. The Republic of Argentina, ICSID Case No. ARB/01/8, Award of 12 May 2005. 5 LG&E Energy Corp. v. The Republic of Argentina, ICSID Case No. ARB/02/1, Decision on Liability of 03 October 2006. See S. Schill, International Investment Law and the Host State’s Power to Handle Economic Crises – Comment on the ICSID Decision in LG&E v. Argentina, 24(3) Journal of International Arbitration (2007), 265-286. 6 As in other areas, H. Lauterpacht, Private Law Sources and Analogies of International Law (1927), viii. 7 In this article, res judicata, which can also be characterized as a tool for declining jurisdiction, will not be considered as it applies to successive rather than parallel proceedings. Laurence Boisson de Chazournes 332 of fact, it is in this particular area of international law that the judiciary, and states, have become aware of the importance of these tools for resolving the problems of conflicting and parallel proceedings. In this article, I will consider how these tools are being adapted for a use at the international level and chart some of the new trends that reveal a more systemic approach in this respect. These new trends are the result of a realisation amongst international courts, tribunals, and state actors that action needs to be taken to coordinate this increasingly complex world of dispute settlement. As a result, we can see an increasing public character of international procedural rules, in the sense that they are enshrined and codified in international agreements and instruments. Lis Pendens and Forum Non Conveniens in their Traditional Forms Let us first consider the concept of lis pendens in its classical understanding. Under civil law, in contrast to the approach of common law, the principle of lis pendens has traditionally been applied by courts faced with a conflict of jurisdiction. Civil law will not have a response until there is an actual conflict that is, until the same case comes before two different courts.8 Once there is an actual conflict, the principle is applied subject to the so-called triple identity test, namely that the cause of action, the parties and the object of the dispute are the same. That being the case, a second court cannot hear the proceedings, if the same action is already pending before a court in another country. Under the civil law approach, lis pendens ensures that a standard procedure is followed in each instance and respects the procedure taking place in another jurisdiction. Notwithstanding, the lis pendens doctrine is intended to serve the public purpose of avoiding a dispute between two courts on which one should hear the case. An alternative approach for declining jurisdiction is found in the common law doctrine of forum non conveniens.9 This tool is applied by a court or tribunal where they consider that another court or tribunal seized of the matter is more appropriately positioned to decide the dispute. This doctrine attempts to consider which court is the most appropriate and it is of little importance which was first seized. This approach, in contrast with lis II. 8 T. Hartley, The Modern Approach to Private International Law: International Litigation and Transactions from a Common Law Perspective, 319 Collected Courses of the Hague Academy of International Law (2006), 142. 9 Ibid. Parallel and Overlapping Proceedings in International Economic Law 333 pendens, is discretionary. Whilst this may often be a more rational approach than lis pendens, its disadvantage is that it allows more scope for subjectivity and is less certain. The doctrine also differs in that it does not wait until a lis pendens situation has actually arisen. It operates not only when the case is pending before the courts of another country, but also when it could have been brought before them. It applies even if there is no conflict of jurisdiction. Concerned not only with resolving a conflict of jurisdiction—a public purpose in the way that it coordinates proceedings—but also with doing justice to the parties by ensuring that the most appropriate court hears the case. The latter is the main objective. It constitutes, in this way, an example of the common law giving greater weight to private interests than to public interests because it is more concerned with doing justice in the individual case than with the strict application of a mechanism by which jurisdiction is automatically declined; overall, providing greater certainty.10 The discretionary nature and margin of appreciation given to courts is notable and these latter elements are reflected in the approaches developed at the international level for declining jurisdiction, as we will see in further details below. In devising the private international law regime of the European Union, the approach of the civil law was chosen over that of the alternative common law approach. Lis pendens is laid down in Article 29 of the Brussels I Regulation (Recast 2012)11 (formerly Article 27), which courts of European Union Member States must apply when faced with multi-jurisdictional cases involving other EU Member States. Article 29 provides: 10 A clear articulation of the forum non conveniens doctrine is provided by the English case of Spiliada Maritime Corporation v. Cansulex [1987] AC 460. In that case, Lord Goff noted that the defendant must show that another forum is available that is clearly or distinctly more appropriate than the English forum. That court must be in a country that has the most ‘real and substantial connection’ and in making this assessment connecting factors such as governing law and the place where the parties reside or carry on business, in addition to factors more directly related to convenience, such as where the evidence is available, must all be examined. Moreover, Lord Goff reasoned that advantages to the plaintiff are no longer relevant. There must be special circumstances by reason of which justice requires that the trial should nevertheless take place in England (e.g. that he would not obtain a fair trial due to racial or political bias). While it is not too difficult to weigh up the normal connecting factors but it is more difficult to determine which special circumstances will be taken into account. 