Texas Wesleyan Law Review

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In 2002, the first permanent International Criminal Court (ICC) was established. Based on the experience of the International Military Tribunal (the so-called Nuremberg Trials), the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (the so-called Tokyo Trials), the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the new court is "determined to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes and thus to contribute to the prevention of such crimes." Too often in the past the worst perpetrators of the worst crimes were able to hide behind the shield of impunity because of a lack of national prosecutions. The massacres in the former Republic of Yugoslavia and Rwanda in the early nineties were a painful reminder that the hope of "never again!" after WWII has not been fulfilled. On the contrary, killings, mutilations, rapes, torture, and other crimes keep being committed against and by civilians (and unspeakably also against and by children) on the greatest scale. Appallingly, among the major key players in facilitating and even motivating some of these atrocities are indeed business entities. Although in many cases multinational corporations or their subsidiaries are directly involved in human rights violations of the worst kind, neither the host nor the home country show any interest in investigating against them. A joint report by Fafo and the International Peace Academy stated that "[t]here is a climate of impunity surrounding economic activities that promote or sustain conflict and human rights abuse." In fact, these business entities are even outside the jurisdiction of the ICC. This Essay argues that currently international and national law regimes are insufficient in tackling corporate human rights violations and that the ICC's jurisdiction should be extended to legal persons to end the de facto impunity of multinational corporations.



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