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Business actors and serious human rights violations: where do courts draw the line?

Bosman, Jan Willem (2008)
Department of Law
Abstract
This research is an attempt to reveal and evaluate the boundaries of business actors aiding and abetting serious human rights violations. Four different bodies of law, consisting of contemporary international criminal law and case law involving business actors in both national and international law, are examined. In comparing these movements, judges' interpretations and the features found important by them are highlighted and an effort is made to establish where courts draw the line in such cases&semic in other words, which involvement in serious human rights violations leads to responsibility of a business actors for aiding and abetting such crimes? And which involvement is not sufficient? Finally, these findings are evaluated and applied... (More)
This research is an attempt to reveal and evaluate the boundaries of business actors aiding and abetting serious human rights violations. Four different bodies of law, consisting of contemporary international criminal law and case law involving business actors in both national and international law, are examined. In comparing these movements, judges' interpretations and the features found important by them are highlighted and an effort is made to establish where courts draw the line in such cases&semic in other words, which involvement in serious human rights violations leads to responsibility of a business actors for aiding and abetting such crimes? And which involvement is not sufficient? Finally, these findings are evaluated and applied on legal literature concerning corporate complicity. The most important conclusions of this thesis are the following. Firstly, although courts apply varying aiding and abetting standards, the analysed business cases are influenced by international criminal law. This conclusion, although not groundbreaking, enables a more in depth comparison between the national and international law sources. Secondly, recent judgments in business cases are fairly similar to the judgments from the military tribunals following the Second World War. Both the interpretation of the complicity standard and facts, as well as the outcome of the cases demonstrate strong similarities. Thirdly, the common features that judges attach value to are knowledge, participation, influence and position within a corporation and influence on the principal offender. It is finally very hard to rigorously draw lines which particular circumstances are required to hold a business actor responsible as an aider or abettor. The most beneficial way to assess whether a defendant is accountable, is to use the mentioned features and interpret them similar to the way courts interpret them. This is a more advantageous approach then applying the three category test which is incidentally used in legal literature. (Less)
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author
Bosman, Jan Willem
supervisor
organization
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
International Human Rights Law
language
English
id
1555306
date added to LUP
2010-03-08 15:23:13
date last changed
2010-03-08 15:23:13
@misc{1555306,
  abstract     = {This research is an attempt to reveal and evaluate the boundaries of business actors aiding and abetting serious human rights violations. Four different bodies of law, consisting of contemporary international criminal law and case law involving business actors in both national and international law, are examined. In comparing these movements, judges' interpretations and the features found important by them are highlighted and an effort is made to establish where courts draw the line in such cases&semic in other words, which involvement in serious human rights violations leads to responsibility of a business actors for aiding and abetting such crimes? And which involvement is not sufficient? Finally, these findings are evaluated and applied on legal literature concerning corporate complicity. The most important conclusions of this thesis are the following. Firstly, although courts apply varying aiding and abetting standards, the analysed business cases are influenced by international criminal law. This conclusion, although not groundbreaking, enables a more in depth comparison between the national and international law sources. Secondly, recent judgments in business cases are fairly similar to the judgments from the military tribunals following the Second World War. Both the interpretation of the complicity standard and facts, as well as the outcome of the cases demonstrate strong similarities. Thirdly, the common features that judges attach value to are knowledge, participation, influence and position within a corporation and influence on the principal offender. It is finally very hard to rigorously draw lines which particular circumstances are required to hold a business actor responsible as an aider or abettor. The most beneficial way to assess whether a defendant is accountable, is to use the mentioned features and interpret them similar to the way courts interpret them. This is a more advantageous approach then applying the three category test which is incidentally used in legal literature.},
  author       = {Bosman, Jan Willem},
  keyword      = {International Human Rights Law},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Business actors and serious human rights violations: where do courts draw the line?},
  year         = {2008},
}