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Keywords

Foreign investments-BIT- Investment contracts- Disputed maritime zones- Force majeure- Maritime contestation- Provisional measures- Maritime delimitation

Abstract

Sovereign rights in Exclusive economic zones and Continental shelves are functionally limited to the economic exploitation of these zones. Moreover, in the case of disputed maritime zones these sovereign rights are neither exclusive nor necessarily constant. Nevertheless, states are still expected to provide the investments established in these zones the same treatment they should provide in their territories where they exercise full and constant sovereignty. If a host state agrees to the establishment of an investment in a maritime zone that become later contested, do the occurrence of the contestation and the hazards arising from such contestation relief the host state from its contractual and treaty obligations toward the investment by virtue of the force majeure concept. This paper argues that a traditional interpretation of the force majeure concept in respect of investment agreements and contracts, hampers states ability to de-escalate their maritime disputes, diminishes its capacity to conclude delimitation agreements and reduces the promotion of the UNCLOS III as well as its mechanisms for disputes settlement. It proposes a contextualist interpretation of the force majeure concept that is adapted to the exploitation of disputed maritime zones and states obligations under the international law of the sea. First, it examines the concept of force majeure as a doc-trinal hypothesis and its applications in international contracts and international in-vestment agreements. Second, it analyzes the legal act of maritime contestation as a force majeure event according to the possible interpretations of the concept of “force majeure”. Finally, it examines the recurrent legal implications susceptible of arising out of a contestation; provisional orders and unfavorable delimitation and their qualifica-tion as a force majeure event in the realm of investment agreements and contract.

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