The way I see it: If somebody robs my house, steals my identity, applies for loans in my name supposedly to fix the house and then uses it to buy himself drugs and nice shoes - then don't think it should be my responsibility to ensure all those people that granted him loans are paid back - ESPECIALLY when they knew that the money was not being spent in the best interest of the "homeowner" (i.e. citizen)

 A glance at Egypt’s public finances reveals a disturbing fact: the interest that the country pays on its foreign loans is larger than its budget for education, healthcare, and housing combined. Indeed, these debt-service costs alone account for 22% of the Egyptian government’s total expenditures.

This debt was incurred during the 30-year reign of the deposed president, Hosni Mubarak. In international law, debt that is incurred without the consent of the people, and that is not used to their benefit, is referred to as “odious”; as such, it is not considered transferable to successor regimes. The reasoning is simple and logical: if someone fraudulently borrows money in my name, I am not expected to pay it back, and neither should a country’s population when an unrepresentative leader borrows in their name and to their detriment.

The beneficiaries of this largesse are now mostly sitting in prison awaiting trial. The rest of Egypt, however, only felt this money in the form of an ever-expanding state apparatus that solidified Mubarak’s rule, crushed dissent, and repressed millions. When Egyptians rose up against Mubarak in January, they were confronted by weapons paid for with borrowed money.

Is it fair to expect Egyptians to continue paying for their previous repression and impoverishment at the hands of Mubarak and his cronies? Since this money clearly benefited Mubarak but not his people, should it not be Mubarak, rather than his victims, who is held responsible for it?

The type of regime Mubarak was running had been clear for many years, and it was also clear how the money was being used. A prudent lender should have considered these facts before making the loans. So the banks and international institutions that lent money to Mubarak should bear the responsibility of their choice to bankroll his repressive regime.

An Egyptian precedent would bring awareness and sobriety to an entire generation of lenders that is not accustomed to considering this type of risk, and that may even be unfamiliar with the doctrine of odious debt. Repressive regimes would find it harder to borrow, which would, in turn, make it harder for them to repress their people, and make it easier and cheaper for responsible and legitimate governments to secure important funding when they need it.

It is well established in international law that a political transition, even from an oppressive regime to a popularly legitimized one, does not in itself break the continuity of state-to-state debt obligations, even where the transition involves state succession. At the same time, state practice, the rulings of international tribunals and the writings of most academic authorities reflect acceptance of some equitable limits to the sanctity of state-to-state debt agreements. The international law obligation to repay debt has never been accepted as absolute, and has frequently been limited or qualified by a range of equitable considerations, some of which may be regrouped under the concept of “odiousness”. This is consistent with the accepted view that equity constitutes part of the content of “the general principles of law of civilized nations,” one of the fundamental sources of international law stipulated in the Statute of the International Court of Justice. 

The concept of “odious debt” regroups a particular set of equitable considerations that have often been raised to adjust or sever debt obligations in the context of political transitions. A survey of such transitional situations in the past or present indicates that the way in which the “odiousness” is argued as a ground for limiting obligations, which varies from one transitional context to another, and may differ depending on whether the transition involved, is for instance a secession, whether it arises from war or decolonization or simply a political revolution. 

In a number of the situations in question, tribunals or other States have rejected or questioned claims to adjust or sever debt obligations based on considerations of “odiousness.” However, this has usually been because of doubts on the facts as to whether the debt in question was “odious” or actually conferred some benefits on the population or the new regime. In none of these situations was a claim of odious debt rejected on grounds that international law simply does not countenance alteration in state-to-state debt obligations based on any equitable considerations whatever. In some situations, the debtor State made overly broad claims to repudiation of debt obligations (the case of attempted Soviet repudiation of Tsarist debts and more recently the Islamic Republic of Iran’s attempted repudiation of pre-revolutionary debts before the Iran Claims Tribunal). 

Political transitions pose complex, multi-faceted challenges for the transitional regime, from accountability for wrongs of the past, to establishing a framework of legal stability and economic reconstruction. Dealing with odious debt from the prior regime usually involves political as well as legal considerations. Even where a strong legal argument exists for repudiation of some or all debt based on considerations of odiousness, a transitional regime may well prefer to negotiate a voluntary adjustment in obligations with its creditors or even to continue to repay the debt. South Africa is a case in point. Such decisions do not detract from the availability of considerations of odiousness as a legal basis for alteration of debt obligations, but rather simply testify that transitional justice is political, and not just legal.

  • Annexation of the Republic of Texas 
  • Apartheid Debt
  • Iraqi debt 
  • Norway’s ship export debt 
  • The Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution 
  • United States refusal to assume Cuban debt – 1898 Paris Conference 
  • Soviet repudiation of Tsarist debts 
  • Treaty of Versailles of 1919 and Polish debts 
  • Tinoco arbitration – 1923 (Great Britain and Costa Rica 1923) 
  • German repudiation of Austrian debts – 1938 
  • 1947 Treaty of Peace with Italy 
  • Arbitrations concerning Iranian debts owed to the United States

7/2/2014 12:53:08 am

That personal debt was incurred during the 30-year rule of the deposed leader, Hosni Mubarak. With international legislation, personal debt that's incurred minus the agreement of the folks, that is certainly certainly not used to the help, is referred to as “odious”; so, it isn't regarded transferable to help successor routines. The particular thought is easy along with plausible: in the event someone fraudulently borrows profit my label, My business is certainly not expected to pay it back, along with none need to a new country’s population whenever a great unrepresentative leader borrows in their label and also to the detriment.

7/2/2014 05:58:19 pm

This specific financial debt has been sustained throughout the 30-year leadership from the deposed leader, Hosni Mubarak. Throughout international legislation, financial debt that's sustained without worrying about consent from the people, and that is certainly not utilized to his or her profit, is referred to as “odious”; consequently, it isn't regarded as transferable to heir regimes. The actual thought is straightforward along with rational: in the event an individual fraudulently borrows money in my title, I am certainly not anticipated to repay it, along with none need to any country’s inhabitants as soon as a good unrepresentative leader borrows inside their title and also to his or her detriment.

7/3/2014 07:47:27 pm

Political changes offer complex, multi-faceted issues for your transitional program, through accountability with regard to errors in the earlier, to be able to starting the composition of legal steadiness along with economic renovation. Handling odious credit card debt in the previous program typically involves political and also legal considerations. Perhaps in which a solid legal controversy is present with regard to repudiation of several or maybe all credit card debt depending on considerations of odiousness, the transitional program may well choose to discuss the non-reflex change throughout bills using its loan companies or even to continue to settle the debt. Southerly Africa can be great example. Such selections usually do not take away in the accessibility to considerations of odiousness as being a legal time frame with regard to modification of credit card debt bills, but alternatively basically state in which transitional rights can be political, and not simply legal.


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