Jai Damle


The odious debt doctrine has experienced renewed popularity in the past few years; it has been heralded by academics, political commentators, economists, and politicians as a mechanism to alleviate burdens imposed by illegitimate rulers. In its classic formulation, the doctrine provides that a regime's debt is odious, and thus unenforceable, if the state's people did not consent to the debt, the proceeds from the debt were not used for the benefit of the people, and the regime's creditors had knowledge of the first two conditions. In 2003, the newly instated Iraqi regime began negotiations to restructure that country's debt, much of which had been incurred by Saddam Hussein during his twenty-odd year tenure as its dictator. Here, Damle examines the doctrine's influence on Iraq's recent debt restructuring and whether the doctrine has become an effective debt repudiation tool for sovereign creditors.

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