11 Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2012 on Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters (Recast), OJ L 351/1. Laurence Boisson de Chazournes 334 Where proceedings involving the same cause of action and between the same parties are brought in the courts of different member states, any court other than the court first seized must of its motion stay its proceedings until such time as the jurisdiction of the first seized court is established. Once this occurs, it must decline jurisdiction in favour of that court. This first-in-time approach has been criticized as being overly rigid and allowing what has been called “Italian torpedo” situations in which parties seeking to delay the outcome of a dispute commence proceedings in a jurisdiction where court proceedings are typically slow moving.12 Owing to the exclusive jurisdiction provision, all other courts in other Member States must then stay proceedings until the court first seized of the matter determines whether it has jurisdiction, even if there is a choice of court agreement in place. These criticisms appear to have been taken on board by the European Commission and the Brussels I Regulation has recently been recast to avoid abusive use of the lis pendens rule in cases where a choice of court agreement is in place.13 In particular, it seeks to avoid Italian torpedo situations by allowing an EU Member State court to proceed with hearing a case where the former is the subject of an exclusive jurisdiction clause, even if a case has been filed in another Member State court before. Further still, Articles 33 and 34 of the Brussels I Regulation extend lis pendens to parallel and related proceedings in third States. As such, where proceedings in the court of an EU Member State are pending before the courts of non-EU Member State and those proceedings are based on the same cause of action or are between the same parties, the EU Member State court may stay the proceedings before it. However, this is only the case where the EU Member State court expects that the judgment of the non- EU Member State court will be capable of recognition or enforcement in the relevant EU Member State and the court considers it necessary for the proper administration of justice. Similarly, where there is a related action 12 See for example J. Wood & N. Allan, Sinking the Italian torpedo: the recast Brussels Regulation, International Law Office (19 February 2015), available at http://w king-the-Italian-torpedo-the-recast-Brussels-Regulation (last visited 6 December 2018). 13 See S. Garvey, Brussels Regulation (Recast): Are You Ready?, Allen & Overy Publication (18 March 2015), available at b/Pages/BRUSSELS-REGULATION-(RECAST)-ARE-YOU-READY.aspx (last visited 6 December 2018). Parallel and Overlapping Proceedings in International Economic Law 335 pending before a non-EU Member State court, an EU Member State court may stay the proceedings before it if it considers it expedient to hear the related actions together. This is on the condition that it expects the non-EU Member State court to deliver a judgment capable of recognition and enforcement in a third state; and the EU Member State court sees it as necessary for the proper administration of justice. These provisions are particularly significant for the way in which they show utmost concern for the coordination of proceedings. They suggest that lis pendens may be considered as a rule of international public order and not necessarily reliant on reciprocity for its operation.14 As is evident from the text of the above provision in Article 29, there are a number of key elements to the lis pendens principle as expressed in the Brussels I Regulation. These elements include the same cause of action and the same parties. The various elements of the lis pendens doctrine have been addressed by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). As for the same cause of action, in Gubisch Maschinenfabrik v. Palumbo,15 the CJEU gave a fairly wide meaning to the idea of the same cause of action in proceedings taking place in both Germany and Italy. The proceedings were commenced in Germany by a German manufacturer to recover the price of machinery that had been ordered by an Italian resident. Afterwards, proceedings were commenced in Italy by Palumbo in an effort to obtain a declaration that the contract was inoperative as the original order had been revoked. In the context of this case, the purpose of the German action was to give effect to a contract and that of the Italian action was to deprive it of effect. If the case would have been allowed to continue they clearly could have resulted in irreconcilable judgments. The CJEU held that the underlying cases involved the same cause of action and the Italian court had to give up jurisdiction. As to the same parties, a more restrictive approach seems to have been adopted. For example, in the Maciej Rataj (The Tatry) case,16 the CJEU reasoned that where some but not all of the parties to the second action are the same as the parties to the first action, the lis pendens rule applies only to the extent to which the parties are the same. 14 This is a point argued for by Campbell McLachlan, see C. McLachlan, Lis Pendens in International Litigation, 336 Collected Courses of the Hague Academy of International Law (2009). 15 Gubisch Maschinenfabrik v. Palumbo, Case 144/86, Judgment of 08 December 1987, [1987] ECR 4861. 16 Maciej Rataj (The Tatry), Case 406/92, Judgment of 06 December 1994, [1994] ECR I-5439. Laurence Boisson de Chazournes 336 Beyond the European context, it has been stated that “[t]he widespread use and similarity of the concept of lis pendens in the national procedural laws of States of all legal traditions as well as its inclusion in a number of bi- and multilateral agreements is evidence that lis pendens can be regarded as a general principle of law in the sense of Article 38 of the ICJ Statute”.17 That said, it is pertinent to note that the transferability of lis pendens at the international level has yet to be thoroughly tested. Notwithstanding, we will now turn to consider its application by international courts and tribunals, as well as its occurrence in international treaties. Contemporary Application of Lis Pendens at the International Level In the past, instances of the application of the lis pendens principle at the