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International Alert & Fafo launch "Red Flags" guide to warn companies of legal liability risks for intl. crimes

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Article
23 May 2008

Everybody's business

Author: Mark Taylor & Salil Tripathi, in Guardian [UK]

In his report last year, John Ruggie, the UN special representative on business and human rights noted that the complex interaction between UN tribunals and the ICC statute on one hand, and extension of responsibility for international crimes under domestic law on the other, is creating "an expanding web of potential corporate liability for international crimes"…Socially responsible companies have started mainstreaming human rights principles as part of their due diligence…[T]hat's good news…But it also means that companies must carry out necessary due diligence to avoid assisting international crimes, or face the legal and financial costs of getting caught on the wrong side of the law. With this in mind, International Alert and the Fafo Institute are today launching a guide and website called "Red flags: risks of liability for companies operating in high risk zones"…Red flags are an attempt to communicate, in simple, clear terms, how certain expectations about company compliance with human rights has evolved, at least in the use of criminal laws that companies can't ignore.

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Article
23 May 2008

Red Flags: Liability risks for companies operating in high-risk zones

Author: International Alert & Fafo Institute

The web of liability is expanding. The legal liabilities of a company operating internationally are not limited to the domestic laws in host countries. Laws at home and in third countries may also apply. This web site lists activities which should raise a 'red flag' of warning to companies of possible legal risks, and the need for urgent action. The activities identified below are drawn from a review of existing international law and court cases in more than a dozen jurisdictions. Each red flag is hyperlinked to a summary of the relevant laws and a selected case or two:
1.Expelling people from their communities
2.Forcing people to work
3. Handling questionable assets
4. Making illicit payments
5. Engaging abusive security forces
6. Trading goods in violation of international sanctions
7. Providing the means to kill
8. Allowing use of company assets for abuses
9. Financing international crimes

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