Permanent Court of Arbitration enters into Host Country Agreement with the Republic of Ecuador
On Monday, 17 October 2022, in Quito, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility of the Republic of Ecuador, Mr. Juan Carlos Holguín, and the Secretary-General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (“PCA”), Marcin Czepelak, signed a Host Country Agreement that establishes a framework for PCA proceedings and other activities to take place in the country.
The signing ceremony was followed by a meeting between PCA representatives and Ecuador’s Prosecutor-General, Dr. Diana Salazar, together with various Ecuadorian Members of the PCA, as well as other government representatives.
As part of his visit to Quito, Mr. Czepelak gave a lecture about the PCA and its activities in Ecuador at the Universidad de las Américas, where Mr. Czepelak met with its President, Dr. Gonzalo Mendieta, the Dean of the Law School, Dr. Álvaro Galindo and the Legal Secretary to the President of Ecuador, Mr. Fabián Pozo. The presentation was followed by an interactive session moderated by Dr. Galindo, by which PCA Senior Legal Counsel Messrs. Martin Doe Rodríguez and Julian Bordaçahar answered questions from the audience. During his visit, Mr. Czepelak also met with the Attorney-General of Ecuador, Dr. Íñigo Salvador Crespo and Dra. Claudia Salgado Levy, Director for International Affairs and Arbitration. Additionally, PCA representatives took the opportunity to meet with various representatives of the Ecuadorian arbitration community.
Under the terms of the Host Country Agreement, the Republic of Ecuador grants privileges and immunities to officials of the PCA, arbitrators, and participants in PCA-administered cases. The Agreement also establishes a framework for the PCA to request the use of facilities, as needed for PCA-administered proceedings and PCA meetings taking place in Ecuador.
Since the 1990s, the PCA has adopted a policy of concluding Host Country Agreements with its Contracting Parties with the goal of making its dispute resolution services more widely accessible throughout the world, not just at its headquarters at the Peace Palace in The Hague. Through such agreements, the host country and the PCA establish a legal framework within which PCA-administered proceedings (including arbitration, conciliation, mediation, and fact-finding commissions of inquiry) can be conducted in the territory of the host country on an ad hoc basis under equivalent conditions to those guaranteed by the PCA’s Headquarters Agreement with the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Other countries with which the PCA has concluded Host Country Agreements include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China (in respect of Hong Kong SAR), Costa Rica, Djibouti, India, Ireland, Malaysia, Mauritius, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Uruguay and Viet Nam.