international level have been sporadic, showing a reluctance of courts and tribunals to accept the applicability of the lis pendens principle and injecting a measure of unpredictability in its operation. For example, in the Certain German Interests in Polish Upper Silesia case, the Permanent Court of Justice took into consideration the principle of lis pendens, but ultimately concluded that its requirements had not been met in that case.18 Similarly, in Benvenuti and Bonfant v. Congo, an investment tribunal considered that lis pendens might be applicable but concluded that certain requirements of the principle were not met.19 In SGS v. Pakistan, the Tribunal also considered and dismissed the applicability of lis pendens.20 Within the international legal order, this is explained by the fact that State consent to adjudication cannot be presumed. Moreover, in respect of international arbitration, the existence of an agreement providing for exclusive jurisdiction III. 17 A. Reinisch, The Use and Limits of Res Judicata and Lis Pendens As Procedural Tools to Avoid Conflicting Dispute Settlement Outcomes, 2 The Law and Practice of International Courts and Tribunals (2004), 37, 48. Though there are some who are sceptical of this status, see H. Wehland, The Coordination of Multiple Proceedings in Investment Treaty Arbitration (2013), 129. 18 Certain German interests in Polish Upper Silesia (Germany v. Poland), Judgment, PCIJ Series A no 7 ICGJ 241 (1926). 19 S.A.R.L. Benvenuti and Bonfant v. People's Republic of the Congo, ICSID Case No. ARB/77, Award of 08 August 1980. 20 SGS Société Générale de Surveillance S.A. v. Islamic Republic of Pakistan, ICSID Case No. ARB/01, Decision on Objections to Jurisdiction of 06 August 2003, para 182. Parallel and Overlapping Proceedings in International Economic Law 337 should normally preclude the exercise of jurisdiction by any other judicial body (either international or domestic).21 However, recently some courts and tribunals have shown a willingness to engage with this principle, crafting a broader conception of lis pendens. While the triple identity test for lis pendens may be difficult to meet,22 more liberal interpretations have been offered by international tribunals. For example, concepts such as the substantial identity of the parties, piercing the corporate veil, and single economic entity are all ways that could be used to overcome the traditionally strict hurdles.23 In an example of such a liberal approach, the ITLOS Tribunal in the Southern Bluefin Tuna case examined the essential basis of the dispute and concluded that the case before it was substantially the same as the one before the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT).24 This was in spite of the fact that there were differing legal bases in the two disputes. That being said, the Tribunal decided the case on the basis of another provision of the Law of the Sea Convention. In fact, the approach of the Tribunal in this case has been characterized as laissez-faire in the way it treated each obligation implicated in the case as distinct.25 Commentators have warned that such an approach could actually lead to more parallel proceedings of a complex nature with different tribunals deciding upon different obligations pertaining to the same dispute.26 Another example is provided by SPP v. Egypt, in which an ICSID tribunal suspended litigation while there was a parallel proceeding between the same parties at the Cour de Cassation in France on whether the parties had agreed to submit the dispute to arbitration.27 While the issue before the Cour de Cassation was not strictly the 21 G. Kaufmann-Kohler et al., Consolidation of Proceedings in Investment Arbitration: How Can Multiple Proceedings Arising from the Same or Related Situations be Handled Efficiently? Final Report on the Geneva Colloquium Held on 22 April 2006, 21(1) ICSID Review: Foreign Investment Law Journal (2006), 59. 22 See for example CME Czech Republic B.V. (The Netherlands) v. The Czech Republic, supra note 3. See also A. Reinisch, The Issues Raised by Parallel Proceedings and Possible Solutions, in M. Waibel (ed.), The Backlash Against Investment Arbitration: Perceptions and Reality (2010), 122 (arguing that the triple-identity test ought to be relaxed in certain circumstances). 23 Ibid., 123. 24 Southern Bluefin Tuna Case (Australia and New Zealand v. Japan), 39 ILM 1359, Award on Jurisdiction and Admissibility, Decision of 4 August 2000, paras. 52, 59. 25 McLachlan, supra note 14. 26 Ibid. 27 Southern Pacific Properties (Middle East) Limited v. Arab Republic of Egypt, ICSID Case No. ARB/84/3, Decision on Jurisdiction I, 27 November 1985, 3 ICSID Reports 112. Laurence Boisson de Chazournes 338 same as that before the arbitral tribunal, the latter tribunal nevertheless viewed that it was “in the interest of international judicial order” to stay the proceedings before it “pending a decision by the other tribunal”.28 In addition to this more flexible and liberal application of lis pendens by the international judiciary, we may also observe the way in which new treaties are developing, adapting and expanding manifestations of the principle. Under the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU (CETA),29 for example, a choice of forum clause and restriction on litigating an obligation which is equivalent in substance in two fora is present in Article 29.3.1-2. These sub-paragraphs provide: 1. Recourse to the dispute settlement provisions of this Chapter is without prejudice to recourse to dispute settlement under the WTO Agreement or under any other agreement to which the Parties are party. 2. Notwithstanding paragraph 1, if an obligation is equivalent in substance under this Agreement and under the WTO Agreement, or under any other agreement to which the Parties are party, a Party may not seek redress for the breach of such an obligation in the two fora. In such case, once a dispute settlement proceeding has been initiated under one agreement, the Party shall not bring a claim seeking redress for the breach of the substantially equivalent obligation under the other agreement, unless the forum selected fails, for procedural or jurisdictional reasons, other than termination under paragraph 20 of Annex 29-A, to make findings on that claim. Referring in Article 29.3.2 to a substantially equivalent obligation, the parties to this treaty have thereby used a broad formula in order to incorporate a comprehensive form of safeguard against lis pendens, rather than a classical interpretation based on the identical nature of claims and obligations; as such, an attempt has been made to prevent parallel procedures as much as possible. A similar provision is contained in Article 24 of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement,30 which reads, in its relevant part, as follows: 28 Ibid., 129. 