This article provides interesting insights on the jurisdiction of the Southern African Development Community ("SADC") Tribunal. It also considers the impact of this jurisdiction on the settlement of disputes within the SADC region. The article also considers the extent to which the removal of private access from the Tribunal's jurisdiction affects the settlement of trade disputes within SADC; , and whether the Tribunal is reconcilable with the World Trade Organization ("WTO")'s dispute settlement mechanism, which is regarded as being one of the salient features of the international trading regime.
The courts, utilising their Constitution given powers, have in certain cases declared foreign policy unconstitutional for being inconsistent with the Constitution. The courts have also interpreted foreign policy in order to bring it in line with the Constitution. In so doing, it can be argued that courts have invariably played a role in the making and implementation of South Africa’s foreign policy.
If Africa is genuinely interested in the reforms of ISDS then the words of the Kenyan delegation at the UNCITRAL working group must be our yards stick; the desired outcome will only be achieved when we begin to consider the substantive issues in an open, frank, free, and transparent manner, noting the need to fast track the conclusion of a holistic reform process of the ISDS. Perceptions and plausible folk theories aimed at nothing but creating hegemony in ISDS must be shunned. My crystal ball tells me that ISDS is here to stay, thus we must make no mistakes, but shape ISDS to suit our future interests.
The Award in Oded Besserglik v. Republic of Mozambique, one of the very few publicly known intra African treaty-based investment arbitration cases, was issued 29th October 2019. The case started when in March 2014, a South African national (Mr. Besserglik) filed an application, before the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), against the Mozambique (the Respondent) on the grounds that his shares and interests in a joint fishing venture with some Mozambican State-owned enterprises, as well as his vessels, were unlawfully and fraudulently appropriated by the Respondent.
August 19, 2019
One would be justified in thinking that AU member states have intentionally created a court which they consciously know they would hardly use given the inertia identified above. If the reforms that would extend standing to private parties are not undertaken, there is little guarantee that Member States will suddenly change their habits. Assuming for once that they trigger the mechanism, it is also very likely that, consistent with their practice for political solutions to legal problems, they would not proceed beyond the consultation and good offices stages provided in Articles 7 and 8 of the Dispute Settlement Protocol.