Who chooses the witnesses. The decision on who to invite to hearings is made by the arbitration tribunal, the parties can petition for it, lawyers say. In 2017, Pugachev already announced plans to ask the tribunal to summon Kudrin as a witness in this process. Then the ex-banker gave a few more names - for example, the head of Rosneft Igor Sechin and Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukaev. Pugachev’s representative did not answer The Bell’s question about whether the ex-banker’s side asked to invite witnesses this time.
To go or not to go. Formally, the recipient of such a letter may ignore the meeting, explains Anton Imennov, Managing Partner of the Pen & Paper Bar Moscow Office. There is no responsibility for this, adds Shlyapnikova from Forward Legal. It is an invitation, not an agenda. However, the court can draw conclusions from the consent or refusal of witnesses to attend the hearing, said a lawyer from a law firm operating in Europe. In theory, if the invitee is in the EU, a judge can appeal to a state court with a request to bring a witness (this is prescribed in the EU regulations). If a person is not in the EU, but, for example, in Russia, the court still has the tools with which he can compete for the participation of those invited in the process, explains Imennov from Pen & Paper. The procedure is this: the Dutch state court makes a judicial request to the Dutch Foreign Ministry, and the latter to the Russian Foreign Ministry. But in such a scenario, “the terms will be greatly extended and will be at least six months,” says Imennov.
What a trial. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, where the case is being considered, is an international arbitration court established to deal with interstate disputes, as well as disputes of foreign investors and states. It is also sometimes called the Hague Court of Arbitration, explains Imennov from Pen & Paper. Under the common wording “The Hague Tribunal” they usually mean the International Criminal Court, which is prosecuted for war crimes - this is not about it.
International Hague Arbitration considers disputes if the parties have not agreed to understand somewhere else and have not reached a settlement. For each such case, a separate ad hoc arbitration is collected (for this case), adds Shlyapnikova from Forward Legal. The question is whether the applicant was a citizen of the French Republic when he lost his assets. If this is not the case, his right as a foreign investor to demand protection of investment raises questions, says Zakharov of the Paragon Advice Group.
Progress. In July 2016, the process was suspended due to the fact that Russia did not appoint an international arbitrator on time. Then the hearings resumed, and at the beginning of 2017 the tribunal made the first technical decision, it was published on the Pugachev website. Then the Russian Federation appealed to the tribunal with a request to classify the process, it says there. In July 2017, the tribunal agreed to partially restrict access to process information. He also decided to suspend the extradition of Pugachev from France in criminal cases.
* The Bell asked lawyers questions about the trial, without naming the parties to the process and the details of the proceedings.