29 Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union [CETA], not yet in force at time of writing. Provisional application from 21 September 2017. Consolidated text available at doclib/docs/2014/september/tradoc_152806.pdf (last visited 6 December 2018). 30 Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, not yet in force at time of writing. Text available at (last visited 6 December 2018). Parallel and Overlapping Proceedings in International Economic Law 339 1. Recourse to the dispute settlement provisions of this Chapter shall be without prejudice to any action in the WTO framework, including dispute settlement action, or in any other international agreement to which both Parties are parties. 2. By way of derogation from paragraph 1, a Party shall not, for a particular measure, seek redress for the breach of a substantially equivalent obligation under this Agreement and under the WTO Agreement or in any other international agreement to which both Parties are parties in the relevant fora. Once a dispute settlement proceeding has been initiated, the Party shall not bring a claim seeking redress for the breach of the substantially equivalent obligation under the other agreement to the other forum, unless the forum selected first fails for procedural or jurisdictional reasons to make findings on the claim seeking redress of that obligation. [...] The inclusion of these lis pendens-type devices is an interesting contribution to avoiding conflicts of jurisdiction in modern free trade agreements (FTAs).31 Connexité, Related Actions and Consolidation in a Contemporary Context Connexité and variations of this concept, such as related actions, are emerging as a further way in which to coordinate jurisdiction and avoid parallel and overlapping proceedings in international litigation. Connexité is a concept of French law that regulates a conflict of jurisdiction where two cases are pending which are not identical (so lis pendens does not apply) but are similar enough that they should be consolidated into one case.32 This doctrine is discretionary in nature and so it would appear to be a close cousin of forum non conveniens. It is also less strict insofar as it does not require identical elements in the concerned cases. There is, for example, no requirement that the parties be the same in connected disputes. The discretion to connect proceedings may be exercised where it is expedient to do so and where there is a risk that two judgments may be irreconcilable.33 IV. 31 See P.-J. Kuijper, TDM Special Issue on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the European Union and Canada (CETA), TDM (2016), available at (last visited 6 December 2018). 32 H. Black, A Dictionary of Law (1991), 253. 33 G. Kaufmann-Kohler et al., supra note 21. Laurence Boisson de Chazournes 340 Related actions are also provided for under the Brussels I Regulation (Recast), referred to earlier. Article 30 (formerly Article 28) states that “where related actions are pending in the courts of different Member States, any court other than the court first seized may stay its proceedings”. Furthermore, Article 30(2) provides that the subsequent court may even decline jurisdiction rather than simply stay proceedings. With the proliferation of trade and investment agreements, it is increasingly likely that connected claims will arise around related issues and the potential therefore exists for these claims to be connected or heard together. Given the recent trends concerning other procedural tools designed to coordinate jurisdiction, it is foreseeable that tribunals pursue such an approach whereby similar claims and issues are connected. It is helpful to illustrate the potential for connecting claims with several possible scenarios. One situation could be an umbrella clause combined with a broad compromissory clause (“any dispute relating to investment”) which is connected to trade related claims. Another could involve a mostfavoured nation (MFN) clause in a BIT that may apply both to benefits granted in other BITs as well as in other investment-related treaties such as the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) or FTAs. In accordance with the MFN obligation included in the GATS, the parties are committed to treating services and service providers in a no less favourable way than like services and service providers from any other country. We might ask whether an MFN clause in a BIT extends to benefits granted to other countries in the WTO or an FTA? Conversely, does the MFN provision in GATS or an FTA automatically incorporate substantive or dispute settlement advantages given to another country in a BIT? More generally, the approach of connecting related issues has begun to feature in certain international instruments. This has been characterized as consolidation and is envisaged as joining two or more pending arbitrations into one proceeding. One of the best examples is Article 1126 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA),34 which also provides for the establishment of a special consolidation tribunal to decide on the consolidation of relevant arbitrations under NAFTA’s Chapter 11. The consolidation tribunal has the discretion to decide whether it consolidates claims en- 34 North American Free Trade Agreement, in force as of 1 January 1994. Available at ree-Trade-Agreement?mvid=2 (last visited 6 December 2018). Parallel and Overlapping Proceedings in International Economic Law 341 tirely or partially. Consolidation under NAFTA Article 1126 can be undertaken even without the explicit consent of the parties. Article 10 of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Rules provides for the consolidation of arbitrations, although