• Professor Olusesan Oliyide Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Nigeria and Visiting Professor, Babcock University, Ilisan-Remo, Nigeria
  • Francis Ohiwere Oleghe LLB, LLM, MPhil, PhD candidate at Babcock University, Ilisan-Remo, Nigeria
  • Professor Yinka Olomojobi Professor of International Law, Babcock University, Ilisan-Remo, Nigeria



Against the backdrop of the rising popularity of arbitration in settling international commercial disputes and increasing access to justice, generally, and the relevance of Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) and International investment arbitration (IIA), as subsets of international commercial arbitration, particularly, as well as the growing concerns about ISDS and IIA and the agitation for the reform of these twin-subsets of international commercial arbitration, this paper assesses the imperative of IIA tribunals giving human rights norms prime consideration in ISDS cases, as one of the multiple reform-strategies for ISDS and IIA, which should yield to continuing attraction of both ISDS and IIA, as major components of international commercial arbitration. The paper finds that IIA tribunals giving human rights norms adequate consideration in ISDS cases is, indeed, inevitable, as a strategy for the continuing attraction of both ISDS and IIA in international commercial dispute settlement and it makes valuable contributions in that regard.

Keywords: Arbitration, ISDS, IIA, Justice, Human Rights   


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The relevant municipal laws are the Arbitration and Mediation Act 2023 (AMA), and the NIPC Act (n 146).

The relevant rules are the Arbitration Rules, First Schedule to the AMA.

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Oliyide (n 24) 98, 202 citing JAK Thompson (trans), Aristotle: The Nicomachean Ethics (Penguin Classics 1955) cited in JD Ogundare, The Nigerian Judge and His Court (University Press 1994) 103.

Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT) 23 May 1969, 1155 U.N.T.S. 331.

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See Hilary Charlesworth, ‘A Regulatory Perspective on the International Human Rights System’ in Peter Drahos (ed), Regulatory Theory (ANU Press, 2017) 357.

This provision is apt as it covers all business activities, including local investments that violate human rights.

Proposed UN Binding Treaty on TNCs, art 1.2.

See also Draft United Nations Code of Conduct on Transnational Corporations [1983 version], art 1(4), which provides that the provisions of the Code ‘are not intended to introduce differences of conduct between transnational corporations and domestic enterprises. Wherever the provisions are relevant to both, transnational corporations and domestic enterprises should be subject to the same expectations in regard to their conduct.’

Cf. ILO Tripartite Declaration para 11, which provides that ‘[t]he principles laid down in this Declaration do not aim at introducing or maintaining inequalities of treatment between multinational and national enterprises. They reflect good practice for all. Multinational and national enterprises, wherever the principles of this Declaration are relevant to both, should be subject to the same expectations in respect of their conduct in general and their social practices in particular.’ Also, cf. OECD Guidelines (n 782) pt 1, paras 4 and 5.

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See, for example, Social and Economic Rights Action Centre and Centre for Economic and Social Rights v Nigeria, Communication 155/96 (2001), concerning Nigeria’s complicity in the degradation of the Ogoni land.

See UNCTAD (n 186) 3.