Mark Bravin, a partner in Winston & Strawn's Washington, D.C. office who focuses his practice on international dispute resolution and international trade, was quoted in CDR (Commercial Dispute Resolution) on April 25, 2012. In the article, "South Sudan joins ICSID as armed conflict escalates," Mr. Bravin discusses the significance of the new nation of South Sudan ratifying the ICSID Convention.
As CDR reports, while South Sudan formalized its accession to ICSID on April 18, the Republic of Sudan was declaring its government an official enemy of state and preparing warplanes for engagement. While the ratification of the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (the Washington Convention) usually increases a country's investment prospects, it is unlikely that in South Sudan's case the announcement will be met with generous foreign investors.
"The signing of the Washington Convention by South Sudan is a very positive development," said Mr. Bravin. "In order to attract foreign investors, the government of this new nation has acknowledged the importance of consenting to the use of a neutral forum for resolving investor-state disputes," he added.
However, as a result of the recent developments, Bravin explained: "The onset of armed conflict in South Sudan will almost certainly cause potential investors to put their plans on hold. Potential investors will see this as a force majeure in which contractual obligations may be disregarded. I do not see the country's ICSID membership as offering much to address investors' specific concerns in these circumstances."