Corporate investments in a foreign country are regulated by a global web of international investment agreements. These agreements – which are made between states – offer legal protection to investments in one state by individuals or companies of a foreign state, particularly against measures that negatively impact property such as expropriation without compensation.
The agreements furthermore allow for arbitration tribunals to be convened in case of disputes concerning foreign investments. The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) at the World Bank facilitates dispute resolution between states and companies. The decisions made by these arbitration tribunals are legally binding and can for example oblige a state to pay compensation to a company. In bilateral agreements, the adherence to human rights and environmental standards often only plays a minor role.
Local residents of the Romanian region of Roșia Montană successfully opposed the building of a gold mine. Now, mining company Gabriel Resources is suing the Romanian state. ECCHR and its partner organizations have filed an amicus petition and are supporting the community so that their rights continue to be taken into consideration.
In 2012, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) of the World Bank rejected a joint petition from ECCHR and the chiefs of four indigenous communities to be admitted as amici curiae in two cases in which European investors sought to sue the Government of Zimbabwe.