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    ECONOMIC COURT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES    
         
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Structure of the Economic Court is regulated by the 1992 Regulation (Art’s 6, 7, 8, 10, 13, 14) and Agreement (Art. 2) as well as 1997 Rules of the Procedure (Part II).

Each member-state appoints/elects equal numbers (2) of judges to the bench of the court. In 2002, Resolution of the Council of the Heads of States “On measures directed to increase effectiveness of the functioning of the bodies of the Commonwealth of Independent States and efficiency of their organization.” proposed to decrease the number of judges elected/nominated to the bench to one from each member-state. Judges are elected/nominated by the member-state following the existing procedure under the domestic law for nomination/election of judges to the highest commercial courts and/or courts of arbitration. The nominees are chosen solely on the basis of their professional record from the judges of the commercial courts or courts of arbitration or other individuals who are specialists in the area of economic law and that have a post-secondary degree in law (1992 Regulation Article 7). The regulation also guarantees some degree of judicial independence from their home governments through provisions providing personal immunity, disallowing judges to hold governmental positions or to be involved in any sort of commercial activity with the exception of research work or teaching (1992 Regulation Article 8) and requiring the member states to provide security equal to that which is provided to the judges in the domestic courts of the member-states. In addition, neither President nor Vice-Presidents can be removed from their office for the period of tenure except in cases of the abuse of their position, commission of a crime, or sickness. The period of tenure of the judges of the Economic Court is 10 years. There is a procedure set up by the 1997 Rules requiring all judges to take an oath at the moment of assuming the office. (1997 Rules Article 7). President and Vice-Presidents of the court are elected for 5 years by judges of the court by majority vote which is later approved by the Council of Heads of States (1992 Regulations Article 7 § 3).

The court can sit in three forms: chambers, full court, Plenum.

Chambers are elected by the full court for a period of 1 year with the purpose of considering all contentious cases (1997 Rules Article 9). They consist of 3 or 5 judges. Head of the chamber is also elected by the full court from the members of that chamber (1997 Rules Article 10). Judges sitting in chambers do not have a right to abstain from voting. Decisions are made on the basis of simple majority. In case of a tie, the decision of the head of the chamber is considered to be determinative.

A full court consists of all judges of the Economic Court. Its decision making and voting procedures are the same as they are for chambers. During hearings by the full court at least 50% of the judges elected to the bench must be present for the court to be able to pass a decision.

“Plenum consists of the President and Vice-Presidents of the Economic Court as well as Chief Justices of the highest commercial courts and courts of arbitration and other highest governmental bodies designated to settle economic conflicts in the member-states” (1992 Regulation Art. 10 & 1997 Rules Art. 13). President of the Economic Court is also a President of the Plenum of the Economic Court, while Secretary of the Plenum is elected by the members of the Plenum from among themselves by majority vote for a period of 5 years (1997 Rules Art. 14). During the hearings by Plenum at least 2/3 of the judges elected to the bench must be present for the court to be able to pass a decision. The decision is made on the basis of a simple majority vote. The decision is final and is not subject to appeal. No judge participating in voting has a right to abstain (1992 Regulation Art. 10; 1997 Rules Art. 20). Plenum holds its hearings no less than once a quarter. Plenum has three primary functions (1992 Regulation Art.10):

1. considers appeals of the decisions of the Economic Court;

2. issues recommendations for the purpose of maintaining uniform application of the agreements and other acts of the Commonwealth and its institutions to the resolution of economic disputes;

3. develops and submits for consideration of the member-states and CIS institutions propositions on solutions to conflicts of laws of the member-states. The wording of this section of Article 10 of the 1992 Regulation is not very clear in Russian, as word-for-word translation seems to refer to the conflict of laws within domestic legal systems, while it appears the intention of this article has been either to provide for jurisdiction to solve conflicts of laws between legal systems of different member-states (this seems to be the most reasonable interpretation) or conflicts of laws between, on the one hand, legal systems of different member-states and CIS agreements/regulations, on the other hand.

The seat of the court is in Minsk (Belarus). On the 22nd of November 1996 ‘Agreement on the conditions of presence of the Economic Court of the Commonwealth of Independent States on the territory of the Republic of Belarus’ was signed in Minsk. It came into force on June 12th, 1997. In accordance with Article 22 of the Agreement: “The Republic of Belarus guarantees non-interference of the government of the Republic of Belarus into the decision-making function of the court.” reign investments (source: http://www.cis.solo.by/org/base/org_base_007.shtml from Google Cache, page retrieved Nov26/04).

   
         
   
   
         
   

   
         
   

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