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International Documents on Corporate Responsibility

Edited by Stephen Tully

International Documents on Corporate Responsibility includes the principal international, regional and national instruments drafted by intergovernmental organisations or states as well as codes of conduct formulated by industry associations, trade unions and non-governmental organisations. The coverage includes the fields of human rights, international criminal and environmental law, labour standards, international trade, armed conflict, sustainable development, corruption, consumer protection and corporate governance. Each document is accompanied by a brief explanatory commentary outlining the historical origins of the instrument, the principal actors involved, controversial negotiation issues, applicable implementation procedure, and identifies further reference material.
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Chapter 98: USA/UK/USSR/France: Charter of the International Military Tribunal, 1945


Commentary: The Charter is annexed to the Agreement for the Prosecution and Punishment of the Major War Criminals of the European Axis (the London Agreement) 82 UNTS 280. Although permitting declarations of criminality against organisations, the International Military Tribunal (IMT) applied the Charter provisions extracted below as analogous to conspiracy since criminal guilt was personal and with a view to avoiding mass punishment: IMT (1947), ‘Judgment’, American Journal of International Law 41 (1) 172: 249–72. Declarations applied to individuals who voluntarily became members of the corporate ‘instrumentality of cohesion’ with knowledge of its criminal purposes but were declined where individuals never consciously acted as an affiliated group or could be conveniently tried individually. Corporations utilised concentration camp interns, prisoners of war and civilians for forced labour and manufactured gas for use within those camps. Several senior corporate individuals were prosecuted: see In re Flick & Ors 14 ILR 266; In re Krupp & Ors 15 ILR 620; In re Krauch & Ors (the IG Farben Trial) 15 ILR 668. Although acquitted of crimes against peace, labour practices amounted to crimes against humanity, war crimes and violations of the laws and customs of warfare. Acquiring assets cheaply using the threat of seizure by the occupying power violated the belligerent obligation to respect private property. The argument that actors lacking public positions could not be liable for violating government obligations was rejected since acts adjudged criminal when committed by officials were equally so when committed by private individuals. While rejecting the national emergency defence,...

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