On Thursday, 6 October, the Saeima passed in the second and final reading a law with which Latvia denounces the 3 March 1998 agreement between the Republic of Latvia and Republic of Belarus regarding promotion of investments and defence.
«This law denounces one of the several Latvian-Russian and Latvian-Belarusian mutual agreements, which will be terminated, denounced or put on hold after repeated evaluation,» said the head of Saeima’s Foreign Affairs Committee Rihards Kols.
The denounced agreement provided the right for one of the parties to refer disputes with the other party concerning investments made within its territory to the Investment Dispute Settlement Body. However, this agreement does not comply with the European Commission’s principles for security of investments, authors of the legislative draft explain.
In Q1 2022 the volume of investments from Belarus to Latvia reached EUR 92 million, whereas Latvia’s investments to Belarus – EUR 45 million.
Considering the ratio of investments thus far, Latvia is at higher risk of a lawsuit as a result of complaints from Belarusian investors, as mentioned in the annotation to the legislative draft.
The Latvian-Belarusian agreement is denounced in accordance with the Law On International Treaties of the Republic of Latvia. Belarus was sent a notification regarding the denouncement of the agreement. It will lose all legal power after 12 months. Protection of investments will continue for another 20 years.
Reviews of mutual agreements started in March 2022, because both Russia, which commenced a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine, and Belarus, which allowed the invasion to start from its territory, have breached peremptory norms of general international law, said Kols.
«Denouncement of mutual agreements such as this one is a measure recognised by international law that can be used against aggressor states or their supporters,» stressed the chairman of the committee.
According to Kols, mutual agreements are denounced, and they are halted at least until Belarus stops breaching international law in relation to Ukraine and fully compensates Ukraine for the breaches of international law committed against the country.