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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 100: UN: The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, 1998


Commentary: The Rome Statute (UN Doc A/CONF.183/9 (1998), entry into force 2002) envisages individual criminal responsibility for aggression, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide where offences occur on the territory of State Parties or by nationals thereof. Proposals to include corporate criminal responsibility were rejected on account of national legal differences: see Article 23(5), Draft Statute of the International Criminal Court, UN Doc A/CONF.183/2/Add.1 (1998). ‘Most delegations held the view that it would be more useful to focus attention on individual responsibility, noting, at the same time, that corporations were in fact controlled by individuals’: Preparatory Committee on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court (1996), ‘Proceedings during the Period 25 March–12 April 1996’, Draft summary prepared by Rapporteur Yoshida, UN Doc A/AC.249/CRP.3/Add.l: paragraphs 5–6. However, corporate liability ‘could be important in the context of restitution’. See generally, The European Parliament has called for a ‘legally binding framework with sanctions for companies which contribute to conflicts’ in unstable regions: European Parliament, Resolution on the Commission Communication on Conflict Prevention, COM(2001)211. A Nuremberg Military Tribunal observed that in certain circumstances action by companies and their representatives in circumstances of an armed conflict ‘cannot be differentiated from acts of plunder or pillage committed by officers . . . or . . . officials of the Third Reich’: US v Krauch (1952) 8 Control Council Law No 10 Trials 1081, 1140 (US Military Tribunal VI 1948). Individual criminal responsibility arises inter alia when offenders are aided and abetted by acts or words...

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