By Clovis Trevino, Covington & Burling LLP
YAI TALKS#, a new conversation series launched by the ITA Young Arbitrators Initiative (YAI) under the leadership of YAI chair Montserrat Manzano (Von Wobeser y Sierra, Mexico City) and vice chair Silvia Marchili (King & Spalding, Houston), kicked off on May 12 in Washington, D.C., with a debate on claims by dual nationals against countries of their own nationality, and a panel discussion on issues pertaining to collection in the context of treaty-based arbitral awards. The first YAI TALK was hosted by Manzano and Marchili, at the office of co-sponsor Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP.
David Orta of Quinn Emanuel opened the first panel with an overview of Serafín García Armas v. Venezuela, an UNCITRAL case holding that a father and daughter with dual Venezuelan-Spanish nationality are able to sue Venezuela under the Spain-Venezuela BIT. Framing the debate, Orta highlighted Venezuela’s main jurisdictional objections; mainly, that applicable rules of international law impede the admission of claims by dual nationals against their own states, especially if the nationality of the respondent state is the predominant or effective nationality of the claimant.