Hetq Online, Armenia
Claim against ROA Government
9 April 2007
Global Gold mining company submitted its claim to the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a body adjunct to the World Bank, against the Government of the Republic of Armenia (ROA). The Company is trying to protect its investment rights in arbitration court. International lawyer of Global Gold Ken Fleuriet, a representative of King & Spalding company, answered Hetq ’ s questions.
Hetq- When and on what grounds did you apply to ICSID?
K.Fleuriet - Global Gold submitted its Request for Arbitration to ICSID on January 19, 2007, and the Request was registered by ICSID on February 20, 2007. The case has been brought under the bilateral investment treaty between the United States and Armenia dated September 23, 1992 and the protections accorded to U.S. investments under that treaty.
Hetq- Is the claim a transparent document? If yes, how can we familiarize ourselves with it?
K.Fleuriet - The claim is not a public document, although decisions rendered by the arbitral tribunal at a later stage will be public.
Hetq- As far as we know, the claim contains facts referring to the activity of ROA Minister of Environment Vardan Aivazyan. Please specify those mistakes of Aivazyan ’ s administration, which are crucial for initiating arbitral proceedings.
K.Fleuriet - You are correct that the claims against the ROA are based upon the conduct of the ROA’s Minister of Environment, Vardan Ayvazian. Ayvazian demanded a bribe from Global Gold, which the company refused to pay.
Since that time, Ayvazian has tried to take Global Gold’s rights to work away, placed multiple extra legal road blocks in front of Global Gold, including issuing a purported competing license for one of Global Gold’s mining sites to a political ally linked to a company called Golden Ore, and attempted to sell the company’s licenses to other groups, including a company doing business in Georgia. In the meantime, Golden Ore does not even appear to be a mining or an exploration company but does appear interested in cutting trees on property where Global Gold is doing exploration work.
Hetq- Could you please tell us what kind of stages the claim shall undergo and its current status?
K.Fleuriet - The case is currently at the stage of appointing the arbitral tribunal. Once the tribunal is appointed, both sides will make written submissions, followed by a hearing and ultimately the tribunal ’ s award.
Hetq- We would like also to know the variants of possible developments—whether the proceeding foresees possible reconciliation of the sides. If yes, is there any deadline for the sides to reconcile?
K.Fleuriet - It is always possible to settle a case, and there is no deadline for doing so. Global Gold has been and continues to be willing to discuss an amicable settlement with the ROA or its representatives at any time.
The company is committed to Armenia; the types of problems it is encountering harm everyone except a few people.
Hetq- As far as we know, Global Gold Corporation also demands a financial compensation. How the amount of the compensation is going to be calculated?
K.Fleuriet - Compensation will be calculated and determined during the course of the arbitration on the basis of expert analysis.
Hetq- Does the ICSID has any levers to make its verdict obligatory for the ROA Government, if the verdict of the ICSID is in favor of Global Gold, but the Government refuses to pay the appropriate compensation?
K.Fleuriet - The award will be obligatory upon the ROA under the terms of the ICSID Convention, to which Armenia is a party. An award is enforceable against ROA assets in any country that is a party to the ICSID Convention.