Why Can Corporate Interests Trump Sovereign Rights? by therealnews.com, February 10, 2013
JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay in Baltimore. In Canada, the Quebec government passed a law restricting, prohibiting the use of fracking for to get natural gas. Well, now a company that is based in Calgary, owned in the United States, is now suing the Quebec government under the NAFTA treaty for millions of dollars because they say their right to exploit this gas has been taken away. And this type of lawsuit, this threat of lawsuit against sovereign countries and governments who try to enact certain public policy is taking place all over the world. Now joining us to talk about this from Geneva is Raghavan. He’s an international trade and investment expert. … So what would you like to see? What type of treaties, what type of international law to govern trade, what model would make sense to you, in these treaties, if people were to demand changes, what should they be demanding? What would you like to see as the legal framework for this?
RAGHAVAN: First and foremost should be these private lawyers settling this matter among themselves [incompr.] is a conflict of interest. General theories of judicial conflicts of interest, judicial open courts, judicial issues being claimed that are clearly, before they come to answer to the court, rule of law and natural justice require [incompr.] what exactly? You can’t have—it should be fair and equitable treatment. And for me, fair and equitable treatment should mean that I should continue to make profits against your environment problems, against your health, against [incompr.] You cannot have that kind of a right, overriding health and other equitable interests of the local country concerned. That is a real problem. It has to be a different kind of a convention, open court, like the International Court of Justice. Their hearings are open. So other people do it. People cannot—there are only people. If two governments go before the International Court of Justice, if one of the governments is not represented on the court, it is enabled to have an associate judge. And I think more beyond that, the judges were [incompr.] elected are public, are known. The judges who are elected and serving don’t go and also act as lawyers for companies or other countries. They don’t go and solicit cases. [Emphasis added]
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