Reichler

Paul S. Reichler

Partner
Washington, DC

I am one of the world’s premiere practitioners of international law, recognized as a leading advocate for sovereign States before international courts.

Year after year, Chambers Global ranks Paul Reichler in a special category as a “Star Individual,” above its Band One (the highest ranking). He is one of only two lawyers worldwide ranked in that distinguished category.

Paul has been described as "one of the world’s most respected and experienced practitioners of Public International Law” who “belongs to a select group of elite lawyers with extensive experience litigating on behalf of Sovereign States before the International Court of Justice in The Hague, and the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea in Hamburg."

He draws the highest praise from the States he has represented, who describe him as "a brilliant lawyer, a natural leader and a great manager.” His clients uniformly applaud him for “coming up with effective legal theories, responsive legal strategies and outstanding legal briefs." 

Over the past 40 years, Paul Reichler has helped his sovereign clients achieve historic victories in the most significant cases before international tribunals, beginning with the landmark case of Nicaragua v. United States of America before the International Court of Justice (1984-1986). He guided Uruguay to victory over Argentina at the ICJ in the famous Pulp Mills case in 2010, and was lead counsel to Uruguay, again, in its victory over Philip Morris, in which an ICSID arbitral tribunal sustained Uruguay’s far-reaching tobacco control regime. He successfully represented the Philippines in its historic victory over China in the South China Sea arbitration (2013-2016), and helped Mauritius achieve victories over the United Kingdom in establishing its sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago, both before a Law of the Sea arbitral tribunal in 2014, and in an ICJ advisory proceeding in 2019.

Before the ICJ, he has helped Nicaragua establish its sovereign dominion over the San Juan River, defeating Costa Rica’s claims (2009); and in two victories over Colombia in maritime boundary disputes concerning the Western Caribbean Sea (2012). He has also led Guyana (2007), Bangladesh (2012 and 2014), Ghana (2017) and Somalia (2021) to victories over neighboring States in maritime boundary cases before the ICJ, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, and inter-State arbitration tribunals.

His is current representing, inter alia: The Gambia, in its case against Myanmar before the ICJ to prevent and punish acts of genocide against Myanmar’s Rohingya population; Guyana, in its case against Venezuela before the ICJ to confirm the validity of the arbitral award that established the territorial boundary between the two States; Mauritius, in its case against Maldives before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea to confirm its sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago and establish a maritime boundary between the two States; and three States (one from Asia and two from Latin America) in arbitrations with foreign investors.

 He also serves various States as an advisor in negotiations to resolve international disputes diplomatically.

Education

  • Harvard Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1973
  • Tufts University, B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1969