it does not make provision for a consolidation tribunal as is the case under NAFTA. Article 10 stipulates: The Court may, at the request of a party, consolidate two or more arbitrations pending under the Rules into a single arbitration, where: a) the parties have agreed to consolidation; or b) all of the claims in the arbitrations are made under the same arbitration agreement; or c) where the claims in the arbitrations are made under more than one arbitration agreement, the arbitrations are between the same parties, the disputes in the arbitrations arise in connection with the same legal relationship, and the Court finds the arbitration agreements to be compatible. In deciding whether to consolidate, the Court may take into account any circumstances it considers to be relevant, including whether one or more arbitrators have been confirmed or appointed in more than one of the arbitrations and, if so, whether the same or different persons have been confirmed or appointed. When arbitrations are consolidated, they shall be consolidated into the arbitration that commenced first, unless otherwise agreed by all parties. A number of recent trade and investment agreements appear to have followed the approach in NAFTA and the ICC Rules insofar as they also make provision for the consolidation of proceedings. These are interesting in the way that, through the vehicle of consolidation, they adopt a broader notion of connexité. Article 8.43 (1) of CETA provides for consolidation thus: 1. When two or more claims that have been submitted separately pursuant to Article 8.23 have a question of law or fact in common and arise out of the same events or circumstances, a disputing party or the disputing parties, jointly, may seek the establishment of a separate division of the Tribunal pursuant to this Article and request that such division issue a consolidation order (request for consolidation). Laurence Boisson de Chazournes 342 Article 9.28 of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)35 and Article 27(1) of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)36 proposal also make provision for consolidation in similar language. However, while all these provisions appear to follow NAFTA’s lead in consolidating similar or related proceedings, there remains a difference. Under NAFTA, the tribunal may consolidate proceedings without the consent of the parties whereas under the ICC Rules, CETA, TPP and TTIP proposal, consolidation must be at the request of the disputing parties. That said, Article 27(3) of TTIP goes on to set out the circumstances in which a formal consolidation mechanism, not dissimilar to that under NAFTA, may come into effect where the disputing parties disagree on the consolidation of proceedings: In the event that the disputing parties referred to in paragraph 2 have not reached an agreement on consolidation within thirty days of the receipt of the request for consolidation referred to in paragraph 1 by the last claimant to receive it, the President of the Tribunal shall constitute a consolidating division of the Tribunal pursuant to Article 9. The consolidating division shall assume jurisdiction over all or part of the claims, if, after considering the views of the disputing parties, it decides that to do so would best serve the interest of fair and efficient resolution of the claims, including the interest of consistency of awards. This represents an endorsement of the concept of connexité and entrusts to a tribunal the discretionary power of consolidation, to be exercised on the basis of fairness, efficiency and the consistency of decisions. It is the strongest evidence yet that connexité is gaining ground. 35 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), not yet in force at time of writing. Available at pp-full-text (last visited 6 December 2018). 36 Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership [TTIP], Text of the European Commission’s Proposal for Chapter II – Investment, not yet in force at time of writing. Available at _153807.pdf (last visited 6 December 2018). Parallel and Overlapping Proceedings in International Economic Law 343 Another procedural option is available in Article 8.24 of CETA, which provides: Where a claim is brought pursuant to this Section and another international agreement and: (a) there is a potential for overlapping compensation; or (b) the other international claim could have a significant impact on the resolution of the claim brought pursuant to this Section, the Tribunal shall, as soon as possible after hearing the disputing parties, stay its proceedings or otherwise ensure that proceedings brought pursuant to another international agreement are taken into account in its decision, order or award. This formulation offers something akin to connexité without consolidation insofar as the tribunal should take into account parallel proceedings in its own decision or a form of lis pendens where it may stay proceedings. It represents yet another way in which connexité is being conceived differently for dispute settlement at the international level. As these examples demonstrate, the tools for coordinating jurisdiction are being crafted both by international tribunals and in new trade and investment agreements. In these new tools we see both traditional non-discretionary elements, such as the mechanical operation of lis pendens, but also newly conceived discretionary elements, such as connexité and consolidation mechanisms. However, they are not the only tools that are being developed for coordinating jurisdiction in the field of international economic law. Fork in the Road, Election and Waiver Provisions: Their Progressive Acceptance and Evolution Fork in the road clauses are another way in which one court or tribunal may be deprived of jurisdiction over another competent court or tribunal. Fork in the road provisions leave it to the party to decide which forum is most appropriate, although this may also be dictated by the legal nature of a particular claim or the applicable law.37 These types of clauses will be considered first in the investment law field and then in the trade law field. V. 37 McLachlan, supra note 14. Laurence Boisson de Chazournes 344 Investment Law A fork in the road clause is a provision in many BITs that