Clara Brillembourg

Partner - Washington, D.C.

Clara Brillembourg
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Clara Brillembourg specializes in counseling sovereign States in international disputes with other States, foreign investors and U.S. plaintiffs.

She has successfully represented States before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in disputes involving territorial rights, human rights and environmental harm, including Ecuador v. Colombia (concerning harms caused by aerial spraying of herbicides), Georgia v. Russia (for ethnic cleansing in Abkhazia and South Ossetia), and Uruguay v. Argentina (regarding international environmental protection and sustainable development).

She also has substantial experience counseling States in maritime boundary disputes before the ICJ, UNCLOS Annex VII arbitral tribunals, and the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). Recent cases include Ghana v. Cȏte d’Ivoire (ITLOS Special Chamber), Bangladesh v. Myanmar (ITLOS), Bangladesh v. India (PCA, Annex VII), and Nicaragua v. Colombia (ICJ).

Chambers reports that “Foley Hoag has ‘really become the leading law firm in the world for inter-state litigation.’”

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Education:

  • Yale Law School, J.D.
  • Harvard College, B.A., magna cum laude with highest honors

Languages:

English, Spanish

Representative Experience

Litigation Before the International Court of Justice

  • 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.
  • Ecuador v. Colombia (Case Concerning Aerial Herbicide Spraying). 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, indigenous peoples, 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 islands in the Caribbean Sea, and the delimitation of the maritime boundary in those waters.
  • Georgia v. Russia (Case Concerning Application of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination). Counsel to Georgia (2008-2011) opposing 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 incursion.
  • Argentina v. Uruguay (Case Concerning Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay).  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, the right to regulate river navigation, and the lawfulness of Nicaragua's regulations.

Litigation, Arbitration and Mediation of Territorial and Maritime Boundary Disputes

  • Ghana v. Cote d’Ivoire. International arbitration under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) before an ITLOS Special Chamber. Counsel to Ghana (2014-2017) in case concerning the maritime boundary in the Gulf of Guinea, involving Ghana’s ongoing extraction of oil from the area in dispute.
  • Bangladesh v. India. International arbitration under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) before the PCA. 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. 
  • 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.
  • Djibouti / Eritrea. Mediation by His Royal Highness the Emir of Qatar. Counsel to Djibouti (2010-present) in a mediation with Eritrea to resolve a boundary dispute.
  • Nicaragua v. Colombia. International Court of Justice. Counsel to Nicaragua (2007-2012) in case concerning disputed sovereignty over certain islands in the Caribbean Sea, and the delimitation of the maritime boundary in those waters.
  • Guyana v. Suriname. International Arbitration under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Counsel to Guyana (2004-2007) in case concerning the delimitation of the maritime boundary between the two States. 

International Investment Arbitration on Behalf of Sovereign States

  • Italba Corporation v. Oriental Republic of Uruguay. International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Counsel to Uruguay (2016 – present) in an arbitration under the US-Uruguay investment treaty concerning regulation of telecommunication spectrums in Uruguay.
  • Philip Morris Brands et. al. v. the Oriental Republic of Uruguay. International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Counsel to Uruguay (2010 – 2016) in arbitration brought by Swiss tobacco companies concerning Uruguay's regulation of cigarette packaging and health warnings. The tribunal unanimously rejected the claimants' challenge of Uruguay’s tobacco-control measures and ordered claimants to pay over $7 million.
  • EURAM Investment Bank AG v. Slovak Republic.  UNCITRAL Ad-Hoc Arbitration. Counsel to the Slovak Republic (2009-2014) in an arbitration under the Austria - Czech and Slovak investment treaty arising from changes in the Slovakian health insurance sector.
  • ETI Euro Telecom International N.V. v. Republic of Bolivia. International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Counsel to Bolivia (2007-2009) in arbitration under bilateral investment treaty brought by Dutch investor whose interests in a Bolivian telecommunications company were nationalized by the government.
  • M.C.I. Power Group L.C. v. Republic of Ecuador. International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Counsel to Ecuador (2008-2009) in annulment proceeding before ICSID panel brought by Canadian investor in electric power sector seeking to annul arbitral award in favor of Ecuador.
  • Química e Industrial del Borax Ltda. v. Republic of Bolivia. International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Counsel to Bolivia (2006-2009) in proceeding under the bilateral investment treaty between Bolivia and Chile, concerning the Bolivian Government's termination of a mineral concession.
  • A.E.I Luxembourg Holdings S.ar.L. v. Republic of Bolivia. Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. Counsel to Bolivia (2008-2009) in arbitration under an investment treaty between Luxembourg and Bolivia based on Bolivia's nationalization of a gas pipeline company.
  • Occidental Petroleum Corporation and Occidental Exploration and Production Company v. Republic of Ecuador. International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Counsel to Ecuador (2006-2007) in proceeding for provisional measures sought by U.S. oil company based on allegation that its investment in an Ecuadorian oil field was expropriated.
  • 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.