Bar and Court Admissions

BAR ADMISSIONS
  • District of Columbia

Languages

  • Spanish

Experience

LITIGATION BEFORE THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE
  • The Gambia v. Myanmar (Case Concerning Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide) Counset to The Gambia (2019-present) in case to hold Myanmar accountable for genocidal acts against the Rohingya people and prevent further acts against them.
  • Guyana v. Venezuela (Case Concerning the Arbitral Award of 3 October 1899). Counsel to Guyana (2018-present) in case brought to confirm the international boundary between the two States as determined by an arbitral award whose validity Venezuela has challenged.
  • Legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965 (Advisory Opinion). Representation of Mauritius (2017-2019) in advisory opinion proceedings before the ICJ on whether the decolonization of Mauritius was lawfully completed in light of the United Kingdom’s excision and retention of the Chagos Archipelago.  
  • Somalia v. Kenya (Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean). Counsel to Somalia (2014-present) in case concerning delimitation of the maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean.
  • Costa Rica v. Nicaragua (Maritime Delimitation in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean). Counsel to Nicaragua (2014-2018) in case concerning the delimitation of maritime boundaries in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
  • Nicaragua v. Colombia (Alleged Violations of Sovereign Rights and Maritime Spaces in the Caribbean Sea). Counsel to Nicaragua (2013-present) in case concerning the violation of Nicaragua’s maritime rights and entitlements under the Court’s Judgment of 19 November 2012.
  • Nicaragua v. Colombia (Question of the Delimitation of the Continental Shelf between Nicaragua and Colombia beyond 200 nautical miles from the Nicaraguan Coast). Counsel to Nicaragua (2013-present) in case concerning delimitation of the maritime boundary in the extended continental shelf of the Caribbean Sea.
  • Nicaragua v. Costa Rica (Case Concerning Construction of a Road on the Costa Rican Side of the San Juan River). Counsel to Nicaragua (2011-2015) in case concerning pollution of San Juan River resulting from Costa Rican construction, industrial and agricultural activities.
  • Costa Rica v. Nicaragua (Case Concerning Certain Activities Carried Out by Nicaragua in the Border Area). Counsel to Nicaragua (2010-2015) in case concerning allegations of environmental harm resulting from Nicaragua's dredging of the San Juan River and restoration of a channel.
  • Georgia v. Russia (Case Concerning Application of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination). Counsel to Georgia (2008-2010) in case concerning Russia's participation in and support for ethnic cleansing aimed at expelling ethnic Georgians from areas occupied by Russian forces following Russia's August 2008 invasion.
  • Ecuador v. Colombia (Case Concerning Aerial Spraying on the Border). Counsel to Ecuador (2008-2013) in case concerning Colombia's aerial spraying of toxic herbicides in close proximity to the Ecuadorian border, causing serious harm to human health, livestock, crops and the environment in Ecuador.
  • Nicaragua v. Colombia (Case Concerning Territorial and Maritime Dispute). Counsel to Nicaragua (2007-2012) in case concerning disputed sovereignty over certain islands in the Western Caribbean, and the delimitation of the maritime boundary between Nicaragua and Colombia in those waters.
  • Argentina v. Uruguay (Case Concerning Pulp Mills on the Uruguay River). Counsel to Uruguay (2006-2010) in case concerning Uruguay's licensing of paper pulp mill as an environmentally-safe model of sustainable economic development and Argentina's allegation that it could pollute the river shared by the two States.
  • Costa Rica v. Nicaragua (Case Regarding Navigational and Related Rights). Counsel to Nicaragua (2007-2009) in case concerning sovereignty over the San Juan River, which constitutes the border between the two States, the right to regulate navigation on the river, and the lawfulness of Nicaragua's regulations.
  • Democratic Republic of Congo v. Uganda (Case Concerning Armed Activities in the Territory of Congo). Counsel to Uganda (1998-2005) in case concerning accusations against Uganda of armed intervention in the Congolese civil war and the unlawful occupation of Congolese territory.
  • Nicaragua v. the United States of America (Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and Against Nicaragua). Counsel to Nicaragua (1984-1986) in case concerning the legality of United States military, logistical and financial aid to counterrevolutionary forces attempting to overthrow the Government of Nicaragua, and the mining of Nicaraguan harbors by U.S. military and intelligence forces.
LITIGATION BEFORE THE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL FOR THE LAW OF THE SEA, AND ARBITRATION UNDER THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA
  • Mauritius v. Maldives. International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (Special Chamber). Counsel to Mauritius (2019-present) in case concerning the maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean between Mauritius (Chagos Archipelago) and Maldives.
  • Ghana v. Cote d’Ivoire. International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (Special Chamber). Counsel to Ghana (2014-2018) in case concerning the maritime boundary in the Gulf of Guinea.
  • Croatia v. Slovenia. Counsel to Croatia (2011-2016) in arbitration facilitated by the European Commission to resolve disputes over maritime and land boundaries.
  • Philippines v. People's Republic of China. Counsel to the Philippines (2013-2016) in arbitration under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to determine the maritime jurisdiction and entitlements of the Philippines and China in the South China Sea.
  • Mauritius v. United Kingdom. Counsel to Mauritius (2011-2015) in arbitration under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in regard to the status of the Chagos Archipelago and appurtenant maritime zones.
  • Djibouti v. Eritrea. Counsel to Djibouti in arbitration under the auspices of His Royal Highness the Emir of Qatar to end the border conflict and determine the land and maritime boundaries between the two States, including sovereignty over offshore islands.
  • Bangladesh v. Myanmar. International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea, Hamburg. Counsel to Bangladesh (2009-2012) in case concerning the delimitation of the maritime boundary in the territorial sea, Exclusive Economic Zone, and extended continental shelf in the Bay of Bengal.
  • Bangladesh v. India. International Arbitration under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Counsel to Bangladesh (2009-2014) in case concerning the delimitation of the maritime boundary in the territorial sea, Exclusive Economic Zone, and extended continental shelf in the Bay of Bengal.
  • Guyana v. Suriname. International arbitration under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Counsel to Guyana (2003-2007) in case concerning the delimitation of the maritime boundary between Guyana and Suriname in the Atlantic Ocean.
INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION FOR SOVEREIGN STATES AGAINST FOREIGN INVESTORS
  • Philip Morris Brands Sarl et al. v. Uruguay. International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Counsel to Uruguay (2010-2016) in case challenging Uruguay's public health regulations prohibiting the marketing of certain cigarettes and increasing the size of mandatory health warnings on packages. Award issued in favor of Uruguay.
  • Mehta, et al. v. Uruguay. Permanent Court of Arbitration. Counsel to Uruguay (2018-2021) in arbitration challenging the adoption and implementation of modifications to Uruguay’s mining laws. Award issued in favor of Uruguay.
  • Italba Corp. v. Uruguay. International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Counsel to Uruguay (2016-2019) in arbitration challenging Uruguay's cancellation of a telecommunications license for violation of license terms. Award issued in favor or Uruguay.
  • Gosling, et al. v. Mauritius. International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Counsel to Mauritius (2017-2020) in arbitration challenging Mauritius’ refusal to issue a permit for a luxury development complex in an area inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Award issued in favor of Mauritius.
  • Highbury International AVV and Ramstein Trading Inc. v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Counsel to Venezuela (2011-2013) in arbitration brought by a Netherlands Antilles company under the Netherlands-Venezuela bilateral investment treaty, alleging the expropriation of mining concessions. Award issued in favor of Venezuela.
  • Shell Brands International AG and Shell Nicaragua S.A. v. Republic of Nicaragua. International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Counsel to Nicaragua (2006-2007) in arbitration under the bilateral investment treaty between Nicaragua and the Netherlands, concerning a seizure of trademarks ordered by the Nicaraguan courts. Dispute settled by the parties.
  • Republic of the Philippines v. Westinghouse Electric Corporation. International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). Counsel to the Philippines (1988-1992) in an arbitration in Lausanne, Switzerland over defects in the design and construction of a nuclear power plant. Dispute settled by the parties.
  • Green Mining Company v. Republic of Guyana. International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). Counsel to Guyana (1992-1996) in an arbitration based in London against an Australian-American company, over claims that Guyana expropriated the company's contract rights. Award issued in favor of Guyana.

