Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Hendrik Van Harten


Colombia, International investment law, Transitional justice, Investment arbitration, Land restitution, Transnational law


This doctoral dissertation explores an argued normative tension between the legal protection of foreign investors via international investment agreements and the implementation of a transitional justice project in Colombia. Considering its nature and extent, this tension is regarded from a global perspective. These legal fields are acknowledged as the opus of transnational legal processes that have been triggered both to diffuse the political vision and to represent the interests of corresponding global epistemic communities. Therefore, their placement at the same political/legal level, and the shared interest they have in regulating access to and use of land and natural resources located within the countrys jurisdiction, encompass a conflictual dynamic. That is, the spread of a neoliberal economic model through the domestic internalization of a set of rules and institutions that limit the capacity of the state to intervene in certain areas of public concern, as opposed to the exercise of legal resistance to the detrimental socioeconomic effects produced on the occasion of the countrys internal armed conflict, by means of the structural adjustment of social relations. The main contention of this dissertation is that, within the realm of the aforementioned normative tension, the legal protection offered to foreign investors in Colombia by virtue of the systematic conclusion of international investment agreements, has the potential to restrict the countrys democratic and sovereign choice to achieve durable peace through the production of profound transformations at the level of social justice. In particular, it is argued that although the international investment agreements concluded by the country are the result of the effective exercise of sovereign prerogatives and place-binding obligations on the state, they cannot be constituted as impregnable commands able to shape indeterminately the countrys public policy space with regards to the implementation of the transitional justice project. Moreover, it is also contended that the legal responses to these investor-state controversies must encompass strong political considerations rather than mere technical issues, since they must acknowledge both the contextual particularities of this type of controversies and the transnational nature of the interests at stake.


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