Announcing – Launch of Commerce, Crime, and Human Rights Project

When businesses engage in illegal conduct that results in serious human rights abuse, they rarely, if ever, are held to account. This problem is particularly acute in the context of business activity involving multiple jurisdictions. Home States rarely take steps to investigate or prosecute their companies for their involvement in human rights violations, even if the home State’s legal framework appears to permit such remedies. The victims of corporate abuse continue to demand justice without success. State authorities must take action to protect human rights. This can be achieved by enforcing criminal laws where they exist and/or enacting reforms to allow for criminal prosecution, including against businesses.

ICAR’s Commerce, Crime, and Human Rights (CCHR) project will map the prosecution gaps that currently exist, drawing on the experience of lawyers and other practitioners who have encountered these obstacles and will develop recommendations for State practice in addressing these prosecution gaps for corporate crimes. The project will bring together senior jurists and criminal law experts who will: (i) identify prosecution gaps at the national level and (ii) develop a framework to govern State practice in addressing those gaps. In so doing, the project aims to establish a common baseline for how States should address corporate crimes. This work will also inform calls at the international level (e.g. UN declaration, legal instrument, other) for corporate accountability for human rights abuses.

We have organized a Leadership Team comprised of members of ICAR, such as Amnesty International, as well as Mark B. Taylor as an External Advisor to drive the work of this Project.

Project timeline:

  • February 2014 – Leadership Team consultation on project strategy;
  • May/June 2014 – Leadership Team convenes planning meeting with practitioners;
  • September 2014 – Leadership Team convenes initial meeting with Commission of Experts;
  • January 2015 – Leadership Team reports to Commission of Experts;
  • February 2015 – Commission of Experts convenes to discuss report and develop framework;
  • May 2015 – Commission of Experts convenes meeting to discuss report and develop framework; (If needed)
  • June 2015 – Commission of Experts shares draft principles for multi-stakeholder commentary;
  • September 2015 – Commission of Experts publishes final framework.

For more information, please see the Project Concept Note.

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