Final remarks of the Russian Deputy Minister of Justice Mikhail Galperin at the hearings of the Dutch Supreme Court on 5 February 2021
I appreciate the opportunity to address you briefly today on behalf of the Russian Federation.
We are under no illusion that Russia can count on the favorable opinions of the European public these days. In different venues, the Russian Federation is being accused of aggressive actions, non-compliance with the standards of liberal Western democracy, and even ignoring its international obligations. But today’s case is not about attitudes toward Russia. It is not about politics and emotions, but about fundamental legal positions, which will define the shape of Dutch and international law for many years to come. I hope that your Court will not fall under the influence of political considerations, and will focus only on the legal aspects of the cassation complaint.
Even in the most resonant cases, it is easier to reach a decision, understanding that politics will change over time, and passions will subside, but legal principles must remain unchanged.
The claimants are requesting that you dismiss our complaint and, in this way, are asking you to punish Russia. But the approach that the Court will adopt today will matter not only for Russia and not only for the YUKOS case. This approach will be followed in hundreds of other cases, in which the Respondents will be different States, including the Netherlands and other States of the European Union. The YUKOS case is not just the largest case in the history of international investment arbitration from the perspective of the amount of compensation. The very future of investment arbitration in the Netherlands, Europe, and around the world depends on your decision. And, for the future of international arbitration, the claimants’ wrongful claims should be rejected, as the District Court of The Hague did in 2016.
Our lawyers have raised a number of solid legal arguments, each of which requires the annulment of the ruling of the Court of Appeal and the investment arbitration decisions under Dutch or European law. I will not burden you by repeating those arguments. We ask that you objectively evaluate them in the most attentive manner in the interests of fair justice.
I am not a specialist in Dutch law, although, before becoming Deputy Minister of Justice, for many years I taught and practiced Russian and international law. I also represent Russia in the European Court of Human Rights and other international and foreign tribunals.
But one doesn’t need to be an experienced jurist to see the validity of our legal arguments. They are clear and understandable for the ordinary reasonable person.