The Togolese Republic leased some real estate to Accor Afrique SAS. The dispute between the parties concerned the extent of the work to be done by the lessee and the right to renewal of the lease. The arbitration clause contained in the lease agreement was as follows: “(…) Any dispute arising out of the interpretation or execution of this agreement is to be settled amicably.
In the absence of an amicable agreement, all disputes arising from the interpretation of this agreement shall be settled definitively in accordance with the arbitration rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (…)”.
Togo brought an action for annulment of a partial award that upheld the jurisdiction of an ICC tribunal. The Court proceeded to the interpretation of the clause and rejected the claim on the basis that the intention of the parties was not to reduce the arbitration to the only questions of interpretation of the contract. The Court noted that if the will to resort to arbitration is clear, and the contract does not provide for any other means of dispute settlement, the arbitration clause shall not be understood as depriving the intervention of arbitrators of efficiency, by dividing the same dispute between the arbitral tribunal and state courts.