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Main Content: ICJ Panel on complicity

International Commission of Jurists – Report of the Expert Legal Panel on Corporate Complicity in International Crimes

[Español: ver abajo  -  Français : voir ci-dessous]

The ICJ's Expert Legal Panel on Corporate Complicity in International Crimes, which was established in 2006 to develop the legal and public policy meaning of corporate complicity in the worst violations of international human rights and humanitarian law that amount to international crimes, has concluded its work and released its final report to the public.

After more than two years of work, on 16 September 2008 the ICJ Panel made public the results of its work in three separate volumes each one addressing corporate complicity in gross human rights violations from different angles.

In Volume 1 [PDF], the Panel describes the conduct that a prudent company should avoid if it is to ensure that it as a legal entity and/or its individual representatives do not risk being held legally responsible in civil or criminal law when they are complicit in gross human rights abuses committed by others. In other words, Volume 1 seeks to elaborate a set of generic, core principles in relation to complicit conduct that does or should give rise to legal liability. Because it addresses corporate complicity in gross human rights violations from a policy angle this volume may be better understood after reading the two other legal volumes.

In Volume 2 [PDF], the Panel looks in detail at the ways in which criminal responsibility may arise for companies when they are implicated with another actor in the commission of gross human rights abuses amounting to crimes under international law.  It also looks briefly at national criminal accountability in relation to such crimes.

In Volume 3 [PDF], the Panel explores the comparative law of domestic civil liability (domestic law of tort in common law jurisdictions and the law of non-contractual obligations in civil law jurisdictions) and the ways in which, across jurisdictions, civil liability may arise for companies and/or their officials when they are complicit in gross human rights abuses.  

Español: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3 [PDF] 

Français: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3 [PDF]

The process

The ICJ Panel met three times in plenary during the process and held a multi-stakeholder consultation during 2006.


The Panel commissioned papers from leading academics, practitioners and corporate counsel on several relevant topics including: International Criminal Law; International Environmental Law; Law of the European Union; Comparative Common Law of Tort; Comparative Corporate Criminal Law; Comparative Criminal Law on Joint Liability; U.S. Litigation Against Companies for Gross Violations of Human Rights; Separate Legal Personality, Limited Liability and the Corporate Veil; Competition Law, and the U.S Sentencing Guidelines. The Panel also sought input from lawyers, business representatives and others via an online request for submissions.


Information about and copies of papers and submissions are available on request (see below contact details).

Information about Panel Members

The Panel brought together renowned lawyers from a variety of legal traditions and disciplines, including: public international law, corporate law, criminal law, environmental law, international humanitarian law, human rights law and labour law.


Profiles of panel members [PDF] - The panel members are: Andrew Clapham (United Kingdom); Claes Cronstedt (Sweden); Louise Doswald-Beck (Switzerland); John Dugard (South Africa); Alberto León Gómez-Zuluaga (Colombia); Howard Mann (Canada); Usha Ramanathan (India); and Ralph Steinhardt (United States).


For more information contact Carlos Lopez at the International Commission of Jurists (



Previous documents related to the panel:

- Invitation for Submissions (deadline 29 Dec 2006)

- Update November 2006 [PDF]

- Update August 2006 [PDF]

- Update June 2006 [PDF]

- Launch of the expert panel, April 2006 [PDF]

[note: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre hosts this webpage as a service to the International Commission of Jurists - materials are posted here at the ICJ's request]

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