International law's invisible hand and the future of corporate accountability for violations of human rights

Author: Penelope Simons, Associate Professor, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law - Common Law Section [Canada], in Journal of Human Rights and the Environment, Published on: 1 March 2012

This article argues that Ruggie's approach [in the "Protect, Respect and Remedy" framework and Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights] to addressing corporate human rights impunity was misconceived...[To] address corporate impunity effectively, one...must...identify and address the root causes of [governance] gaps...[C]orporate human rights impunity is deeply embedded in the international legal system...[This] assertion is explored through an examination of the critiques of the international legal system by Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) scholars, as well as insights drawn from feminist critiques...It is argued that powerful states have used international law and international institutions to create a globalised legal environment which protects and facilitates corporate activity...[An] examination [of the international legal structure] would have revealed the crucial need for binding international human rights obligations for business entities...

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