Litigation Before United States Federal Courts on Behalf of Sovereign States

  • Si v. Laogai Research Foundation (LRF). District Court for the District of Columbia. Counsel to LRF (2013-present), an NGO advocating for human rights in China, in a case concerning the False Claims Act.
  • Community Finance Group v. Kenya. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. Counsel to Kenya (2010-2011) in a lawsuit over alleged interference in currency transaction and appeal of judgment in favor of Kenya on grounds of sovereign immunity.
  • Carpenter v. Chile.  U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Counsel to Chile (2008-2012) in lawsuit over alleged human rights violations by Chilean government and officials, and appeal of judgment in favor of Chile on grounds of sovereign immunity.
  • ETI Euro Telecom N.V. v. Bolivia.  U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Counsel to Bolivia (2008) in lawsuit to attach accounts of Bolivian government and state-owned telecommunications company in New York banks to secure claims against Bolivia arising from nationalization of the company.
  • Caromin v. Venezuela. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and District Court for the Southern District of New York. Counsel to Venezuela (2007-2009) in lawsuit over alleged expropriation of mining concessions in Venezuela, and appeal of judgment in favor of Venezuela on grounds of sovereign immunity.

Advisory Services Relating to Corporate Social Responsibility and Government Strategies

  • Advisory services to multinational corporate clients on the development, implementation, and review of codes of conduct, human rights and labor conditions, and rule of law matters. Representative sectors include oil and gas, mining, manufacturing, and the internet. 
  • Advisory services to corporate, non-governmental organization, and foreign state clients to develop government strategies related to the executive and legislative branches of the United States Government, as well as non-governmental organizations.
  • "Will New Trade Talks Shake Up the Arbitration System?", Latin America Advisor (Mar. 2016)
  • “Global Public Interests in International Investment Law,” Proceedings of the 109th Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law (Spring 2015)
  • "Business and Human Rights in the United States," Chapter in Global Business and Human Rights (European Lawyer Reference, 2011)
  • Georgia v. Russia: The Use of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination as a Means to Redress or Ameliorate Ethnic Cleansing Carried Out in the Course of Armed Conflict, ABA International Section 2009 Annual Conference (Fall 2009)

 

Honors

  • Latinvex, Top women attorneys in international litigation & arbitration
  • Super Lawyers, Washington DC Rising Stars
  • Washington’s Most Influential Leaders Under 40
  • American Arbitration Association (AAA) 2009 Higginbotham Fellow
  • Yale Journal of International Law, Managing Editor
  • Two World Bank Spot Awards for exceptional work

Involvement

  • Harvard Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Board Member (2015-present)
  • Advancing Girls Education in Africa, Board Member (2016-present)
  • American Society of International Law, Co-Chair of the Women in International Law Interest Group (2012-present)
  • Council on Foreign Relations, Term Member (2012-2015)
  • Meridian International Center, Co-Chair of the Rising Leaders Council (2012-present)
  • American Arbitration Association (AAA), 2009 A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. Program Fellow & Member  
  • American Bar Association, International Section, Member   
  • District of Columbia Bar Association, International Section, Member
  • New York Bar Association, International Section, Member
  • Arbitral Women’s Group, Member
  • “How Procedure Makes Substance in International Courts and Tribunals,” American Society of International Law Annual Meeting (Apr. 2017)
  • “Settlement of Maritime Boundary Disputes,” Conference of the Arctic Council Member States, hosted by U.S. Department of State (Apr. 2016)
  • “Pending Maritime Delimitation: What Coastal States Can and Cannot Do,” Conference of the Arctic Council Member States, hosted by U.S. Department of State (Apr. 2016)
  • “Exploring the Intersection of Public Health, Investment Arbitration, and Litigation: The Tobacco Cases,” Boston Bar Association (Feb. 2016) 
  • “The Definition and Delimitation of Continental Shelf Boundaries: West Africa,” IBRU: Center for Border Research Training Workshop (Feb. 2016)
  • "Effective Deliberation for Arbitrators and the Role of Counsel and Institutional Secretaries," ICSID/ AAA Colloquium on International Arbitration (Dec. 2015)
  • “The TPP and the Investor State Dispute Settlement Process," The Inter-American Dialogue (Dec. 2015)
  • “New Developments on Trade Issues: Update on the Uruguay Case,” Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use Partner Meeting (Nov. 2015)
  • “Public Health and Investment Arbitration: The Tobacco Cases,” American Society of International Law Annual Meeting (Apr. 2015)
  • "Tobacco and Trade" Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Negotiations (May 2012)
  • "Cases Before the International Court of Justice," Guest Lecturer, Yale Law School (Nov.2011)
  • "Women in International Law," American Society for International Law (July 2011; July 2013)
  • "Pulp Mills Dispute Between Argentina and Uruguay," Center for International Environmental Law, American Branch of the International Law Association and American Society of International Law (Sept.2010)

 

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Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • New York

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. Supreme Court