The Unified Agreement for the Investment of Arab Capital in the Arab States (UAIAC) was first signed in 1980, and modified in 2013. The UAIAC includes a chapter on dispute settlement that refers the disputing Parties to the Arab Investment Court (AIC).
The AIC was set up to arbitrate disputes involving states that are members of the Arab League and Arab investors. Some Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT) concluded by Arab countries refer to the AIC as an arbitration mechanism in the investor-state dispute settlement provisions.
At present, there are thirteen judges and thirteen alternates, each holding a different Arab nationality. The AIC is basically composed of at least five judges, and a number of alternate members – again each holding a different Arab nationality – and with Chambers of not less than three judges to settle the cases submitted. Final awards rendered by state courts in Arab member states are directly enforced by the AIC.
The AIC is a largely unknown regional structure despite its not negligible importance.
The jurisdiction of the AIC, in its present form, is deficient as it does not operate under conditions that conform to the requirements of international standards and, as such, is seriously deficient. As it stands, it seems almost inevitable that the Economic and Social Council of the Arab League should re-examine – in the medium term – the functioning of the AIC. Let us hope that this time the various actors involved in the reform will sufficiently anticipate the resulting changes in order to achieve a systematic and far-reaching outcome.