The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was formed on December 8, 1991 by Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine on the basis of the Minsk Agreement Establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States. The States committed to seek balanced development within a common economic area, to achieve international cooperation and integration and to refrain from using force, economic pressure or any other coercive methods.
The Alma-Ata Declaration (December 21, 1991) states, in particular, that cooperation within the Commonwealth shall be based on the principle of equality by means of coordinating institutions formed on a parity basis and acting in the manner determined by arrangements between CIS Member States.
At this time CIS Member States actively started to develop the legal base in different areas for strengthening cooperation within CIS. This work revealed the necessity of creating an effective legal body aimed to resolve possible disputes and conflicts among the CIS States granting equal opportunities and adequate protection of the rights and legitimate interests within the Commonwealth.
Moreover, there was no independent body authorized to interpret provisions of the CIS agreements and acts, the number of which had been growing steadily.
In addition, some legislative acts of the former Soviet Union were still in force, which led to occasional conflict of laws between that acts and legal provisions of the CIS.
Therefore, the necessity of establishing an international judicial body authorized to resolve disputes that go beyond the competence of the CIS national courts was obvious.
For the first time the idea was announced during the Alma-Ata Declaration’s signing and brought into effect on 21 December 1991in the Agreement on cooperation between commercial, arbitration courts of the Republic of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. The Parties recognized in Article 12 the intention to create the Arbitration (Economic) Court of the Commonwealth.
Further inquiry on the legal form of the institute of dispute resolution, which would be the most adapted to the realities of the Commonwealth, led to the unambiguous conclusion in favor of the establishment of an international judicial body without arbitration functions as such functions do not satisfy principal requirements to specific goals and objectives of international dispute settlement. Moreover, as it was previously demonstrated in practice of other reputable international organizations (UN, EU), only judicial institution is the most effective, efficient, and productive for the civilized dispute resolution.
The CIS States emphasized again a decision to establish the CIS Commertial Court in the Tashkent Agreement on the measures on improvement of payments between entities of the CIS countries (May 15, 1992).As underlined in Article 5 of this Agreement the main purpose of that future Court was settlement of interstate economic disputes that are beyond the competence of the high economic national courts of the CIS States. For this purpose, the State Parties agreed to prepare draft agreement on the Court’s functioning for the next meeting of the Council of Heads of the CIS States.
During the preparation of statutory documents of the Court, it was decided to call it “the Economic Court of the Commonwealth of Independent States”, as this name fully reflected to the challenges that would be addressed to the first international judicial body in the Commonwealth.
On the 6th of July, 1992 in Moscow, at the meeting of the supreme body of the Commonwealth, the CIS Council of Heads of States, the leaders of eight countries — Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — signed the Agreement on the Status of the Economic Court of the Commonwealth of Independent States, which at the same time approved the Regulation on the Economic Court of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
This Agreement became one of history’s watersheds on international justice in the Commonwealth. The CIS member states reaffirmed their commitment to adhere strictly to universally recognized norms and principles of international law, including peaceful settlement of international disputes.
The importance of the creation of the CIS Economic Court for the CIS countries is demonstrated by the fact that the Agreement on the status of the CIS Economic Court of July 6, 1992 came into effect in a fairly short period of time — in 1992 for the Republic of Belarus, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Uzbekistan; in 1993 — for the Republic of Armenia; in 1994 — for the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Tajikistan; in 1995 — for the Republic of Moldova.
The Agreement on the Status of the CIS Economic Court of 6 July, 1992 and the Regulation of the CIS Economic Court approved by and being an integral part of this Agreement, as well as the provisions of Article 32 of the Charter of the CIS Economic Court of 22 January, 1993 were legal basis for the activity of the CIS Economic Court.
Since the 1st of January 2006, the Republic of Armenia does not participate in the activities and in the funding of the Economic Court of the CIS, as the CIS Economic Court has been notified by the CIS Executive Committee’s note of November 22, 2005.
The Parliament of the Republic of Moldova by means of the Law No. 126 — XVIII of December 23, 2009 denounced the Agreement on the status of the CIS Economic Court of July 6, 1992, as the CIS Economic Court has been notified by the CIS Executive Committee’s note of February 10, 2010.
Article 3 of the Agreement on the status of the CIS Economic Court of 6 July, 1992 defines the location of the Economic Court in the city of Minsk (Belarus).
On November 22, 1996 contract between Belarus and the CIS Economic Court on the terms of residence of the CIS Economic Court on the territory of the Republic of Belarus was signed. The Treaty was ratified by the Law of June 2, 1997 No. 42-Z.
Paragraph 15 of the Provisions of the CIS Economic Court provides that the CIS Economic Court is a legal entity and has a seal with its designation.
Since March 3, 2004, the CIS Economic Court acted in capacity of the EurAsEC Court in accordance with the Agreement between the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Eurasian Economic Community on the performance by the Economic Court of the Commonwealth of Independent States the functions of the Court of the Eurasian Economic Community of March 3, 2004.
According to Article 1 of the Agreement, the CIS Economic Court temporarily, until the creation of the EurAsEC Court, had to ensure the uniform application of the Treaty on the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Community of October 10, 2000 or other international agreements and decisions of the EurAsEC that are in force within EurAsEC.
The jurisdiction of the CIS Economic Court within EurAsEC extended to interstate economic disputes arising from:
- the application of the Treaty on the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Community of October 10, 2000 and other relevant international agreements within the Eurasian Economic Community and decisions of the bodies of the EurAsEC;
- the fulfillment of obligations under existing international agreements within the EurAsEC and decisions of the bodies of the EurAsEC;
- the jurisdiction of the CIS Economic Court may include other disputes under existing international agreements in the framework of the EurAsEC.
The CIS Economic Court intepreted the provisions of international treaties within the EurAsEC and the decisions of the EurAsEC bodies, as well as decisions on individual cases.
On July 27, 2011 the CIS Economic Court of the CIS Executive Committee has been informed by the CIS Executive Committee that on July 1, 2011 a letter was received from the Secretary General of EurAsEC dated June 29, 2011 No. IK/03-448 containing a notice of termination since the 1st of January, 2012 of the Agreement between the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Eurasian Economic Community on the performance by the Economic Court of the Commonwealth of Independent States the functions of the Court of the Eurasian Economic Community of March 3, 2004 as well as the Protocol to this Agreement.
Economic Court of the Commonwealth of Independent States
located in the Republic of Belarus, in the center of Minsk at:
Str. Kirova, 17 (in the building of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States)