The investor initiated the annulment ICSID proceedings in 2017. During the appointment of the Committee, the Respondent countered the candidature of the President because of his publication in a one daily newspaper. Nevertheless, the General Secretary confirmed its recommendation to appoint that arbitrator as the President of the ad hoc Committee. The Respondent opposed again such a nomination and requested the Chairman of the ICSID Administrative Council to dismiss that recommendation. Where the Committee was constituted under the presidency of the abovementioned arbitrator, Venezuela challenged its appointment under Article 57 of the ICSID Convention, as well as Rule 9 and 53 of the ICSID Arbitration Rules. As alleged by Venezuela, the arbitrator’s publication proved its general mistrust towards it. It challenged the arbitrator on the three grounds, namely its partiality (1), consistent appointment under ICSID annulment proceedings against Venezuela (2) and his failure to renounce such an appointment (3). In its turn, the challenged President provided parties with an explanation regarding the situation.
The ad hoc Committee, considering that the request to disqualify its President is submitted in conformity with the relevant procedural Rules, dismisses on the merits. First, the ad hoc Committee analyses the publication and rejects the allegation of the partiality of its President. Second, it concludes that the fact that the President has been appointed five times as a member of different annulment ad hoc Committees in cases against Venezuela is not sufficient to disqualify him. The ad hoc Committee conducts this analysis principally on the grounds of the ICSID instruments, as well as, for the hypothetical purposes, of the IBA Rules invoked by Respondent. Finally, it emphasizes that it is impossible to allege that an opposition to appointment of an arbitrator entails automatically its disqualification. Thus, no reproach can be made to the President who has not declined its appointment.