provides for a choice between local remedies in domestic courts and international arbitration. Once one means has been chosen for the resolution of a given dispute, the other means cannot be resorted to. However, this is subject to the proviso that the legal nature of the claim before a domestic court is indistinct from the legal nature of the claim before an international tribunal. As such, if one claim is essentially based on a contract and the other essentially based on a treaty, the two sets of proceedings would likely be allowed to proceed concurrently. This was the case in Genin v. Estonia where, despite the Respondent state arguing otherwise, the arbitral tribunal held that the fact the Claimant had pursued proceedings in Estonian courts did not preclude him from having recourse to investment arbitration. The Tribunal reasoned that the claims and causes of action before the Estonian courts and the arbitral tribunal were different.38 It would appear that in many cases involving fork in the road provisions, arbitral tribunals have found similar differences between the proceedings at issue.39 In other cases, fork in the road clauses have been said to enhance certainty, as was spelled out in Maffezini v. Spain: […] if the parties have agreed to a dispute settlement arrangement which includes the so-called fork in the road, that is, a choice between submission to domestic courts or to international arbitration, and where the choice once made becomes final and irreversible, this stipulation cannot be bypassed by invoking the [MFN] clause. This conclusion is compelled by the consideration that it would upset the finality of arrangements that many countries deem important as a matter of public policy.40 Parties have inserted fork in the road clauses in treaties as a means for coordinating national and international jurisdiction over disputes arising directly or indirectly from the treaty. There are many examples of such provi- A. 38 Alex Genin, Eastern Credit Limited, Inc. And A.S. Baltoil v. The Republic of Estonia, ICSID Case No. ARB/99/2, Award of 25 June 2001, 17 ICSID Rev (2002), 79-81. 39 C. Schreuer, Travelling the BIT Route: Of Waiting Periods, Umbrella Clauses and Forks in the Road, 5(2) Journal of World Investment and Trade (2004), 231; C McLachlan, Lis Pendens in International Litigation (2009). 40 Emilio Augustin Maffezini v. The Kingdom of Spain, ICSID Case No. ARB/97/7, Decision on Jurisdiction of 25 January 2000, 16 ICSID Rev (2001), 203. Parallel and Overlapping Proceedings in International Economic Law 345 sions in investment treaties and Article 10(2) of the BIT between Greece and Albania is typical of the underlying idea. It provides that if disputes cannot be settled amicably, ”the investor or the Contracting Party concerned may submit the dispute either to the competent court of the Contracting Party or to an international arbitration tribunal [...]”. Variations of the fork in the road clause are also present in multilateral conventions, as we will see shortly. In the past, many investment treaties simply required that domestic remedies be exhausted before international proceedings were commenced.41 Variations on the fork in the road clause, while they are invariably less strict, also exist. For example, BITs may set a time limit for domestic courts to resolve an issue before they exercise jurisdiction,42 and some BITs only allow international arbitration to proceed if there has not been a first instance decision by the courts of the host State.43 In all events, the relatively simple criterion, which triggers the operation of a fork in the road clause, is the identical nature of the dispute and parties in both juridical proceedings. Despite its apparent simplicity, these can nevertheless be difficult criteria to apply in practice, given that both private and public parties may be involved in litigation at the domestic level in different capacities. Tribunals have often taken a relatively strict approach in their application of the criteria. In Enron v. Argentina, the Respondent had objected to the arbitral tribunal’s jurisdiction on the basis of the fork in the road provision under the Argentina-US BIT, claiming that Enron had been embroiled in litigation before courts in Argentina seeking relief for tax measures that were the subject of the dispute before the arbitral tribunal. The Tribunal held: This Tribunal is mindful of the various decisions of ICSID Tribunals also discussing this very issue, particularly Compania de Agua del Acon- 41 Schreuer, supra note 39, giving Agreement Between the Government of Ghana and the Government of the Socialist Republic of Romania on the Mutual Promotion and Guarantee of Investments, 14 September 1989, Article 4(3) as an example, available at 9 (last visited 6 December 2018). 42 Agreement between the Argentine Republic and the Kingdom of Spain on the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments, 3 October 1991, 1699 UNTS 188, Article x(3)(a). 43 Agreement Between the Republic of Austria and the Republic of Macedonia on the Promotion and Protection of Investments, 28 March 2001, Article 13(3), available at (last visited 6 December 2018). Laurence Boisson de Chazournes 346 quija, Genin, and Olguin. In all these cases the difference between the violation of a contract and the violation of a treaty, as well as the different effects that such violations might entail, have been admitted, not ignoring of course that the violation of a legal rule will always have similar negative effects irrespective of its nature. It has accordingly been held that even if there was recourse to local courts for breach of contract this would not prevent resorting to ICSID arbitration for violation of treaty rights, or that in any event, as held in Benvenuti & Bonfant, any situation of lis pendens would require identity of the parties. Neither will these considerations be repeated here. The Tribunal notes that in the present case the Claimants have not made submissions before local courts and those made by TGS are separate and distinct. Moreover, the actions by TGS itself have been mainly in the defensive so as to oppose the tax measures imposed, and the decision to do so have been ordered by ENARGAS, the agency entrusted with the regulation of the gas