Publications

  • “The Indispensable Contributions of the Tribunal: A Practitioner’s View”, The Contribution of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea to the Rule of Law: 1996-2016, International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, p. 208-212 (2018)
  • “The Rule of Law and the Path to a Just and Lasting Peace in the South China Sea”, Japan Review, Volume 1, No. 2 (2017)
  • "Problems of Evidence Before International Tribunals", International Arbitration: Contemporary Issues and Innovations, Sokol Colloquium, Volume 5, p. 47-52 (2013)
  • "A Case of Equitable Maritime Delimitation: Nicaragua and Colombia in the Western Caribbean Sea", Revista Tribuna Internacional, PublicaciĆ³n del Departamento de Derecho Interacional de la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Chile, Volume 2 No.3, p. 129-160 (2013)
  • "The Impact of the Nicaragua Case on Matters of Evidence and Fact Finding", Leiden Journal of International Law (2012)
  • “El arbitraje respecto de controversias sobre las fronteras maritimas conforme a la convencion de las Naciones Unidas sobre el derecho del mar." Oceanos - Arrecifes de Coral September/November (2011): 52-58
  • "Holding America to Its Own Best Standards: Abe Chayes and Nicaragua in the World Court", Harvard International Law Journal (Winter 2001)

Honors & Involvement

HONORS
  • Grand Commander of the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean – awarded by the Republic of Mauritius (2022) for contribution to the rulings by the International Court of Justice and the International Tri bunal for the Law of the Sea that the Chagos Archipelago is an integral part of Mauritius’ sovereign territory.
  • Foreign Minister’s Award – awarded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (2021) for “tremendous contributions to the deepening of friendly relations between Japan and other nations.”
  • Cacique’s Crown of Honor – awarded by the President of Guyana (1992) for “outstanding contribution to the restoration of democracy in Guyana.”