(Nov. 20, 2008) The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) announced on November 3, 2008, that Rwanda has become the 143rd country to accede to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention). The Convention will enter into force for Rwanda on January 29, 2009. Under the treaty, courts of the States Parties are required “to enforce arbitration agreements and to recognize and enforce arbitral awards made in other States.” (Rwanda Accedes to UN Convention on Commercial Arbitration, UN NEWS CENTRE, Nov. 3, 2008, available at http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=28799&Cr=Trade&Cr1=Convention; 1958 – Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards – The “New York” Convention [text of the Convention and related documents], UNCITRAL website, http://www.uncitral.org/uncitral/en/uncitral_texts/arbitration/NYConvention.html (last visited Nov. 14, 2008).)
The fiftieth anniversary of the New York Convention was celebrated earlier this year, on February 1, 2008. In a message to a conference organized by the International Bar Association to mark the occasion, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the Convention as a “landmark instrument” in international commercial law that “provided a basis for enforceable rights and binding commitments in international commercial agreements.” It gave investors and companies the confidence to conduct business in places they might otherwise have bypassed, he added, and “became a model for numerous other legislative texts on arbitration.” The Secretary-General further noted:
At the time this document was signed, commercial arbitration was not in wide use as an alternative to solving commercial disputes in national courts. Fifty years on, arbitration has emerged as a fundamental mechanism for solving disputes in international commerce, and the Convention is celebrated as a cornerstone of the rule of law in international trade relations.
(Press Release, Secretary-General, Secretary-General Says Convention on Recognition, Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards Is Cornerstone of Rule of Law in Global Trade Relations, 50 Years Later, U.N. Doc. SG/SM/11397, L/T/4409(Feb. 1, 2008), available athttp://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2008/sgsm11397.doc.htm