sector. The conditions for the operation of the principle electa una via or fork in the road are thus simply not present. The Tribunal accordingly dismisses the objection to jurisdiction on this other ground.44 More recently, several tribunals have applied fork in the road clauses less narrowly, which in turn has meant that most or all of the claims in the respective disputes have been dismissed on jurisdictional grounds. For example, in Pantechniki v. Albania, the sole arbitrator Jan Paulsson preferred to adopt an approach that asked “[…] whether or not ‘the fundamental basis of a claim’ sought to be brought before the international forum is autonomous of claims to be heard elsewhere”.45 Latterly, the ICSID tribunal in H & H Enterprises v. The Arab Republic of Egypt applied a similar test based on the fundamental basis of the claim instead of, for example, a more formalistic triple-identity test.46 In that case, the claimant had argued that the most favoured nation (MFN) clause in the applicable BIT meant 44 Enron Corp. and Ponderosa Assets LP v. Argentina, ICSID Case No. ARB/01/3, Decision on Jurisdiction of 14 January 2004, paras. 97-98. 45 Pantechniki v. Albania, ICSID Case No. ARB/07/21, Award of 30 July 2009, para. 61. 46 Ibid.; H & H Enterprises Investment Inc. v. Arab Republic of Egypt, ICSID Case No. ARB/09/15, Decision on Objections to Jurisdiction of 05 June 2012. See J. Dahlquist, in a newly-surfaced ruling, MFN can’t be used to bypass a fork-in-theroad clause, and the latter clause defeats most of the investor’s claims against Egypt, Investment Arbitration Reporter (2016), available at http://www.iareporter .com/articles/in-newly-surfaced-rulingmfn-cant-be-used-to-bypass-fork-in-the-road- Parallel and Overlapping Proceedings in International Economic Law 347 they could be entitled to better treatment afforded under an alternative BIT which did not contain a fork in the road clause. The Tribunal, however, disagreed. Instead, it found that dispute settlement provisions were different to substantive provisions and that the MFN clause did not cover the former category of provisions.47 Since claims that were fundamentally the same as the present dispute had previously been litigated before another arbitral tribunal and an Egyptian court, the fork in the clause had been triggered.48 Waivers may also be considered as fork in the road-type provisions as they aim at the prevention of the same proceedings being filed in different fora.49 Waivers provide for the renunciation of a party’s rights to a given tribunal. They may be executed voluntarily by parties to litigation or stipulated by a treaty as a precondition to the commencement of litigation. The advantage they offer for the claimant is that the latter may opt to have the case litigated in a local court but still leave open the possibility of investment treaty arbitration later if the investor considers that the treaty standards continue to be violated by the state. Any later investment tribunal would consider the conduct of the host state, including the treatment of the claimant in its domestic courts. The advantage for the host state and for the subsequent investment tribunal is that an investment tribunal does not have to deal with parallel proceedings in the courts of the host state.50 An example of a waiver provision is Article 1121(1) of NAFTA, which states that: A disputing investor may submit a claim under Article 1116 to arbitration only if: (a) the investor consents to arbitration in accordance with the procedures set out in this Agreement; and (b) the investor and, where the claim is for loss or damage to an interest in an enterprise of another Party that is a juridical person that the investor owns or controls directly or indirectly, the enterprise, waive their right to initiate or continue before any administrative tribunal or court under the law of any Party, or other dispute settlement procedures, any proceedings with respect to the measure of the disputing and-latter-clause-defeats-most-of-investors-claims-against-egypt/ (last visited 6 December 2018). 47 Ibid. 48 Ibid. 49 Kaufmann-Kohler et al., supra note 21. 50 McLachlan, supra note 14, 397. Laurence Boisson de Chazournes 348 Party that is alleged to be a breach referred to in Article 1116, except for proceedings for injunctive, declaratory or other extraordinary relief, not involving the payment of damages, before an administrative tribunal or court under the law of the disputing Party. Similarly, under NAFTA’s Article 1120, the investor must choose between NAFTA and UNCITRAL arbitration, and Article 1121(2)(b) of NAFTA then provides that the investor must: waive their right to initiate or continue before any administrative tribunal or court under the law of any Party, or other dispute settlement procedures, any proceedings with respect to the measure of the disputing Party that is alleged to be a breach referred to in Article 1117, except for proceedings for injunctive, declaratory or other extraordinary relief, not involving the payment of damages, before an administrative tribunal or court under the law of the disputing Party. In Waste Management I, an ICSID tribunal concerned itself with this provision and held that the Claimant was obliged “[…] in accordance with the waiver tendered, to abstain from initiating or continuing any proceedings before other courts or tribunals with respect to those measures pleaded as constituting a breach of the provisions of NAFTA”, and that the purpose of Article 1121 was to prevent “[…] the imminent risk that the Claimant may obtain the double benefit in its claim for damages”.51 As is becoming evident, through both fork in the road clauses and waivers, we can see efforts being made by both legislative and judicial actors to answer concerns around the duplication of proceedings and double recovery in particular. Interestingly, newly adopted treaties, such as CETA, have gone a step further. Article 8.22 on “Procedural and other requirements for the submission of a claim to the Tribunal” reads as follows: An investor may only submit a claim pursuant to Article 8.23 if the investor: […] (f) withdraws or discontinues any existing proceeding before a tribunal or court under domestic or international law with respect to a measure alleged to constitute a breach referred to in its claim; and (g) waives its right to initiate any claim or proceeding before a tribunal or court under domestic or international law with respect to a measure alleged to constitute a breach referred to in its claim. 