Reproduced from www.worldbank.org/icsid with permission of ICSID.
I. Procedural Background
1. The Request for Arbitration of Mr. Hasanov dated October 19, 2020, was registered by the Secretary-General of ICSID on October 30, 2020, in accordance with Article 36(3) of the ICSID Convention.1 The Tribunal was subsequently constituted on February 18, 2021, in accordance with Article 37(2)(a) of the ICSID Convention.
2. On February 24, 2021, the Respondent filed a request for bifurcation of the proceeding ("Bifurcation Request"). With reference to Articles 41(2) and 44 of the ICSID Convention, as well as ICSID Arbitration Rules 19 and 41(3), the Bifurcation Request asked that the Tribunal exercise its discretion to bifurcate the proceeding to hear the Respondent's objection based on Article 9 of the Azerbaijan-Georgia Bilateral Investment Treaty as a preliminary objection.
3. The Claimant opposed the Bifurcation Request by letter dated March 8, 2021. The Claimant argued that the objection was not meritorious, and that bifurcation would not promote procedural economy and would cause unnecessary cost and delay. If the Bifurcation Request were granted, the Claimant requested that the bifurcated issue proceed on an expedited calendar.
4. Pursuant to ICSID Arbitration Rule 13(1), the Tribunal held a first session with the parties on March 19, 2021, by videoconference, during which the parties made oral submissions on the Bifurcation Request, supported by `power point' slides.
5. Following the first session, the Tribunal informed the parties, by ICSID's letter of March 19, 2021, of its decision to grant the request for bifurcation:
In view of the parties' agreed timetable for a potential bifurcation phase, the Tribunal wishes to indicate now the determination that it reached in deliberations following today's first session. In due course, once Procedural Order No. 1 has been issued, the Tribunal shall issue a further procedural order in which the bifurcation determination is formally rendered.
The Tribunal has decided that Respondent's Application for Bifurcation of the "Inter-State Negotiation Objection" shall be granted.
Accordingly, the parties are directed to adhere to Steps 1-3 in the joint timetable previously submitted to the Tribunal, with the hearing date in Step 3 being 12 May 2021, as discussed during the first session.
The Tribunal thanks the parties for their submissions today.
II. Tribunal's Analysis
A. The Respondent's Position in Support of Bifurcation
B. The Claimant's Opposition to Bifurcation
C. The Tribunal's Resolution of the Bifurcation Request
16. For the reasons set out in paragraph 15 above, the Tribunal determines that the Bifurcation Request is GRANTED. The briefing and hearing schedule for addressing the Objection as a preliminary issue shall proceed as set out in Annex A to Procedural Order No. 1.
17. Costs are reserved.
For and on behalf of the Tribunal
President of the Tribunal
Date: March 26, 2021