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One of ICSID arbitration's perceived strengths—and one of its most characteristic features—is its internal mechanism for reviewing arbitral awards. Awards issued outside the ICSID Convention framework are generally open to challenge before domestic courts, with the uncertainty that entails. In contrast, actions to annul ICSID awards are brought not before domestic courts, but before an ad hoc committee specifically convened by ICSID.
There have been only seven ICSID annulment decisions, five of which are published. The two earliest decisions—annulling the awards in Klöckner v. Cameroon (1985) and Amco v. Indonesia (1986)—were poorly received, leading some commentators to cast doubt on the effectiveness of ICSID arbitration as a whole. This criticism subsided following the partial annulment decision in MINE v. Guinea (1989) and the unpublished decisions dismissing the applications to annul the awards rendered in the resubmitted Klöckner (1990) and Amco (1992) disputes.
Ten years then passed before, in 2002, the next ICSID annulment decisions were rendered, with the dismissal of the application in Wena v. Egypt and the partial annulment of the award in Vivendi v. Argentina. These significant decisions have recently been published, and it is their impact that provides the focus for this work.
The Annulment of ICSID Awards also addresses the role of national courts, the Metalclad annulment decision, and the U.S. Trade Act calling for an appellate mechanism in foreign investment matters.