As a result of the 2010 sovereign debt crisis and the subsequent restructuring operations, bondholders have pursued different dispute resolution strategies. Litigation before US courts has proved to be a viable option, as demonstrated by the Argentine cases. State court litigation, however, is not the only available forum: in some cases, bondholders have commenced arbitration proceedings against the issuing state.
Arbitral case law has been consistent in concluding that the holders of sovereign bonds issued by the host state qualify as investors and thus have standing to bring investment treaty-based claims. The recent Poštová award, however, casts doubts over whether holders of sovereign bonds qualify as investors for the purposes of international investment law.
This article illustrates the main problems revolving around the qualification of sovereign bonds as investments for the purposes of international investment law. The article summarizes the relevant legal framework and the solutions adopted by arbitral case law so far. Subsequently, the contents of the Poštová decision are addressed in detail and the consequences of this decision are scrutinizsed.