Commissions | 13.12.2022

Report on the International Arbitration Commission's working sessions at the UIA annual congress

1. The International Arbitration Commission's session

The International Arbitration Commission’s working session at the 2022 UIA Annual Congress took place on 28 October from 09:30 to 13:00.

The session, which was introduced by Álvaro López de Argumedo (President of the Commission), mainly dealt with arbitration and human rights. This topic was tackled from two different perspectives: investment arbitration and commercial arbitration. Our moderators and speakers came from seven countries (Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the US).

The session involved one keynote speech and two panels. The keynote speech was delivered by Aïssatou Diop, a legal consultant at the World Bank, based in Washington, D.C. (United States of America). She presented the new 2022 ICSID Arbitration Rules.

Panel 1 discussed arbitration and human rights from an investment arbitration perspective.

In particular, the following subtopics were analysed:

  • (i) interactions between arbitration law and human rights;
  • (ii) jurisdiction and applicable law;
  • (iii) sources of law; and
  • (iv) human rights as part of public policy.


This first panel was co-moderated by Jane Willems, who is based in Paris (France) and is a partner at Willems Avocats, and Laurence Kiffer, who is also based in Paris (France) and a founding partner of Laurence Kiffer Avocats. The speakers in charge of discussing the subtopics covered by this panel were Prof. Makane Moïse Mbengue, an academic at the University of Geneva, who is also based in Geneva (Switzerland), and Sebastián Green Martínez, who is a senior associate specialising in international arbitration at Uría Menéndez, based in Madrid (Spain). Panel 2 discussed arbitration and human rights from a commercial arbitration perspective.

The subtopics covered:

  • (i) access to justice and the European Convention on Human Rights; and
  • (ii) the application of the Hague Rules on Business and Human Rights.

This second panel was moderated by Andrea Carlevaris, who is a partner at BonelliErede and is based in Rome (Italy).

This panel had three speakers: Sally el Sawah, who is a co-founder of Junction Law (based in Paris, France) and also a partner at El Sawah Law (based in Cairo, Egypt); Marc Henry, who is a partner at FTMS Avocats (based in Paris, France); and Leyou Tameru, who is the founder of I-Arb Africa and is based in Ethiopia.

2. The joint session with the OHADA Commission

The joint session with the OHADA Commission took place on 29 October from 09:30 to 13:00 and dealt with investment and commercial arbitration in OHADA. The session was introduced by Martial Akakpo (President of the OHADA Commission) and Álvaro López de Argumedo (President of the International Arbitration Commission). Our moderators and speakers came from six countries (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, France, Senegal and Togo).

Panel 1, on investment arbitration in OHADA, included the following subtopics:

  • (i) an introduction to the OHADA investment arbitration framework;
  • (ii) a comparative analysis of the competitiveness of OHADA investment arbitration;
  • (iii) the OHADA arbitration procedure based on bilateral investment treaties; and (iv) the enforcement of OHADA arbitration awards and sovereignty of OHADA member states.


This first panel was moderated by Achille Ngwanza, who is a professor at the Ecole Régionale Supérieure de Magistrature de l’OHADA and at Université Paris-Saclay and is based in Paris (France).

The panel was made up of four speakers: Cédric Fisher, who is a founding partner of FTMS Avocats and is based in Paris (France); Annie Ayélé Gbadoe Deckon, who works at Aquereburu & Partners and is based in Lomé (Togo); Luc Christian Nonango Djomo, who is a lawyer at Tavo David & Co. and is based in Yaondé (Cameroon); and Noël K. Bokodjin, who is a manager at Étude Maître Bokodjin, based in Lomé (Togo).

Panel 2, on commercial arbitration in OHADA and natural resources, included the following subtopics:

  • (i) the resolution of mining disputes in OHADA jurisdictions;
  • (ii) arbitration of environmental disputes related to the exploitation of mineral resources; and
  • (iii) arbitration of petroleum and gas disputes.

This second panel was moderated by Marie-Andrée Ngwe, who is a partner at Cabinet Maître Marie-Andrée Ngwe, based in Douala (Cameroon).

There were five speakers: Mouhamed Kébé, who is a partner at Geni & Kebe, based in Dakar (Senegal); Joachim Bilé Aka, who is a partner at Bile-Aka, Brizoua-Bi & Associés, based in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire); Kalala Tshibangu, who is an academic based in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo); Habibatou Touré, who is legal counsel at Habibatou Touré and is based in Dakar (Senegal); and Laurence Franc-Menget, who is a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills and is based in Paris (France).

* * * Both the International Arbitration Session and the Joint Session with the OHADA Commission were well-attended and proved to be a great success. We had the privilege of addressing fascinating and current topics with top-notch speakers and moderators from all over the world and received very positive feedback from all of those who attended.