Fifteen Dutch commercial farmers whose property was taken through expropriation or unlawful acts by the government of Zimbabwe have been notified that their request for arbitration against Zimbabwe was registered on April 15 by the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a World Bank dispute resolution forum.
The claims (valued in excess of $15 million) have been brought pursuant to the bilateral investment treaty (BIT) between the Netherlands and Zimbabwe. Under the BIT, the government promises to pay compensation to Dutch nationals in the event that their property is expropriated, and submit to arbitration at ICSID in the event of a dispute arising out of an investment in Zimbabwe. ICSID awards are enforceable in the 140 states that have ratified the Washington Convention on the enforcement of arbitral awards as if they were judgments of the courts in those states.
Dutch claimants are represented by Charles Owen Verrill Jr., a partner in the Washington, DC office of Wiley Rein & Fielding LLP; Matthew Coleman, a partner of Bishop & Sewell in London, and Boyd Carr, a partner in Coghlan Welsh & Guest of Harare.