In its decision on jurisdiction, the arbitral tribunal in World Wide Minerals v. Republic of Kazakhstan held that Kazakhstan succeeded to the obligations of the Soviet Union with regards to its 1989 Agreement with Canada on the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments.
The aim of this article is to examine the potential legal reasoning by which the arbitral tribunal reached this conclusion. In order to do so, the rules of State succession, as partly codified in the 1978 Vienna Convention on Succession of States in respect of Treaties, are considered. Taking special note of the particularities of the case of the USSR, the specific circumstances of the dissolution of the Soviet Union are examined. In particular, the question of which (if any) obligations may have fallen upon Kazakhstan as a former Soviet Republic is explored.
The article concludes by suggesting which arguments may have been used by each of the parties with regards to State succession during the arbitral proceeding and why the Tribunal may have found the arguments proposed by the Claimant to be more persuasive.
As a result of this decision, the door could be opened for investors wishing to benefit from the protections included in bilateral investment treaties from the USSR-era, which had until now remained inactive or whose commitments had been honoured exclusively by the Russian Federation.ASA Bulletin