51 Waste Management, Inc. v. United Mexican States, ICSID Case No. ARB(AF)/98/2, Award and Dissenting Opinion of 2 June 2000 and 8 May 2000. Parallel and Overlapping Proceedings in International Economic Law 349 This approach differs from the classically conceived fork in the road provision that leaves the choice of forum to the claimant. Instead, here, the CETA specifically requires that the investor provides evidence that they have discontinued any other proceedings and that they waive their right for any further proceedings. By requiring the claimant to provide evidence that there is no overlapping or parallel proceedings, the CETA adopts an even stronger approach to mitigate the risk of conflicting jurisdiction. It will thus be interesting to see how the distinction between contract claims and treaty claims might be addressed under this scenario. The approach pursued in the EU’s proposal for the TTIP chapter on investment does not contain a fork in the road provision as classically conceived either. Rather, the TTIP Proposal makes explicit the duty of the tribunal to “dismiss a claim by a claimant who has submitted a claim to the Tribunal or to any other domestic and international court or tribunal concerning the same treatment” (Article 14 (2)). This is in fact a strong and sweeping articulation of the fork in the road notion. The tribunal does not just have discretion to stay proceedings before another forum, but rather it has a duty to dismiss a claim that has been submitted to the concerned tribunal or indeed any other domestic or international court or tribunal. Further still, Article 14 (3) (a) (ii) of the TTIP Proposal requires that the claimant provide “evidence that […] it has withdrawn any such claim or proceeding” and that “evidence shall contain, as applicable, proof that a final award, judgment or decision has been made or proof of the withdrawal of any such claim or proceeding”. The doctrine of election has also recently been applied in a creative way by an ICSID tribunal; with the latter also indicating that provision for this doctrine can find application as regards two international proceedings. Article 26 of the ICSID Convention is a good example and provides that “[c]onsent of the parties to arbitration under this Convention shall, unless otherwise stated, be deemed consent to such arbitration to the exclusion of any other remedy”. In the recent Decision on Jurisdiction in Ampal-American v. Egypt,52 the Tribunal found that an abuse of process had crystallized by virtue of the Claimant pursuing a claim before the ICSID Tribunal and the Permanent Court of Arbitration. In paragraph 337 of the Decision, the Tribunal quotes Article 26 of the ICSID Convention and goes on to reproduce a leading commentary on the ICSID Convention53 to indicate that 52 Ampal-American Israel Corp. v. Egypt, ICSID Case No. ARB/12/11, Decision on Jurisdiction of 1 February 2016. 53 C. Schreuer et al., The ICSID Convention: A Commentary (2009). Laurence Boisson de Chazournes 350 consent to ICSID arbitration implies exclusive pursuit of a claim through ICSID (with respect to both international and national proceedings). In the following paragraph the Tribunal says: Such an election would secure to Ampal in the present arbitration the advantages of the ICSID Convention, upon which it places special reliance, whilst removing the abuse constituted by the double pursuit of the same claim.54 The Tribunal subsequently offered the Claimant in that case the option to “[…] elect to pursue [a] portion of the claim in the present proceedings alone by 11 March 2016, or make its choice known at that time”.55 The Tribunal then went on to stipulate that it would reconsider whether there had been an abuse of process by double pursuit of the same claim after the Claimant had indicated its choice to the Tribunal.56 In addition, Article 27 of the ICSID Convention provides: No Contracting State shall give diplomatic protection, or bring an international claim, in respect of a dispute which one of its nationals and another Contracting State shall have consented to submit or shall have submitted to arbitration under this Convention, unless such other Contracting State shall have failed to abide by and comply with the award rendered in such dispute. These treaty provisions and their interpretation by international tribunals demonstrate an evolution in conception and operation of the fork in the road, waiver and election clauses. Whilst the criteria for these clauses to come into effect were previously strictly applied, which had the potential to increase the risk of parallel and overlapping procedures, more recently there has been a trend towards mitigating this risk by including provisions in treaties that are better suited to consolidating, staying or declining jurisdiction. Trade Law Turning now to the trade field, issues related to parallel litigation mechanisms can arise between free trade agreements and the WTO as well as be- B. 54 Ibid., para. 338. 55 Ibid., para. 339. 56 Ibid. Parallel and Overlapping Proceedings in International Economic Law 351 tween two free trade agreements.57 The fact that many free trade agreements are making provision for autonomous dispute settlement mechanisms, leaves open the possibility for overlapping jurisdictions and conflicting judgments. However, the existence of parallel adjudication mechanisms is increasingly being dealt with through choice of forum clauses. Under NAFTA, for example, to deal with mitigating the risks of overlapping jurisdiction its Article 2005 allows applicant parties to choose whether to bring their claims before NAFTA or GATT dispute-settlement mechanisms, but also provides: 6. Once dispute settlement procedures have been initiated under Article 2007 or dispute settlement proceedings have been initiated under the GATT, the forum selected shall be used to the exclusion of the other, unless a Party makes a request pursuant to paragraph 3 or 4. The operation of Article 2005 is evident in the case-law of the WTO Dispute Se