On 17 May 2018, the Chairman of the Administrative Council issued his decision on Croatia’s proposal to disqualify a Member of the arbitral tribunal in the Raiffeisen Bank International AG and Raiffeisenbank Austria d.d. v. Republic of Croatia case.
Croatia filed the proposal on the basis of Article 57 of the ICSID Convention and Rule 9 of the ICSID Arbitration Rules. The request was based on many grounds, namely multiple appointments of the challenged arbitrator by Claimants in other ICSID proceedings and by the other claimants in ICSID cases against Croatia (1), consideration of the same legal issue in multiple arbitrations (2) and cross-appointments with the Claimant’s counsel (3).
Having recalled the applicable legal standard of challenging under ICSID arbitration, the Chairman rejects the Respondent’s proposal that does not satisfy the established threshold. First, he dismisses the claim of multiple appointments by Claimants and more generally in the cases against Croatia since there was not any evidence of bias or any evidence of financial dependence of the challenged arbitrator. Second, the Chairman notes that an arbitrator’s involvement in multiple proceedings with the same legal issue is not sufficient for his disqualification. In the absence of the overlap of facts and parties, this ground is ill-founded. Finally, cross-appointments as such do not meet the standard of disqualification and therefore, this claim is also rejected.